While sitting at my child’s class, I sometimes can see into a different room. I often will pause in my writing or reading and watch what’s happening from all the way across the building.
I’m there because of my child. They decided this was their “must do” activity and we did everything in our power to make it happen.
But I’m drawn to watching that other room.
Sometimes, the other instruction room is full of people and other times it’s empty.
The people it contains are frequently different than the ones who were there before. Of course, I’m not sure how exactly I’d be able to tell if they were the same, not being able to recognize any of them anyhow.
But sometimes there’s a group of children in that room and that group has Autistic children mixed in. Maybe they’re all Autistic, but only some are openly and joyfully Autistic. I’m not sure.
What I am certain about is that it’s one of the most lovely things in the world to watch when Autistic children are being themselves and using Autistic body language. Joyful, exuberant, natural, intense, delightful, vivacious!
Their joy, sadness, frustration, and delight just pop! I’m not sure how better to describe it. The “normal” accepted allistic body language is so dull and drab to me in comparison.
Autistic body language, to me, is like an accent wall with a bright color, while all the other walls are boring grey or beige. The color just pops out, catches the eye, is so vivid and bold that it almost hurts in its beauty.
I watch, from across the building. I delight in seeing children being so openly themselves! Expressing their delights and sorrows so energetically and clearly.
These children haven’t had their Autistic-ness squashed down or beaten out of them. They are still free to be themselves, at least during this class.
The truth is, I don’t know what happens with those children when they aren’t at my child’s class building.
Maybe they’re accepted and appreciated and there are people in their lives who try to understand their needs and perspectives. I desperately hope that this is the case.
Or perhaps they’re attending therapy after therapy with people who are trying to train the Autistic out of them somehow. It apparently hasn’t “worked” yet and I hope it never does.
I hope that they continue flapping and stimming and making all the noises they need to make. I hope that they are accepted and appreciated and understood.
I hope that they aren’t just “tolerated” – what an ugly word, implying an unpleasant duty of sorts – and that they are never devalued by their parents, the very people who should be defending these children’s right to be their own people with their own lovely essences.
May the world be a better, kinder, gentler, appreciative place for Autistics by the time these Autistic children get older.
I know that I will do everything in my power to help it be that way for them. For all of us, but especially for the young children who haven’t learned to be ashamed of who they are and how they move.
And may I never have to add the word “yet” to my previous sentence.