Friday, August 14, 2015

A New Perspective

I have been interested in and active in speaking about autism for some time. Two of our children (ages 14 & 12) have autism. It just makes sense that I would want to promote awareness about autism and provide resources on how to minister to families with autism.

I now have a new perspective.

Yesterday, I was diagnosed with autism. You can read my blog post on it here. Some people may doubt that I have autism. If you see me with my children with autism in a room, you would immediately see differences. I can communicate clearly (I'm a preacher, teacher and writer), while they are nonverbal. My children have "stimms," which for Logan is manipulating a block-shaped toy within a sock within some plastic and for Abby is pushing on the corners of her eyes or flapping her hands. I don't have anything obvious like that.

The most important thing about autism that you can know is this:

"If you have met one person with autism, you have met one person with autism."

Even my two children, both severe and nonverbal, are very different from me. I have high functioning autism (once called Asperger's) and I have had 46 years to build skills to cope. I can look at people in the eyes even if I don't want to. I can choose to stop talking about my favourite subjects, even if I don't want to.

How will this affect me? It certainly gives me a new perspective on autism and how ministry to families with autism looks like. But in the end, I am me, with or without autism.

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