"Everyone tries to imply that my boy is normal and that someday he will fit in. My son did not come to this earth to be normal. He came to teach us something...and no one is listening," Elizabeth declared to a group of parents. Elizabeth's son is autistic. She believes he has a calling - one that does not fall onto the map of reality that most of us hold as "normal" or a map most believe is necessary to be a valuable contributor to society.
Bestselling author, Temple Grandlin, Ph.D., diagnosed with autistism at the age of two, says she thinks in pictures - and that she never forgets her pictures. Among other things, Dr. Grandlin is responsible for improving standards for slaughtering livestock, and creating a "hug box" for kids with autism.
Each of us has gifts we are meant to enjoy, develop and share. What we look like, how we compare to others or how we behave at any given season of our life, should never be an indictment that shortchanges us or the world on our individual mission. Grandlin was pronounced "brain damaged" and had a grim prognosis. It took a mother who believed she had a mission and purpose to support her potential.
Sometimes we label people as though they are nouns - forever the same as the descriptors that a psychological label infers. We are instead verbs - living, active, learning, growing, changing beings, sharing who we are and what we have become until the next experience changes us again.
Suzy Miller, founder of Awesomism Certification Process that educates parents and professionals around the world regarding the spiritual gifts of autistic children as well as how to use these gifts tot support theirs challenges, says this:
"Regardless of diagnosis (Autism, ASD, A.D.D. or A.D.H.D) or your current perception, these children are beyond our experience of different. Collectively and individually they have a plan. From a soul/spirit vantage point, I am constantly amazed at what the children diagnosed on the autism spectrum are capable of, the direction they are attempting to take us and the multi-layered impact they are having on us all. "
Here is but one example of the extraordinary difference one person can make: Christopher Duffley, blind and diagnosed with autism, sings to the Teamsters Union.
It is time for us to expand our map of reality and create support structures that enhance the hope and possibility for everyone to share their gifts.
Angels come in all forms.