Saturday, April 7, 2012

It's What is on the Inside that Counts

This past week, I started hosting a new blog radio program for the organization Positively Autistic.  The name of this new show is "The Poet's Interest: By Marilyn and Ryan."  While this show is, in part, about poetry, it also strongly pertains to the autism spectrum.  I work as the co-host, while poet Marilyn Ann Francis is the host of this program.  Marilyn has a child who shows autistic characteristics.  This program was the re-launch of a show previously aired by Positively Autistic called "Joe and Marilyn's Poetry Hour."

During this broadcast, we had a handful of people call into the show to give their input about the autism spectrum over the air.  They were mainly parents of autistic children.  One man called into the show and gave an account of some of his son's autistic characteristics.  While on the air, the man's son began to have a meltdown.  Over the air, we received a blow-by-blow look into some of the difficulties associated with the autism spectrum.  The many eventually had to get off the line to gain control over the situation.

I knew right away that I wanted to turn some of the worst aspects of autistic behavior into something positive.  Although I didn't know how I would pull that off, I knew that I was going to try.  I made a point of saying that, although many aspects of the spectrum are not pleasant to behold, appearances are not an accurate way to gauge who people on the spectrum are.  We are diamonds in the rough, coated initially with a layer of grit.  When the dirt which is unpleasant to behold is cleaned away, what could easily be dismissed as a dirty stone was really a diamond on the inside.  

This is how I think individuals on the autism spectrum should be viewed.  It is not on the outside, but on the inside that counts.  People on the spectrum are like diamonds under the right condition, but only if they are given the opportunity to shine.   Just for the record, I believe the father who called in is doing an excellent job for his son.

To listen to the radio show referenced in this blog post, click on the following link:

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