by Sandra Webster
All Minds are equal, some are not more equal than others.
Today is Autistic Pride day when folk on the spectrum celebrate their neurodiversity and send out the message that being different is okay. In a week that has been filled with xenophobic and hetero-normative hatred, that message is an important one. Let us celebrate that we are all human.
I have two sons with autism. Sometimes I wish I had a pair of magic spectacles and see through my own myopic lenses how they see the world. They are both beautiful and talented despite the challenges they experience.
Callum, my youngest is caring and compassionate. He doesn’t suffer fools gladly and at the moment that includes Donald Trump. He ponders very deep thoughts from cosmology to zoology and back again. Last night he showed me a spitting shrimp on the web which heats up water to the temperature to the surface of the sun. He always keeps me on my toes. To him the world is fairly black and white, give the poor the money they need and get rid of the royal family. He is so insightful at times and sometimes his thoughts make me amazed that a young man of twelve can dream of such things. I know he touches so many people with “the wisdom of callybally” on Facebook where you can read his thoughts from the apocalypse to Black Holes. He inspires me and makes me proud to be his mum.
Lucas’s autism is more complex. He has the most amazing tics where he swoops in the air, hand-flapping and giggling with whatever is in his mind. Although the world can sometimes be a dark place for Lucas he finds comfort in Marvel; we have a strong bond. Lucas needs to check out the world and sometimes escape from it but that is okay as he will come back refreshed. He tells me he loves me a hundred times a day.
For anyone wishing to read more about autism away from the medical model. I recommend you read Neuro Tribes by Steve Silberman. He started his research after seeing how many families in silicon valley had children with autism. There is a greater increase in the children of engineers and bankers too.
Don’t get me wrong, autism can bring stress to a family but I celebrate Autistic Pride Day for those on the spectrum who share how their differences make them happy and strong. It is up to us who are neurotypical to make the world more accommodating. A better place for all humanity. Celebrate neurodiversity and most of all accept it.
Sandra Webster is a full-time carer from Paisley and serves on the Scottish Socialist Party’s executive committee.