One of the struggles I continue to have is with the ‘high-functioning’ nature of Tucker’s version of autism. Ugh…see I have this issue…because I have a labeling issue. So what if he is (or not) high-functioning? He has some stuff going on.
Recently, Jerry Seinfeld came out and said, “I think, on a very drawn-out scale, I think I’m on the spectrum.” Well…of course he is. We all are.
I’m willing to bet that Jerry Seinfeld was a bit like Tucker as a child. Some folks in the ASD community went ‘bananas’ at Seinfeld’s proclamation. I didn’t…because I get it. All of us are on the spectrum somewhere in someway…it’s just a matter of how much (if any) help we need communicating our likes/dislikes/needs to others.
Sometimes I feel sad and/or guilty writing this blog because Tucker can do so much – but it doesn’t negate the fact that his version of autism is real. I think as we (in the ASD community) work harder at differentiating ourselves we do a disservice to each other. We’re all in this thing, together – in different ways – but together. It’s the very thing about ASD, no child or ‘version of autism’ is the same…so instead of attacking each other in a contest of ‘who has a ‘worse’ version of autism’ how about we come together and recognize all of our struggles are the same.
A struggle of the human condition…with one goal, understanding of the human condition.
What exactly is high-functioning? This website has been helpful to navigate our way in Tucker’s ‘version’: www.ahany.org
The Asperger’s Association and High Functioning Autism Association website has four main goals (from their website)
- To increase awareness and knowledge of higher functioning autism among the professionals who diagnose, treat, educate or provide services. (Autism is a spectrum disorder that varies in degree from mild to severe with a wide range of needs).
- To attain appropriate educational programs, effective social skills training, increased social and recreational opportunities, meaningful employment, and sufficient and satisfactory independent living accommodations for those with High Functioning Autism (HFA).
- To develop a strong network of parents supporting one another through the challenges of daily life.
- To provide parents and professionals with a useful forum where they can exchange pertinent information.
My favorite section in this website? ‘Articles’
In this section there are a variety of articles that you can print or forward to folks who are interested in helping children on the spectrum. My favorite?
How Extended Family Can Enhance the Lives of Kids on the Autism Spectrum
by Dan Coulter, the dad of a young man with Asperger Syndrome and the owner of Coulter video along with his wife Julie.
The word “family” can evoke powerful memories and emotions. Thinking of family recalls the Robert Frost line, “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” When grandparents are involved, the line could often be changed to, “…they can’t wait to take you in.”
Check it out…awesome resources!