The Color Blindness of Autism

Grace with a middle school buddy, 2009

One of the many gifts of having a child with special needs is their sheer innocence and
Purity. My only child, who has autism, loves. Unconditionally. I think she's truly color blind. 
Also, I think it is an interesting cultural-societal note–the Fiance
and I talk about this often–that many of the students who have bonded
with her in school are children of color. I also see that bond to her with children
who have experienced struggles in their own lives.  I think there is a
knowing-bonding factor of being different. Also, so many of the
para-professionals who work in the disAbility community are also people
of color. Again, I think there is an open-hearted-ness there of Compassionate Knowing. I am Grateful. It's a bit bittersweet…there is another layer here. One of perceived societal class and value and work. Those who work as paraprofessionals in my school system–those who often serve a more valuable role than a special education teacher when they, as assistants accompany a child in general education classrooms–are the lowest paid in our school systems and often, again, people of color. Janitors make more than special education assistants….

While our culture is still strife with racial prejudice I do see Hope in younger generations. I am fascinated with the two younger adult generations behind me.
I have listened and read a lot of commentary on why they are different
and one reason given is that they have grown up in a much more multicultural society.  I grew
up where and when Black was minority in schools and not integrated until my second
. At the onset of integration, I and my peers were, sadly guilty of heralding prejudices
we had been taught. I followed the lead of my peers even though I knew in my heart it was wrong. That said, multicultural and more accepting–the
state of younger generations said to be–I realize that Fear and Hate is
still being taught in our culture. And that really
concerns me. It is about what is taught….Adult prejudices beget
children's prejudices. It is an ugly continuum.

In the meantime, I am grateful for the unconditional love my daughter demonstrates to all around her. May we all learn to be so Pure. I've said it often: my special child will teach me and others more than we will teach her….

While searching for the top photo, my eye caught the collection taken at our high school's life skills' class green house fundraiser at the uber-cool Edgehill Villa, where we also had our book launch a couple months later. I wished I'd chosen this picture for last week's Wednesday post. Not only does it radiate Pure, Unadulterated Joy, it boasts an attitude a whole lot more of us could stand to don. That of zero self-consciousness. Grace was merely rocking to the band performing. I'd heard Art Four Sale perform their funky fun beat at Whitney Ferre's booksigning last year. I appreciate their open spirit that knew something was "different" but totally went with it and caught "the Joy" and gave it back. Graciously. Oh, the world. The clues of becoming a more Loving Place are amongst us all the time.

A related post.

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