My girl will undoubtedly face ignorance as she steps further into the world. When she does, I want her armed with an impenetrable wall of self-esteem. Of belief that just as there are serious challenges in her autism, there are also gifts – her incredible memory, her uncanny ability to repeat what she’s heard or read, her pitch-perfect imitation of accents – and so much more we will have the joy of watching emerge as she grows.
When someone spits ‘autism’ at her as a dirty word, I want her to turn it back on them, framed as her own. “Yes, I’m autistic. So? I’m damn proud of it.’” Heck, she could even throw in, ‘I’m sorry that you’re not, but that’s not my problem,” for good measure.
~ Person First, Diary, July, 2012
Yesterday, one of my dearest friends shared a story. Well, maybe calling it a story is a bit grandiose. It was really just a moment in time. A tiny sliver of a conversation between her girls.
But well, as we all know around here, sometimes the smallest moments – the ones that may look quite ordinary to an outsider – are anything but small and anything but ordinary.
Her two girls, one thirteen and on the spectrum, one nine and not, were chatting together over breakfast. This is what they said.
Little Sister: She didn’t even know who Picasso was! And we went to the museum and everything!
Big Sister: Well…what do you expect? She’s…typical. (looks at Little, puts hand on her arm) No offense.
Five lines of conversation.
An impenetrable wall of self-esteem.