It’s Question-able is a feature that we have started On Aisle 9 in response to the many questions we get from our readers, friends, family members and complete strangers. Keep them coming in, you can send your questions to email@example.com.
Question: I find great strength in every story you post about your son, Grant, and do appreciate the transparency with which you share them. Do you ever wonder what people think about your son, if they feel pity or if he, in some way, is changing their perspective on Autistic children?
Answer: Thank you for reaching out to us, and for taking the time to read our stories. This is a journey and every story is a footprint acknowledging we are on this path, and learning things along the way. Those things we learn, we share, in a sincere effort to enlighten and inspire.
I don’t want my son to be known for having autism. I want him to be known for what he accomplished in spite of it.
He is son, brother, student and teacher, and capable of accomplishing great things. Our road at times is unpredictable. It has unexpected detours and sudden potholes. But it also has the most beautiful scenery, like when new language comes, and when fear is overcome. I hope that Grant’s stories in some way will help pave the way for Understanding, Perspective, and Sensitivity.
Question: In your story, The Judgment Free Zone, your pain from being misunderstood is quite obvious. Honestly, I had to reexamine my assumptions of not only “screaming” children, but with other groups of people as well. Do the stares still bother you? Are you still affected in the same way you were a few years ago?
Answer: Thank you for reading and thank you for being open to re-examining your perspective. I hope I am always affected, because that energy channeled in the right direction will help educate. The thing about assumptions is that they can be quite lazy; effortless. But obtaining knowledge requires so much more. It requires listening, and reading, and asking questions, as you have done.
The harsh stares and sighs come every week, but I don’t cry as deeply over them as I once did. For one, Grant has made remarkable strides in his ability to communicate, and secondly, I fully realize that with 1 in 88 children (1 in 54 boys) being diagnosed on the autism spectrum, we are not alone.