Tuesday, July 12, 2011

This will not define me

From Postsecrets.com
This disorder will not define me. 

It is not my whole being, because I am more than that.

I am a daughter, and my parents love me. 

I am a big sister, and my siblings love me no matter what.

I am a friend, and those who are close to me are lucky.

I am a peer educator, and people can learn from the way that I think and teach.

I am a hard worker, and the time and effort I put into things shows.
I am beautiful, inside and out.

I am a student, and I am working to improve myself through education. 

I am a writer, and what I say has an impact.

This is not all I am, this disorder is not the sum of my being. No matter how it looks today I know I will find a reason to keep pursuing my dreams tomorrow.


  1. Hear Hear!!!! I love my son. To me his PDD-NOS is is just a part of him, not him. And I almost cringe when I see the autism propaganda that states I love my autistic son/daughter.

    My son is high functioning, so it just appears to the unknowing eye that he is a brat or undisciplined if he is having a moment. So for us, the autism has just changed his perspective and the way we teach him to learn things. He processes things differently than I do.

    I hate the instances in which I must tell someone that he is on the spectrum (teachers, coaches, babysitters), and I thank you for posting this. At is only confirms that the choice to not broadcast and let strangers think whatever they want is the correct one.

  2. This is so interesting. As the mother of two children on the spectrum - one with Asperger's and the other ASD - it is a topic that has come up repeatedly with family and parents of other NNT kids. I can see both sides of the coin here, and I thought I'd share the other side for a moment.

    Our family has decided to own our autism, not to hide it like a dirty secret. Our girls are absolutely a-may-zing, and they happen to be Autistic, and Celiac, and Portuguese among other things. All of these things are part of them, part of us, but none of them defines them. We do not broadcast these things, nor are they used as excuses, but they help us to understand each other better, and as parts of us they invite us to be ambassadors in the world at large.

    Because we are comfortable talking about discovering Celiac Disease in our family several of our friends and family have gone on to discover their own gluten intolerance and address it. It is because of our willingness to be open about our girls' autism that at least 2 other parents have first recognized the autism in their own children and sought help. While pediatricians and family and friends are quick to tell you it's all in your head, precious months and years can pass without understanding why your child is struggling, or getting them real help. And yet seeing that your child and my autistic child are alike can turn on that light bulb and bring awareness and understanding for the first time. It doesn't diminish either of them, but it might mean that your child finally gets the speech therapy or ABA that he needs, and that you finally understand that he's not ignoring you he's just focused! ;)

    Our girls are not diminished by their autism, and I want them to stand proud. I am proud of them every day, and I make no secret of it - they are smart and funny and happy. They know who they are, their gifts and their challenges, and they are confident.

    I always smile a little when I hear my oldest tell someone about her Aspergers with such confidence and comfort. "I can't see that: I have Asperger's and it's hard for me to follow your point. Can you tell me what it's near?" Or "Oh, but I AM happy, my face just doesn't always show it. Asperger's can be like that. I'll try to remember to smile so you can tell!" And I have been pleased to discover just how happy people are to be educated - to learn that autism is different than what they thought. Autism is not a box which defines people, but a rainbow of shades they might not have noticed or recognized before. It is all around them, and yet invisible - scary, even, unless we are open. Unless we invite them to see and they begin to realize that autism is the cute girl with the quick laugh who seems to know everything about marine animals, or the boy next door who still can't ride his bike but can tutor you in math, or the music teacher who breathes life into every piece of music he teaches but can't match his clothes, doesn't look you in the eye, and seems out of place with the other staff. Or the little girl who reads everything, is always honest even when it's inappropriate, and cries when the fire alarm rings or someone eats a tuna fish sandwich next to her. I could go on, but you get it.

    So, while I agree that autistic people are much, much more than their diagnosis, I also want to see us demystify that word and own it outright. I don't want my children to feel they need to hide any part of who they are. They may have challenges, but they also have incredible gifts, deep joys, and they bring a special beauty to the world that is undeniable - traits that everyone should know belong to those with autism every bit as much as anyone else.

    Just my 2 cents! ;) I love your blog, and I hope that you keep it up!

  3. My stepson battles autism and sometimes the autism wins...but not always! He's been diagnosed, yes, but as you have pointed out, people are so much more than one ingredient. A cake is flour, sugar, eggs, butter and chocolate, but when you bake it you don't have a big hunk of chocolate, you have a cake of which chocolate is a part. Same situation here! And without just the right amount of chocolate, the cake would not be nearly as enjoyable!


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