“If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.” — Ignacio Estrada
My son has definitely re-taught me how important it is to respect that everyone does not think the same. It’s so easy to assume that our way is the best way and that if others don’t agree, they must be ‘wrong’. Watching my son trying to fit into a world that he does not always understand, and, in return, does not always understand him, has shown me that no way is necessarily perfect — just different.
He has also taught me that different ways of learning should be respected. Since people with autism usually process information in unique and atypical ways, I have had to find unique ways to communicate with my son while teaching him to do everyday things. Like when he was younger, and wanted to play with a certain toy, but didn’t know how to ask for it, I would have him touch each toy and hear its name to help him choose which one he really wanted. Something about the sensations of touch and hearing helped him figure out how to choose; seeing the items alone was just not enough.
The book, Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism by Temple Grandin is an amazing biography that allows people into the mind of a person with autism, illustrating how a person with autism might see the world.
Living with my little guy has been a great reminder that each of us is a unique being. And though I know each of us came to be in order to experience our own very unique journeys, I can’t help but believe that people with autism and their unique approaches to life not only came to live their journey, but to remind the rest of us of some very simple truths. Different is not wrong–just different.