It is World Autism Day. It is the day to commemorate the fact that 1 in 150 kids are diagnosed with Autism. It is the day to celebrate the wonderfulness of my darling nephew Bugaboo, who teaches me more each day about this mysterious diagnosis. Read this: DJ's Post on World Autism Day. It is much more eloquent than I am and is a beautiful read.
I would like to add a few notes of my own on how Autism has touched me. When Bugaboo was diagnosed, I was concerned and confused about this unknown "ailment". I had no idea what it really was outside of the movie Rainman or the occasional 20/20 reports on Savants. This was how I viewed Autism. There were a couple of movies on that women's movie channel but I really didn't understand the realism of Autism.
Then came Bugaboo.
His joy of life has touched me in ways I cannot describe. He is loving. He is reckless. He is fearless. He has no preconceived notions on how things should be. He only accepts things as they are. Although he is mostly non-verbal, he can make me understand him. We have a bond now. When I walk through the door to his house, he leads me by hand around to his favorite things. He is inviting me to share in his world. That is such a gift and such a blessing. I love to spend time with him.
Because of Bugaboo, I am able to see things differently in the world. When he stares at the tree tops blowing in the wind, I find solace in the same. When he listens to Mozart or Gregorian Chant, I find it just as comforting. When he throws dirt in the air to stim on, I actually found myself watching the patterns the falling dirt makes. It is strangely soothing to me.
I can't begin to express my thanksgiving for this beautiful child. And he is not even my son! I just hope that by bringing the Autism world out of the dark ages, we can change the opinion of some that it is some kind of "disease" that needs to be cured. Autism needs to be understood, yes. But these children are not diseased. They are gifts from God showing us that different is good. It is not them that need to change, it is us. And when we do, what a wonderful world it will be.