Last week, the grandmother of a child with autism received a hate-filled letter that went so far as suggesting euthanasia. Horrific. How can people think these things? I was asked to respond, and my son Connor was featured at work. This thrilled him to no end. “Am I famous?” he asked.
Connor doesn’t really know what autism is. Neither did I when a psychologist gave me the diagnosis. Four-year-old Connor would never read, never write, never finish school, never leave home. I believed those words until an amazing teacher (Corinne Toews @skridergirl) showed me otherwise. She taught that there are many different types of intelligence – music, writing, numbers, body, etc. She could only see gifts.
Connor learned how to read when he was 11, and learned how to write. He graduated from special ed high school. He will be 21 next month, and he has a full-time job.
On the weekend, my family participated in Regina’s annual walk to raise funds for the Autism Resource Centre here in Regina. (Connor didn’t want to wear the blue T-shirt as he loves his green reptile T. So his brother Max is the one sporting the blue one. ) The range of ability in that meadow was staggering. Some kids are 10 years old and can’t speak. Others are quite high functioning. Everyone there cared about making sure they enjoyed themselves that day, and cares about their future.
Whether a child has a “disability” or not, they need the kind of support I saw last Saturday. If we feel loved and supported, we are more apt to show the same to others. I believe that inner peace starts there. And if we have that, there is a prayer that our world can end war and suffering. To the person who wrote the terrible letter, I wish you more love and support. To the people of Syria and Egypt, and elsewhere there is war and terrible pain, I wish you peace.
Last week was a sad day for those of us who love someone with autism. This week is a tragic one for those experiencing war. Last weekend was filled with hope and support. May love prevail.