are all born into this world perfect. The very core of my beliefs
tells me that the good Lord doesn't make mistakes. Each of His
creations is just as He intended.
all babies are born into this world as perfect human beings. It
is not until later after their arrival that society starts to
put labels on them - labels like Autism, Dyslexia, Down Syndrome,
Asperger Syndrome, Learning Disabled, Attention Deficit Disordered.
labels, often bigger than the children themselves, imply that
these children are somehow not perfect. That they are in fact
broken things needing to be fixed. While this may not be the real
intent of the educational world and educators themselves, I believe
that is what the children hear.
we should be looking through a different lens. These children
are not broken misfits needing repair, but rather uniquely gifted
children who should be helped to make those gifts apparent and
appreciated by both themselves and society.
is too easy to get wrapped up in our own technological and medical
success. Modern medicine, new brain imaging techniques, assessment
instruments, therapies and assistive technologies are glamorous
items and may be so fun to play with that we fail to stop and
really consider what the point is to all of these aides and treatments
for the "disabled" children.
would the world look like if all the children were fixed? Is there
one person among us who feels this world would truly be improved
if all children were the same in ability and talent? What if everyone
was an excellent reader, an excellent mathematician, an excellent
artist, an excellent athlete? What if we WERE all the same? What
if we removed all the disabilities and variation so that everyone
I wear many hats in my life as a researcher, writer, speaker and
consultant, my proudest role is that of mother. Persons often
hear me speak of my children and their unique gifts. My oldest
son was given the gift of autism. Some find it odd to hear a mother
call autism in her son a gift, but I truly believe with all my
heart and soul that the good Lord does not send children into
this world as anything less than His best work. He doesn't send
them with burdens, but with gifts. Unfortunately the world sometimes
views those gifts as burdens.
I was given a magic wand this week that could remove the autism
from Keegan, now 20 years old, I would refuse. To remove the autism
from Keegan is to remove the very essence of my son. It is an
integral part of the person we know and love. Keegan is gifted
with a unique perspective of the world and has shown us time and
time again rich and varied details of the world we may otherwise
have missed. His music, his art, his writings have insights beyond
anything I could conceive. I am thankful everyday for the experience
of raising and living with him.
greatest mission and hope is to help other educators and parents
see the hidden gifts in children which may be missed. We all need
to focus more time and energy helping children discover, unfold
and expose the gifts they have for the world. While it may be
difficult at times to accept their gifts graciously, wherever
possible, try to look deep and see and fully appreciate what they
may have to add to the beautiful and intricate tapestry of humanity.
Rather than label and attempt to fix, can we encourage, value
and instill a sense of pride in the child.
us take the advice from the Birthday Bird in Dr Seuss's book as
he reminds us to help every child climb to the tallest place and
hold their unique gift up for all to see:
" So we'll go to the top of the toppest blue space,...Come
on! Open your mouth and sound off at the sky! Shout loud at the
top of your voice, I AM I !"