rain man

I did not like you when I met you
your repetitive words
strict adherence to rules

days after days
I watch you from distance
observe your persistence
without resistance

your differences grew on me
I just wanted to set you free
from the ward surrounded by tree

sometimes I wish you would reveal
how you feel
behind the wheel

you will remember every little word I spoke
but you won’t notice that my heart broke
on the day I made a joke

I still want you to know
your connection
without affection
is perfection
to me

Beyond the word autism

Yesterday was a life transforming day for me.

I was challenged, frustrated, confused, overwhelmed, inspired, encouraged, and most importantly, hopeful.

One of the reasons I became interested in autism was the Netflix show Atypical.

My husband and I finished season 1 a few months ago and recently started season 2.

Ever since then, I started looking for opportunities to learn about it.

Yesterday I went to a seminar. Initially, I felt out of place because I realised almost all of them were parents. However, they created a safe space for me to learn from them.

Later in the evening, my husband and I went to a talk by Paul Isaacs.

I have had so many thoughts and feelings since yesterday.

Back then, I was ignorant.

I had degree in Psychology but my knowledge and understanding of autism was fragmentary.

I did not pay attention to it.

It was easy to ignore so long as it was not personally affecting my life.

Listening to people’s stories and experiences in real life gave me a deeper sense of what it means to raise an autistic child and what it means to be one.

The amount of judgment these parents receive from the public, other parents and other kids is real.

“They don’t really understand…”

It is true.. they don’t. I don’t.

It is easier to judge something we don’t understand.

It is easier to blame someone we don’t personally know.

We can never truly feel what someone else feels.

I do not know what it is like to raise a kid, let alone meeting all their different needs.

But I acknowledge that it is difficult to find a specific toothpaste for each kid (considering I never even had to buy toothpaste for someone else).

“It doesn’t matter how many times somebody tells me that it’s hot. If I can’t perceive that

it’s hot, how do I know that it’s hot?”

“It has nothing to do with intelligence. It’s just perception.”

Paul Isaacs gave me a new way of looking at different perspectives.

It is a bit like speaking different languages.

“It isn’t a choice to have a shutdown or meltdown. It could be sensory overload.”

“When someone has a label, it is best to understand what the label means for them.”

Yesterday also taught me how different each autistic person is. Their likes. dislikes. interests. the way they react to different things etc.

Just like all of us, we are all fruit salad trying to understand this world which is also fruit salad.

One of the most powerful/inspiring things he said,

“There is more in common than not.”

It has stuck in my head since last night.

Are we working too hard on identifying differences but not common ground?

If we look closely, we will find the same reasons behind different things we do.

But does that make one of us better? not really.