Tuesday, August 18, 2015


It started with a casual remark from Rachael. 

"You know, Mom," she said, "I wish I had Autism so I can have superpowers too."

Superpowers? Autism? 


Abby has, among other talents, bionic hearing. At least, it seems like she does. We live very close to the CP mainline, and freight trains rumble past our house a dozen or more times a day. Abby can hear them. I mean, we hear them too, but she hears them miles out, sometimes as much as five minutes before the rest of us can. She'll come up to you and say:

"Hear a train?" 

(Most of her statements are in the form of questions - echolalia I suppose from us asking her constant questions.)

To which we often will remark, "Do you hear a train? There's your superautismhearing again!" because 99% of the time, there will be train along shortly. 

Rachael has long been obsessed with superheros. For a year or more, she added to her prayers every night that God would make her a superhero when she grows up. So, not surprisingly, she might be a bit jealous that Abby has a "superpower". 

Too often, we read and hear about how our children on the Spectrum need to be "cured" or "fixed". I have questioned that philosophy for several years now. I questioned it waaaay back in ABA, and I question it still. Is my child actually broken? Or is she just differently-abled? 

Certainly, there are traits with Autism that make it difficult for her to function in our culture, but there are lots of things in our culture that I find dis-functional. Does Autism govern our family life? In many ways, it does. Will she need care for the rest of her life? Probably. 

But do all those things add up to a person being "broken"? After all, even Batman had a caregiver (Alfred), the Incredibles, well, they *were* a family of superheros, and guys like Peter Parker never seem to fit in anyway. Neither did the X-Men. And they were superheros. 

So what does that make Abby, with her superpowers?

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