Zoom Autism Magazine Issue 3 Spring 2015 - Page 16

AUTHOR SNAPSHOT Acceptance By David Finch T The smartest thing I’ve read recently was a Facebook post from my friend John Elder Robison. In it, John observes an essential difference in how autism is perceived in America and India, respectively. Specifically noted is the culture of acceptance in India, which carries entirely different implications from America’s general tendency to assign blame for things we deem unacceptable. This has real consequences in the way we engage with people with autism. By attaching blame to something, we redefine it as a problem, and the word “problem” has very few positive connotations. When we accept, we are able to see things and people for what they are, how they are, and who they are, and only then can we love them purely. Acceptance is a life-changing behavior to master, and I say this as someone who has yet to master it. When traffic comes to a standstill on the interstate, I’m the person smashing his head against the driver’s-side window of his comfortable car and crying out, “You gotta be kidding me!” This, while my favorite music plays on the expensive and perfectly-functioning sound system I completely take for granted. We are inclined to resist the circumstances in our lives—“I can’t BELIEVE this elevator takes so long,” or “Why does it have to be so cold in February?!”—and in so doing, we set ourselves up for pain and suffering. And we resist everything. According to Good Morning America, not even our eyebrows are safe. Big eyebrows, they reported, are en vogue; if you have them, you’re stylish, and if not, you really need to consider eyebrow extensions. “Hey, why did you and Vanessa break things off?” 16 Zoom Autism Through Many Lenses “Dude, I just couldn’t talk her into getting those eyebrow extensions.” “Regular eyebrows, huh? You can’t be with someone like that.” “Nope. Total deal breaker.” Rather than going about our lives without judgment, we foist our insane expectations upon the universe, th