By Melina Chavarria
As we finalize the second issue of Aurtistic Zine, titled Perception, I’ve been reflecting a lot on how my perception has shifted since my kids were diagnosed with Autism. I still remember the feeling of devastation when they were diagnosed 8 years ago. I did a lot of research to try to understand their diagnosis and wrap my head around what our new journey would be like, but all that the research did was fill me with more anxiety. My mind couldn’t stop thinking about all of the worst possible scenarios, and worrying about what the future holds for them. I had nightmares about my sons running away, and drowning in a pool, since that’s mostly how Autistic children were being portrayed by the media.
8 years later, I am grateful for how my children have enlightened me and opened my eyes and heart. They continue to challenge me and push me to rethink the things I think I know. I no longer worry if or when they will reach certain milestones, because they have shown me that each individual grows at their own pace, at their own time, in their own way. This realization has helped me accept and celebrate their differences. I’m not forcing them to be mainstreamed, if anything I resist them being pushed to normalcy.
I believe that they were born with Autism for a reason, to stand out and show us that diversity is not just about skin color; but also about the many different minds, skills, and talents that it takes to make our world beautiful. Now instead of worrying about them fitting in, my goals are to help them unfold and develop their unique talents and perspectives, because I know there is something in them this world needs.
So when you pick up our next issue, I hope that it will open your eyes, and help you see that each individual has a different perception, Autistic or not. And regardless of where someone is on the spectrum, each individual has unlimited potential.
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