Today, I thought I would explain what “The New Face of Autism” means to me. Seems to be the most popular question I am receiving from family and close friends.
Let me ask you, when you look at this face, do you see a disability? Do you see a child who has communication difficulties? Do you see someone who looks unhappy? OR, do you look at her and think to yourself how precious she is and you are “wow”ed by her smile? See, if the world didn’t know Alyssa has Autism, we could all have this great hope; she could be or do anything she wanted, without limitations. I am challenging everyone to believe this is the future for her anyhow.
When I read articles about children with Autism, what I have seen so much of, is this display of children who have “recovered” or been “cured” from some type of therapy, special diet and/or medication. Alyssa does therapy, special diet and medications/supplements. The truth is this; she is much, much healthier, than she has ever been and she has made progress over the years, but she’s not “cured”. I want to see the article and picture of the child who hasn’t recovered or been cured, but who’s family believes in her regardless. I want to read the book that can give us hope and make us feel “ok”, even if the child in the story isn’t cured, has special needs, and still has Autism.
I joined a group at one point. I was overwhelmed by the anger, frustration and hopelessness shared by so many families. I completely understand; I do!! However, I believe, we absolutely have to get out of that thinking. What if our kids caught on to all of those feelings and didn’t think we believed in them? For me, I want to be a part of the success, the positive, the hope, and even the difficulty.
You have to know, I feel we have some of the BEST therapists, we have an AMAZING doctor and a GREAT group of people in her school working so hard to make a difference for Alyssa. We are incredibly fortunate. What I admire so much in all of these people, they believe in her. They take on the challenge and don’t put limitations to the outcome or her ability. They treat her with respect and kindness.
What I see is this amazing beauty, happiness, and love from Alyssa! When you look at a picture of a child with a disability, I think it is almost natural in our society to feel sorry for them. When you look at this face, I want you to have hope! WE believe in her and I want you to be able to, as well. I would like to think she will be on the cover of a magazine someday, representing that differences can be beautiful. And, I would love to see Alyssa give strength to others, who may have a dream.
Bottom line, I would like to think, this face, this amazing young girl, will give us all a new perspective, a new attitude!
Have a great day!