This post on Autism Vox yesterday reminded me that there are those who see little or no value in those with disabilities. They would be content to simply deny them life and not have to worry about them any more. I don’t think words can adequately express the sadness I feel thinking about that.
Yet, it reminds me that all hope isn’t lost. In Adrian’s 10 short years I’ve seen him literally change the lives of people all around him. My son doesn’t speak a word, yet somehow he manages to speak directly to the hearts of those around him. It’s nothing short of amazing.
There was a young man who, after serving as the aide on my son’s bus for a few short weeks, changed his career plans and determined to work with disabled kids. He credited his decision to my son.
The woman who drove Adrian’s bus for those few short weeks begged for a photo of Adrian. Years later a woman we’d never met approached us. She knew Adrian by name. Turns out, she was the sister of the bus driver and recognized Adrian because all these years later, the bus driver still had Adrian’s photo prominently displayed in her living room with the rest of her family photos. She still regularly talked about her experiences with Adrian and how she missed him.
Teachers and aides that have worked with Adrian, even as much as 7 years ago, contact me regularly to find out how he’s doing or ask that we come to visit. One even considered proximity to Adrian when considering where to buy a house. I kid you not! It’s just plain weird sometimes. I just can’t explain how this kid who can’t even speak can create such strong bonds with folks over such short periods of time…but he does…. all the time.
That’s where I find hope. It may be easy for some folks to simply slap labels like ‘disabled’ or even ‘disposable’ on our precious kids….. until they meet them. The one good thing about their being more and more diagnosed with autism is that there are fewer and fewer who haven’t met someone with it. I don’t think my son is alone in his ‘gift’. I think our kids have the ability to reach out and change people’s perceptions and understanding….one person at a time.