Reflections on a year of learning

Last week marked one year since my first post to this blog, and according to the Blogger Dashboard, I’ve also passed the 100th published post mark (with quite a few languishing in draft-hood). I don’t usually mark these kinds of milestones, but with Autism Awareness Month (April) coming soon, it seemed an appropriate time to reflect.

Writing this blog has helped me to sort through some of my thoughts about the different aspects of understanding autism. Over time, some of my opinions and beliefs have been strengthened, and some have changed. This would not have been possible without my interaction with other autism bloggers. I’ve seen quite a bit of growth in the number of autism related blogs over the past year. Maybe they’ve always been there, and it was my better understanding of the many aspects of autism that allowed me to find and identify them.

My blog reading list now includes everything from the extremes (in the analytical, not pejorative, sense) of vaccine-caused autism and neurodiversity to personal stories of parents of autistics and autistics themselves. These stories range from those of parents of newly diagnosed children to autistic adults trying to share with the world what autism is really like (not that a non-autistic will ever be able to truly understand).

Going back through my early posts, one that stood out was Thoughts on curing autism, in which I posed the following question:

We can give your child a shot now, and when he wakes up tomorrow he will no longer be autistic. Would you like us to give him the shot?

I started this blog as a way to “think” about autism, and I think this simple to state, difficult to answer question really focuses the issue. It requires serious thought on the causes of autism, the nature of autism, and what it means to be autistic. It also cuts to the heart of what it means to be a parent. How much of what you do are you doing for your child, and how much are you doing for yourself?

How would you answer this question, if your doctor presented it to you?

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