I was with a child the other day who is autistic. He was in a group of other autistic children and he asked what someone’s disability was. The answer was he is autistic. The kid who asked lit up from ear to ear and said, “Autism is me.” I beamed with him. He was so proud! He said it all in his entire body how he felt. He was not ashamed. He didn’t feel the need to hide. He was proud of who he was!!
I think of how many of us would say FASD is me. AND beam from ear to ear and want to shout from the rooftops who they are. Doesn’t mean that is all of who a person is, but is a part of who they are and they are proud and do not feel a stigma or ashamed.
A girl from this group was asked to fill out a questionnaire about who she is. What’s your favorite color, etc. She was asked, “what do you want people to know about you?” She answered that I have autism. Another question was, “If you grow up to be famous, what would you like to be famous for?” This child didn’t even hesitate. She wrote that she wanted to be famous for having autism. I instantly thought of Temple Grandin. She is known for having autism. Plain and simple. She is known for paving the way for so many and showing them that even though she has it, she has made a difference in the world.
How many of us with FASD want to be actually known for FASD? How many would sit in a group and point to themselves like that little boy and just say, “I am FASD.”
I want to be known for having it.
I want to pave the way and show that even though I have it, I can still make a huge contribution to society.
Even though my brain does not work like everyone else…I still might not be able to always talk like everyone else (but I find ways to talk)…I might not be able to sit by people cuz if I do, the rest of my senses go into total overload, but I sit far enough away that I can still think…( I just figure it out my way—it works)…I might have a hard time with my brain processing…but I have the ability to read emotion like no one else and connect at a deep calming level…I may look at you and not find the words with my mouth, but I find the words with my eyes and soul…
I might not be like many…but I am like some…and our some is growing and growing….unfortunately
Us some have to stand up and say, “I am FASD and look at me. I am making a difference. I am proud.”
Proud that our moms drank when she was pregnant with us? NO
Proud to be! Proud to connect and love and feel and make a difference. Proud to do in spite of all the tests that say we can’t. WE are determined and fight like no other to survive.
I AM FASD! FASD is me! Thanks to these kids for showing that it’s okay to be who we are…all of who we are…and still beam from ear to ear…and be proud!