“Sketching Roots” is an ongoing series featuring family memories and all of the fun awkwardness that that implies.
Serena McCarroll first began to experience chronic pain during her training at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. She would later develop additional challenges with proprioception, the body’s ability to continually sense and integrate its movement and position.
After I meet with a psychologist for a few sessions, she begins to mention the possibility of an autism spectrum diagnosis. I bristle, insist I’m just there to talk about depression.
I was already of the opinion that Autism Speaks is a problematic group. Their message is so dire, bleak, that it seemed pretty clear to me: they are doing more harm than good.
Two questions this time around. One from a parent…and one from a lady diagnosed with Aspergers who wants to know how anyone could feel good about life on the spectrum.
Thoughtful questions. My non-expert, answery type things: in effect.
(Please note: this post can be upsetting for some; depending on how emotional topics impact you, read or don’t-read accordingly. In short: take care of yourself.)
I spent a few years in therapy, speaking with a psychologist about the autism spectrum, learning to manage social challenges, sensory issues and so on. I was fortunate enough to find someone with a background in autism issues, so the discussion ended up being constructive, beneficial. I’m collecting those discussions, hoping to make them available soon. But after reading this post at Diary of a Mom, I wanted to share a particular session. In that Diary post, Jess writes about the need for parents to comes to terms with a child’s spectrum diagnosis, to feel at peace with it. The alternative…rejecting or denying the diagnosis…can be a devastating experience for the autistic involved.
I don’t think I need to list common autism stereotypes. Basically, if you’ve ever looked at the internet, watched the news or, you know, are human…you’ve heard them.
I was encouraged to make“people-sketches” as a way of connecting my thoughts and experiences together. This all came about when I was asked to consider whether any other members of my family are on the autism spectrum; it then developed into a broader thought experiment: words as sense of the world; words as connection to others. As for the family/spectrum question, “I don’t know” is the honest answer. I’m never comfortable retroactively applying concepts like that. For me, memory resists the intrusion of labels, making “sketches” a preferable alternative.
Memories; no particular order. Thought experiment: in progress.
On the ‘Blending with Autism’ Facebook page and blog, Janet Amorello writes about daily life with Sam, her 18-year old autistic son. Sam has challenges with communication, yet finds unique and surprising ways to create meaningful language. He also has a love of drawing that speaks to his vibrant perspective on the world.
I spoke with Janet about words, art and the different ways Sam has shaped her views on the autism spectrum. (All images below are from the ‘Blending with Autism’ Facebook page.)
One of the downsides to social media has been the ease with which people can spread misinformation about autism and its causes. One of the upsides to social media: we can talk back.