There is a preconceived notion out there somewhere that autism is a terrible horrible awful thing. I don’t know where it came from (I secretly blame Autism Speaks, but that’s a different story), and I do not like it. Not only is this notion false, but it is harmful to any autistic child who is brought into the world with parents who believe this notion. Autism should not be treated like a bacterial infection. Bacterial infections are treated so that they are completely eradicated. If any trace of the bacteria is left, they are still in Code Red lockdown and everything is done so that there is no trace at all that a bacterium ever existed there. I strongly believe that the key to autism is working with the disorder.
I believe there is always a key to each autistic child. It functions much like a normal key would, because no two keys are the same. Every child has something that turns them on. I have worked with people who have been opened up by something as general as nature or by something as specific as twigs. The key to creating a child who can function in today’s society is to find something that turns them on. Alternative therapies are very useful in this situation. Such treatments as music therapy, art therapy, animal therapy or aquatic therapy are used very widely in order to unlock children.
The reason these treatments work is that there is something inside each and every autistic child. They might scream and yell and spin in circles and not do anything else, but there is something that turns them on. If we treat autism like a monster, we are treating those affected as monsters too. Autism is not a terrible, awful, horrible thing. If everybody had a touch of autism, the world would be a much more logical, efficient place. In order to live with autism, the bright sides must be considered. Autism creates unique minds and unique perspectives which create solutions to problems and create new innovations. To get to these minds, it is necessary to find the key to unlock them. To find the key one must look. The way I think of it, you’ll have much better luck looking on the Bright side than the Dark side. You don’t need a flashlight to look on the Bright side.