Not Second Rate
That phrase in that picture up there? That is what ABA is about to me.
I've had several people ask me lately, "Why do you travel so far for Colin's 'school'?"
"Is it worth it?"
"Will he ever go to real school?"
Here are the facts:
1. Colin is smart.
2. He has autism.
3. His autism means that he learns differently.
4. He deserves to be taught in a way that he can learn.
That's it. Plain and simple.
ABA looks at where he is functioning right now. What are his strengths? What about his areas of deficit? His therapy is intensive and completely individualized.
Stanley Greenspan, a child psychiatrist, said it best:
"All children have within them the potential to be great kids. It is our job to create a world where this potential can flourish."
I also like this quote from Tony Attwood, a psychologist from Australia:
“Love the person with autism. It’s a different culture. It’s a different way of thinking and don’t perceive it as second rate. It’s just different."
We love Colin, and we see that he is just bursting with potential. It is our job - as his parents, his advocates, his voice - to help him realize that potential. ABA is helping us help him.
I shared a video on my Facebook page last night of Colin doing some travel matching in the hallway with distractions. A year ago, that would never have been possible. He is now trying to verbally say anything that we model for him. Just six months ago, he wasn't repeating anything at all. He follows directions now (for the most part!), which is making life easier (and safer!).
ABA has taught him how to learn. I am amazed by the progress that he has made since starting ABA. I know that he will continue to learn and do great things.
With the autism prevalence increasing this year, we will be seeing more and more kids on the spectrum. We really need to consider this and make the conscious decision to see them as unique individuals who have value and not a burden because of their difference.
I hope that others look at Colin and see his potential. I hope they realize that he is different, but not second rate. I hope that Colin's successes show others how important it is for us to see value in people rather than just seeing a diagnosis.