Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Spark

My husband just gave this book and it is a very good read. Of late there have been quite a few books written by people with autism or by their parents. I have read some of them and they all give interesting insight into the lives of autistic people.  This book I particularly like because it has so many valuable lessons for us to learn about relating to other people, not just children or autistic children.
 The book is written by the mom of a boy with high functioning autism.  He has delays in certain areas but is a true genius in his favourite fields, such as astrophysics and math.  His parents have always tried to keep his whole person in view, making sure that he has time to enjoy goofing around with his brothers, watching the stars at night or going fishing, but they also found ways to nurture his incredible interest and talent for science and math. They came to realize that he had to have access to people who shared his passion and knowledge for physics, and that regular school wasn't where he would find that so they  connected him with professors at Indiana U.
 I guess what I find so engaging about this book is the parents, especially the mom's , understanding that everyone is unique.  She runs a daycare and her ability to reach children by validating their interests and personality is remarkable.  Her philosophy is to encourage the children in the areas that they love and that other, weaker skills will often get stronger coincidentally along with the flourishing of their passions. We live in a society that seems to want to stuff everyone into a box, that discourages originality and feels very uncomfortable with people who don't fit in to a neat stereotype.
At school, it's "don't be too slow, but also don't be too smart",  "don't be too noisy, or rambunctious, or enthusiastic, or creative", "don't be too quiet, or shy, or introverted" , "stay with the class, don't work ahead, don't fall behind".  So much of the media is all about looking right , all about being popular, all about having the right stuff,  having lots of Facebook friends.  What about curiosity, and kindness and enjoying other people for who they are?  How draining it is to have to pretend to be someone you aren't.
The book is just recently published so it is readily available and libraries will hopefully be picking it up soon.  I really think it is a most refreshing, inspiring book.

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