Different is cool

Whilst I have written deliberately about AS from my perspective and what it is like living with Luke, one thing he makes perfectly clear throughout his book is the fact that he doesn't see Asperger Syndrome as a disorder. His motto is 'different is cool' and although he says that when things get tough, he sometimes has to use that as his mantra and repeat it over and over to himself in a bid to convince himself of its accuracy, all in all he wouldn't change the way he is one iota...not many of us could say that!

When I stop and think of how AS affects Luke and us all as a family, this passage from his book immediately springs to mind.

One phrase that I heard on an advert, but which is actually by William Henry Davies (1871-1940) is "What is life, so full of care, ifwe have no time to stop and stare". I often do just that -stop and stare. Buildings are fascinating, plants and trees are fascinating. So many different shapes, aspects and angles all used to make one whole. (Jackson 2002)

The various shades of autism touch Luke's world with splashes of colour, making him see many aspects of life in a way that enriches and lights up, not only his world, but that of those around him. In a chaotic, fast moving and multicoloured family, Luke still ambles on through life, unperturbed by the chaos and noise around him, still taking time to process life in his own unique way and stopping to see the beauty that often passes us by amidst the rush of life. Luke is convinced that without the presence of AS in the world, nothing would get done as people without AS rush around likes dogs chasing their tails and miss the finer aspects of life, whilst getting nowhere...in many ways, I suspect he is right!

The single-mindedness, perseverance, honesty, openness, attention to fine detail - in fact their unique way of looking at the world is something to be admired, nurtured and cherished in our AS children. Whilst we may not see the world in quite the same way as them, our way is no better or worse - merely different.. .and remember that 'different is cool'!

Whilst Luke has never really had any friends, he has not been bothered by this, preferring his own (and his computer's!) company. However as he gets older, his ability and knowledge of his specialist subjects are becoming sought after by other members of his class, so whilst I am sitting here typing, Luke sits and chatters animatedly on the phone.. .a rare occasion indeed. The conversation consists of kilobytes, processing speeds, transfer times and the problems of certain web hosts and DNS servers (are you as wise as I am on this?). The first time the phone rang and Anna shouted that someone wanted to speak to Luke, an astounded "Luke?!" reverberated around the house. Now when the phone rings and it's for Luke the others smile and raise their eyebrows affectionately as Luke chatters on and laughs at himself, totally unperturbed as his breaking voice changes from baritone to falsetto in the same sentence. Luke is refreshingly matter of fact about the changes that are occurring as his body lunges towards manhood -another quality which, although it may get him in trouble from time to time, is definitely a positive one.

His peers are increasingly beginning to accept him for who he is; his self-acceptance evident to them all. Though he is looked upon as 'odd', his beauty and skill is shining through in more walks of life than just at home - for me a long overdue event. Perversely enough however, Luke loathes the attention. He has a mobile phone but yet hates the unpredictability of it, never knowing when it is going to ring. He hates being phoned at home and interrupted from his beloved computer.

One thing this has taught me is that as parents, we must never presume that our way is the right way and our child needs to 'socialize' to be happy.

In fact this is Luke's slant on life.

I truly believe that the key to inner peace (doesn't that sound hippyish - yeah man!) is to be aware of yourself;both your strengths and your weaknesses. (Jackson 2002)

If we all took a leaf out of his book, then the world would perhaps be a better place to live!

Understanding And Treating Autism

Understanding And Treating Autism

Whenever a doctor informs the parents that their child is suffering with Autism, the first & foremost question that is thrown over him is - How did it happen? How did my child get this disease? Well, there is no definite answer to what are the exact causes of Autism.

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