Zoom Autism Magazine Issue 7 - Page 30

“ estate. Passion is a human trait that can be expressed and felt regardless of our given abilities and conditions. Love is the essential non-physical ingredient When I am asked to present or write about autism, the first thought that appears in my mind is my brother, James. Like me, James was also diagnosed with autism, but his condition is more significant and his experiences are drastically different from my own. James is 32 (as of this writing), and he does not speak, write or type. He has had wonderful caregivers and teachers, but he never received an opportunity to participate in an inclusive educational setting or an opportunity to work. It makes me feel guilty that my brother has not been able to experience the life opportunities that I have been lucky to receive. for human survival. When we believe and feel like we are loved, we will be motivated to keep our passions alive. ” James and me, during a visit at his home (2015) what makes me passionate, other people will discover their passions in different avenues. It is important to keep in mind that passion can be acquired by anyone. Only you know how to define passion. Other people do not define your passion for you. My brother has led a very difficult and painful life. James has always tried to communicate with us, but none of us have succeeded in understanding his language. Imagine spending 32 years of your life trying to communicate your joys, frustrations, questions, sensory and health-related issues and never being understood … and when you were not understood, you continued to feel lonely, frustrated, and aching from your health–related ailments. Imagine having dreams for your life and no one ever being able to understand or know what those dreams are. Imagine never feeling like your voice was heard. “ Passion is a Passion does not equate achievement and success as defined by societal standards. Many people (including myself) tend to be pulled towards the misconception that we must select something to label as a “passion” for the purpose of becoming famous, rich or successful. We must stop degrading ourselves by that unhealthy way of thinking. Passion simply relates to intense desire. Passion is the emotion or the set of emotions that drives us, excites us, and makes us determined to take action. That action may be as simple as satisfying ourselves with personal happiness, peace or pleasure. It does not require a trophy, straight A’s, a college degree, a high-paying job, fame, sex appeal, a fancy car, or a multimillion-dollar human trait that can be expressed and felt regardless of our given abilities and conditions. ” 30 ZOOM Autism through Many Lenses Since James has not been able to tell me what his passions are, I tried to think back to the years when we were growing up and what activities made him smile. They are simple things, such Self portrait, WORDS ZOOM Autism through Many Lenses 31