Tuesday, April 6, 2010


On what I hope is a more productive note than my previous entry, I would like to draw attention to a series of posts being made on parenting over at Brett's Waste Blog. These posts generally highlight the value of celebrating what is unique in each child and of encouraging children to pursue individual interests and strengths—no matter how unusual those interests and strengths may seem. Such ideas should be applied to all children of course, but they are particularly important for autistic children, many of whom are not celebrated and not encouraged for being who they are.

One day, I hope to record a few thoughts and observations about my own son. I think I have held back so far simply because I do not have the rhetorical skills to do him justice, but what I can report today is that as he approaches his eighth birthday, he remains both obviously autistic and extraordinarily delightful. In many respects my son serves as the perfect counterexample to those who insist that only intense treatments and early intervention can help an autistic child progress; for having experienced none of these, my son has developed into an individual full of warmth, joy, skill and complexity, an individual with a unique and valuable perspective upon his world. I stand in complete awe of him, and I also stand aghast at the thought of anyone wishing for him to be any other way than the way he actually is.

It is my firm conviction that when we approach autistic children as medical problems in need of being fixed, we end up throwing away one of humanity's greatest treasures.


Clay said...

I think it's worth saying that it has never been shown that autism is caused by anything outside the womb. That isn't to say that it's all genetic, as there may be some causes, such as stress, that may contribute to it. I don't know that the results of brain injury, ala Daniel Tammett, which may resemble autism is actually autism, but I wouldn't try to give him any grief over it.

Adelaide Dupont said...

Dysfunction as high function was probably a great example of what Brett is trying to do.

I have seen the Snakes of Gettysberg before in several references.

It was great to read about your son, Mr Griswold.

It will be interesting to read what you write about him in ten years time, hopefully we'll all be around by then.