Siempre me ha interesado el autismo, realmente me fascina su
perspectiva y experiencia del mundo y en qué puede diferir de la mía.
Sin embargo, a medida que investigo un poco más en este tema, descubro que hay una gran variedad de respuestas a la pregunta: ¿cómo saber si un niño tiene autismo?
Cuando comencé a investigar el autismo y si podíamos enseñar meditación a los niños con autismo, me sorprendió notar que las personas a mi alrededor (que no fueron diagnosticadas como autistas) mostraban los comportamientos asociados y los rasgos del autismo. Mi esposo trabajaba en una oficina con muchos tipos que eran "geeks" de las computadoras y pude identificar muchos rasgos en ellos que podrían considerarse autistas (incluido mi esposo).
I noticed within myself, certain attitudes/behaviours that might fall into the category. If you pick up a copy of a book called ‘Autism and Asperger Syndrome’ (The Facts) by Simon Baren-Cohen you will notice that you may have at least one of the behaviours!
Spectrum of Energy
En mi libro 'Niños tranquilos' I do touch on my experiences so far of working with autism (asperger syndrome) and how this spectrum is something I see as a spectrum of energy that not only these kids are on, but is something we are all on. In other words we are in the same world, breathing the same air but we are just having our own unique experience of it.
But we are quick to label children and diagnose them (and I can see the advantages of this as it can open up support and funding for parents and families if they have this diagnosis). However it feels that once the diagnosis is in place we limit them through this label. We immediately believe that autism is a negative and there is much research to find a ‘cure’. But what if it was okay to have autism? What if we simply found a way to adapt the environment to some of the needs children with autism have.
Changing the Environment
My friend worked for a disability charity and once said to me that it is only the environment that limits our abilities. I didn’t quite understand so she explained. She wears glasses/contact lenses. If she didn’t have these, she couldn’t see/focus. Her glasses are the change in her environment and have enabled her to do things, ordinary things with her life. If she didn’t have them, she would be disabled. This was a light bulb moment for me.
Today I read an article which is about computers and cameras becoming part of the diagnosis of autism in young children. If a child is diagnosed with autism in the early stages, could it be they will be labeled for the rest of their life and seen to be limited by their environment. Yet what if these behaviours only turn out to be mild (referring to my husband, me and his work colleagues)? How different would our lives have been if we had been labelled?
I feel it isn’t just about the diagnosis and the funding support. It is about being aware of what unique traits each child has and how we can then adapt their environment to help them be the most they can be in their life. Everyone has something to contribute to the world, whoever they are and whatever condition their mind, body and spirit are in.
Whilst I’m still at the early stages of my research (as I hope to write a second book ‘Meditation for Autism’) I hope to show that it isn’t about having a cure for autism but an awareness of what children with autism contribute to us, you and me and our views of the world.