I would have loved to have been in Warsaw on Tuesday, World Autism Awareness Day, when, in solidarity with autistic people, the Palace of Arts and Culture was lit blue – along with buildings around the world, including the Empire State Building, the CN Tower in Toronto and the Shanghai Tower - there is a series of photographs from round the world here. Katarzyna Marciniak, the Our Mythical Childhood Principal Investigator told me about this yesterday and sent me the link to this newspaper report on the initiative. The report also sets out a key message from this year’s campaign, namely that autism is for life, rather than something that only effects children.
People do not outgrow autism. And what the newspaper report reflects is something that I have reflected on as well over the time I have been writing this blog – and making gradual progress towards realising my dream of creating resources that might be used by autistic children. Autism isn’t something from which someone can be cured. As Jim Sinclair said – I’ve quoted Jim Sinclair several times previously on this blog! – it is not that autism is something a person ‘has’ – there isn’t some ‘normal child hidden behind the autism.’ Indeed, ‘it is not possible to separate the autism from the person.’
I am not developing resources geared towards helping children somehow outgrow autism – rather the resources are geared towards creating a gateway between two ‘worlds.’ As Jim Sinclair also says, whenever an autism person manages to ‘function at all’ in a non-autistic society, they are ‘operating in alien territory, making contact with alien beings.’ One thing I am seeking to do is to create space for autistic people to operate in a non-autistic world, and also for non-autistic people to gain a glimpse into a different way of being and of relating – into, as Sinclair put it, ‘a world you never could have imagined.’
In the next posting, I am planning to introduce a different image from the ‘gateway’ one – the image of the crossroads. This is an image I am planning on using to frame the paper that I shall be giving next month in Warsaw. Once I’ve had the green(blue…)light for this from my colleagues, I shall share the title and abstract.