Friday, September 16, 2011

The Thirst

I've been on this job/mission for 18 months now and it still hasn't gotten old. Every other job I had got stagnant after three months, but there's something I experience at every presentation I give that fuels my passions and that passion is "THE THIRST."

What is this thirst? The thirst is something that, if you're reading this, you have; it is the thirst for knowledge and understanding.

The thirst is important! To have the thirst is to acknowledge that, sadly, you do not know it all. This, however, is true for everyone, but for those on the spectrum it is dangerous for us to come across someone who thinks they know it all but in fact they know nothing. Myself? Do I know it all? If I did I would have already written everything and be retired, but every day is new and is a learning experience.

The thirst is important to have because when one doesn't have it, well, after I originally got my diagnosis I had no desire to learn more about my diagnosis. I had no thirst for knowledge because I accepted the idiotic fact that I would never be able to do anything. I closed my ears and eyes to any spoken words, or books about the autism spectrum. I felt hopeless.  I was in a bad place and since then I have learned that if there is no thirst there is no hope.

What I love seeing at my presentations is the tenacity of some parents. To them autism isn't a curse but it is a beautiful mystery and they want to do all they can to help unravel the mystery. How awesome is that?

With each day that passes I realize my mission is even more important. Autism understanding and awareness isn't something that has a season or comes and goes. The need is constant and ever growing. The rates are going up and new families everyday get the news that their child is on the spectrum. With that being so, the mission is one that continues on because for those new families it is critical that they don't give up; there is hope! But hope is something that can only take place if one is willing and has "THE THIRST."

I'd like to think that at least once a week I have a "home run" post that opens eyes just a little bit more and keeps "THE THIRST" alive. Typically, the word thirst is used in a negative way, such as being thirsty and dehydrated, but for those of you who read my blog everyday, and for those of you always looking for ways to better understand anyone and everyone on the spectrum, I truly want to commend you! It is you who keep my mission a realistic goal.

Without a doubt I believe that, "understanding is the foundation for hope" and it gives me so much pride to be asked questions at presentations that challenge my mind. These parents want to know more and want to do the right thing. I fear, though, that there are those out there who have given up, they see no hope. It is to this audience that I want to speak the most. I was there. I lived through it. I know the emptiness and pain of that place. But it doesn't need to stay that way.

If anything, this post is a thank you to all the people in the profession, those on the spectrum, and family members who read this blog, or any other blog for that matter, because the desire to learn more is the essence of becoming a better person and being able to better understand those on the spectrum. To drink of knowledge, to quench "THE THIRST," to face the challenge is where real hope can be achieved.


  1. Thank you so very much for a wonderful presentation last night. It was so enlightening and inspiring. My daughter is 14 and was diagnosed with Asperger's in 2006. We have never seen the diagnosis in a negative way... it was more like a validation. While she may have some issues that trouble her, she is such an amazing young lady. Last night's presentation helped me to understand her even better. Thank you again!

  2. Your blog and writing help others to see autism in a light that is not dark and in a place that is not hopeless. I write from the perspective of my son's mother. Your perspective is such a gift to me. You help me to understand my little child better and I am forever grateful for that!

  3. I too have been in that bad place you talk about. I have cried many tears with the pain of what my child went through. Lack of information and understanding did not produce the best mom of the year. However, my son, you, Aaron are a true gift from God to me and always have been. If I would have known things you teach us now, when you were younger, we both may have not had so many bad places. I do remember a laughing smiling little boy too. You were and are a joy. You are not only my gift, but a gift to all those you reach. If I only had known one of the things you teach us about, it would have helped so much. Keep going with your message and be who you are. I love you, Your Mum :-) I am so proud of who you have become.

  4. I have a brilliant, sweet, 9 year old son who was recently diagnosed with Aspergers. Reading your blog has helped me understand his way of processing things. The more I learn, the more hopeful I am. Thanks so much for sharing!

  5. I have never been to that bad place after hearing I got Asperger's. I actually asked for the diagnosis myself. I already knew there was something up and stuff was already falling apart because I wasn't getting the help I needed, so it was more a blessing that I finally knew. Now I can explain what I have, so I can get the right help.
    This is how more people should see a diagnosis like that of the Autism spectrum. It's something in the brain, which is there since birth. This means your child, or you, has/have had Autism all their/your life. Nothing changed since the diagnosis, so if you believed in your child/yourself before, why suddenly loose that believe after the diagnosis?
    Getting chronic fatigued did get me bummed out, but that was something that happened. That drastically changed my life for the worse.
    But Autism has been there all your life. Only getting depressed after the diagnosis, is like getting depressed the sun is burning. Nothing changed, you're still the same person.
    I'm not trying to say it's stupid to feel sad after getting the diagnosis. I understand the feeling. I'm just trying to cheer everyone up who's in that place now, by showing the bright side.
    The only thing that changed is that you now know what is up and can work with it. The problems didn't get worse. The available help got multiplied. See? A lot of good is there in a diagnosis.
    Don't let a diagnosis identify you. Let it help you.

    While we're on the topic:
    One day I met someone who asked why I was in government profit. I stated I have Asperger's and am chronicly fatigued. The person said she didn't know what Asperger's is. I started trying to explain when that person said "Don't tell me! I don't want to get to know your diagnosis, I want to get to know you!"
    I didn't know what to do with that comment. I get the idea behind this. It's maybe the ultimate way not to have it identify me. But I got the diagnosis, because there was trouble coming from my Asperger's which could've been avoided if we only knew what I had, so I could get the right guidance. Like, if I suddenly snap at a friend, for example, you have to know my mind is probably running overtime with everything coming at me at once, instead of me wanting to end the friendship. People who know this can get me to calm down and the friendship is saved.
    This is just an example of the many crisisses that can be avoided by knowing. If that person doesn't know, how is that better? We'd have to go through many crisisses before she finally figures all the things out and still she might not understand it. Maybe the friendship is over, before she even got to understand, because she wasn't prepared.
    Wasn't my diagnosis to help both others and me understand? Is ignoring the diagnosis a way to help?
    I personally don't think so. I'm not my diagnosis, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I got difficulties which are difficult to understand if you're not an aspie yourself and don't know I am.
    Misunderstanding leads to mistreatment.

    What do others think? Is ignoring a diagnosis the same as not letting it identify you?

  6. There is no diagnosis here (and probably won't be, any time soon) but as soon as I acidentally stumbled onto the signs of Aspergers, I KNEW. She was only about 7 or 8, and it could have made the younger school years a whole lot easier if anyone had listened to me! Now at 17 she has a bunch of good friends, who mostly get her, and if anyone tells her she's weird she tells them she's awesome! I found her talking to an old lady at the park, the other week...teaching the lady about Aspergers. It's never been doom and gloom here.