Friday, June 01, 2007

Another Day, Another Can of Worms: To the Autism Hub

I write today thinking about the increasingly... spirited?... discussion on other Autism Hub blogs about neurodiversity as a movement. United we stand. Divided... not so much fun.

I was not invited to join the Hub- I tracked down who owned it and asked to join. I am glad to be here, though I doubt I'll be nominated anytime soon for any "thinking awards" or that anyone will track me down to ask me to write a book. Well, not about Autism, at any rate, nor anything based on this blog. I'm not the best writer on the planet. Call me a selfish little piggie if you like, but I joined for me- because the blogs I liked to read all had that noble mark of the Autism Hub. Because I wanted to be part of the community that seems to be centered here.

Perhaps because I "grew up" playing MUDs and connecting through text on a screen, the whole online thing come to me as a sense of spaces, cozy little wizard domains where we set up shop according to our own gifts and use our workroom-blogs to try to share a little of our favorite talents and thoughts with those we have invited in- in this case, everyone. I like visiting you all. I sometimes wish I had some of the wonderful talents you all seem to have. It feels like meandering over to different people's houses to hang out with a cup of something yummy on a very comfy couch, and seeing what everyone is up to today. It's like going down to the Hay when I was college, getting some strawberries with z-cream (or fresh carrot cake! Yum!), finding the best couch by the window (since I was the only one who didn't smoke, I needed a window), maybe flipping through the nearest shelf of used books to see if there wa anything new and interesting, and seeing who showed up today. There was a basic core crowd that usually showed up, and then the drifters who sometimes showed up, and the fringes who you remembered when they did show up, but they usually had other lives that kept them too busy to come much. I was always glad to see everyone. They all had such interesting stories and lives and thoughts and dramas. I still wonder what happened to those people. They don't let people smoke at the Hay anymore. It has a grill now, new premises, a juice bar thing; I don't think they sell books anymore. Gone are the comfy couches that drew us together and gave us a livingroom- or was it a family room? away from home.

Being the mom just starting the adventure of supporting an autistic son, I spend most of my Hub time following the blogs and lives of others with autistic children. There is a comfort in reading the speech patterns of Whitterer's kids, who seem so very verbal to me, and seem so close to Joey's. There is hope for more communication from my own baby when I read about these guys. Besides, who else knows that "goldfish" is a food group? There is also comfort at Club166, who has been there, done that with the IEP nightmare. Kristina is always offering great information and solid advice. Big White Hat provides an air of southern charm and gentility to the whole thing. I could go on. You probably get the picture.

That's right: I am one of those "parents." Ignored and even actively disenfranchised by the school system that is supposed to be helping my child, taunted by many of the parents around me because I don't declare thimerosal to be the Work of the Beast and chelation to be the Salvation of Us All, and bounced between therapists and specialists who can't seem to agree on what exactly Joey may or may not need, the Hub is a place where I can pull myself together on a Screamy Day and remember I'm not the only person doing this. That I'm not crazy thinking my kid is, first and foremost, a kid, and should be treated with respect and dignity- the same treatment other children seem to get from people as a matter of course. Here is a place to access what others are thinking and feeling, especially adults who face the challenges of autism directly, and with courage, strength, and even pride, so that they can enjoy their talents- like everyone else. Here are people, autistic or otherwise, whom I hope my children (both of them) can and will look up to and try to emulate, learn from, and remember all of their lives.

Yep. Plenty of comfy couches here. There's food in the fridge. You know where the drinks are. Make yourself at home.

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