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Still Not Broken

  • Posted on November 18, 2013 at 10:00 AM

My children aren’t broken,
don’t try to fix them!

I wrote those words on a sign that I placed in the front of the binders the behavioral therapists used during therapy sessions. It was true then and it’s still true now.

Too many people in our society view “autism” as synonymous with “broken.” They expend tremendous amounts of money and energy trying to “fix” them or trying to learn how to “fix” them.

A leg may get broken and, yes, fixing it is a good idea. A person who is different isn’t broken. They’re different.

Those of us who live in the U.S. live in a society that is broken and has been broken since it was founded: All men are created equal. We say it. But too many of us don’t believe. “The Old World” was broken before the U.S. was even founded. Canada and Australia haven’t fared much better than we have. I don’t know of any place that gives more than lip service to the idea that all men are created equal, or better yet that all people are created equal.

We live in a world that is utterly convinced that survival of the fittest is the only way to survive. We’ll give lip service to equality, justice, and the like. But when it comes to hard times the “fittest” are the ones that make the rules and they make them for their own benefit.

My children aren’t broken,
don’t try to fix them!

I mean it!

Independence: Conclusion

  • Posted on July 27, 2011 at 3:55 AM

I began considering what independence means around Independence Day here in the US. I considered how misguided I found our cultural obsession with independence to be, and then posted about what independence looks like for my family. Now comes the final question: What will independence look like for each of my children once they become adults?

Honestly, I’m not sure the answer matters. For one, it’s too early to predict. Based on their current developmental trajectories, Willy is likely to be a quirky, but reasonably independent adult; Alex is likely to more dependent on others for personal care needs; and Ben is somewhere in-between, as he usually is.

But what does it matter? I’m much more interested in knowing who they will be than I am in knowing how independent they will be. The more I think about it and consider the misguided ways we prioritize independent self-sufficiency, the more deluded I think it is.

We all need each other. Some need more tangible, quantifiable help than others, but we all need each other. Society and culture, as a necessity, don’t function without each of us. We all contribute. We’re all in this together. And the more of us there are who are willing to admit it and help each other in the ways that we can, the happier we all will have the potential to be.

And that’s what I hope for my children: to be happy being themselves.