Jul 13, 2011

Two Edged Sword

I was out visiting today and someone saw Princess Belle for the first time in a few years. In her usual manner, she was excited to have a captive and interested audience and talked up a storm on whatever interested her. When I was few feet away and couldn't hear what they were doing, he even got her to read something out loud to them. He was entranced.

Now here is the part that is a two edged sword. He was amazed by how smart she was and how advanced her reading is. It made my homeschooling heart swell to know that he could see how much she was learning at home. But then he went on to exclaim how she was sooo smart he couldn't see how she had any kind of autism at all. Surely if she could read like that, she couldn't have autism and did we really have her officially diagnosed and by who.

See, I was glad that he thought she was smart, but his understanding of autism was a little frustrating. Autism has nothing to do with intelligence. Hers comes out in her social interactions, in her extreme reactions to sensory input, her sensitivity, in her extreme need for routine, her complete lack of understanding of social rules, and in so many ways that are not obvious in a few minutes of excited conversation. I am glad that she has been doing so well at home and that in our home environment her self-esteem has blossomed so much. I just don't like it when people feel that having autism in any way limits her intelligence. She is a smart girl, really smart. As far as I am concerned, there is nothing she can't do. I don't want people to expect less of her because of a label that is supposed to help us understand her.



Julie said...

I wouldn't even know what to do in a situation like that... I'm sure you handled it well though. :)


Happy Elf Mom said...

Wellll, that's the thing. If I homeschooled my low verbal child, he's not gonna be reading Pride and Prejudice in two years. So no matter how hard I work, I will have "failed." Send him to public school though and it is the parents who fail if he doesn't do well.

See what I mean? Just enjoy the fact that she can "pass" and teach her to advocate for herself and tell others about what she needs to succeed. I hope you are having a lovely summer! :)