Saturday, March 3, 2012

Create the Right Conditions

Every person is the result of the environment into which they are born, no matter what inherent talents they may possess. This is the same case with autistic individuals and their parents.  And yet, no matter what conditions parents are facing regarding financial stability and what not, is there no action that can be taken to provide the best possible environment for children on the autism spectrum?

For I believe that no matter what situation parents are confronted by, under the right conditions, anyone on the autism spectrum can make the best of those abilities they receive in exchange for whatever sensory issues or other problems they might endure.  Nothing in life comes without some sort of cost.  The greater the talents, the deeper they are within an individual on the spectrum, waiting for certain circumstance.  Under the right conditions, an individual on the spectrum can literally change the world.

The catch is that those individuals on the spectrum cannot create these conditions on their own.  They have no idea what the conditions are themselves, or if they do know, then it is in a form of thought that cannot be translated into language.  It is the responsibility of parents, teachers, caregivers, and therapists to bring out the best in that individual.  The individual on the spectrum did not ask for this, to not have complete control over their own body, to be trapped.  The mind is very active but trapped, waiting for an outlet of some kind.  I have spoken before of an autistic girl named Carly who confounded her parents once she learned that she could communicate her thoughts by typing, as I am right now.

I can guarantee that the words I am saying right now are not something that I could speak of in small talk at work, without great difficulty.  It is not so much as a problem with presenting my message than with my message being received as intended.  I could walk up to someone on the street and try to say all this, with no problem formulating the words and my message would not be received.  Someone might think, what a creeper with the underlying notion that people just do not talk this way, as I am presenting these words.  So this is the best way for me to communicate my insights into autism, through my strong and "eloquent" writing skills.  

The words I am typing right now are a direct result of the right conditions I found myself experiencing.  The skills are mine, but I cannot claim complete credit for what I do.  My parents, teachers, friends, and anyone who believes in my vision have all created the right conditions I need to succeed as a writer.  Without them, I would never come to recognize this part of myself.

Let me give two more examples in recent film of individuals off the spectrum who have succeeded because someone else changed the conditions under which they lived.  One is fictional, the other is not.  Michael Oher, star football player, grew up in the slums outside of Nashville Tennessee.  His strong talent as an athlete would never have been recognized if someone had not changed the conditions under which he lived.  Now he is a star football player, a story worthy of a book and film.  "Blind Side," which tells the story of how Oher's conditions were changed is an excellent film that I definitely recommend.  The other example is fictional.  In the film "Good Will Hunting," a genius worked as a low class janitor at Harvard.  In spite of his intelligence, he would have never been recognized if someone else had not changed his conditions.  This is another great movie to take the time to watch; but not one for children to view.  

Those on the spectrum cannot create the right conditions on their own.  That is up to parents, teachers, caregivers, and therapists.  Time is no issue.  It doesn't have to happen today or tomorrow or in ten years as long as it happens.  It will be worth it.  Thank you for sticking with me to the end of this unusually long blog post.  This is something that I think is really important.

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