Barney’s Harmonica revisited

I originally posted this last April, but felt it worth re-posting. Though most people involved with autism will immediately grasp the incredible insight of the poem, I encourage everyone to read the story of Barney’s harmonica that inspired the poem.

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We first came across this poem by Mayer Shevin many years ago when we were first coping with a diagnosis of autism, and found copies of it recently when were doing some spring cleaning. You can find more about it at the links above, but I’ve included it below:

We like things.
They fixate on Objects.

We try to make friends.
They display attentions seeking behavior.

We take a break.
They display off-task behaviors.

We stand up for ourselves.
They are non-compliant.

We have hobbies.
They self-stim.

We choose our friends wisely.
They display poor socialization.

We persevere.
They perseverate.

We love people.
They have dependencies on people.

We go for a walk.
They run away.

We insist.
They tantrum.

We change our minds.
They are disoriented and have short attention span.

We have talents.

We are human.
They are ?????????????????

Kind of takes me back to Luke’s question, “When is an obsession not an obsession.”
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