Monthly Archives: February 2013

Oscar Pistorius

For those who have read my book, you know that Oscar Pistorius has been a hero of mine. I admired his bravery in exposing himself to doubters, his impressive work ethic and his accomplishments for the disabled. I am aware that every human being is a mixture of imperfections and good qualities and that it is unreasonable to expect athletes to be supermen morally. On the other hand, is it too much to expect that he not murder a cowering woman hiding in his bathroom?
The truth is I can admire his athletic accomplishments still, but so what? There is a moral line that cannot be crossed, ever. He claims it was mistaken identity or an accident, and the trial will determine the truth. This is why we must try to wait before convicting him internally—but I can still feel betrayed by him. By putting himself out there, he became a role model for thousands of disabled people. It is breaking my heart for his victim, his wasted potential and the flawed nature of humanity. The life we have is so precious that the loss or waste of it is deeply sad.

Truth Over Theory

I had an interesting conversation with a university professor this weekend about autism. I enjoyed it very much because he was so open-minded and interested in learning new information about autism. That is like a near miracle. Ha ha. More often, I think, people get used to their theories and stay there their whole professional careers. He invited me to do a training for his staff of professors and has assigned my book to two of his classes. This is very cool. I love the chance to open people’s minds. In the near future I will be speaking to staff at an autism agency, giving a speech to families and staff at a disability support agency, doing an interview on internet radio and maybe more. I hope little by little to help influence a change in out understanding of severe autism. With the new DSM out in May, it is an uphill struggle, but I believe truth will triumph over theory in the end.

Behind the Silence

This story is touching and important. It shows commitment, determination and love and how once again parents need to trust their observations over expert advice. Here was a boy, trapped in his body in a different way than I am, but like me he was not able to talk, gesture or write independently. Therefore doctors incorrectly advise his parents that he is a “vegetable.” My mission is to give non-verbal people the benefit of the doubt. In many cases people have emerged from non-responsive bodies to show intelligence. Why then do so many professionals persist in seeing people with non-responsive bodies as not? The lesson from this film is not just the inspirational one. It should be a caution to professionals against assuming the lowest for their patients based on external observation. Time after time people with cerebral palsy, autism, strokes, comas, and even encephalitis have been able to emerge to show that some of them were thinking while unable to show it.  It boggles my mind that people resist this possibility in so many instances. The amazing thing is that this has been going on for decades. Each individual emergence is a story and no one generalizes it.