A ten year old kid with Aspergers syndrome, has written a moving poem about his daily struggles.
This is a line from a poem by 10 year old Benjamin Giroux. There is something very beautiful about this poem, not because of the loneliness he shares, but because of the sheer beauty that he seems to witness – he touches the stars, he hears voices in the air, he is ‘new’.
He is lonely because he can’t share this, because nobody can see what he sees or hear what he hears.
We often think of Autism and Asperger’s as something to wish away, and we spend our clinical time ‘training’ it away with behavioural techniques to make things normal.
But maybe, just maybe, we have got the wrong idea.
Maybe instead of being lesser, people with autism and Aspergers are more? Maybe they know something we don’t; maybe they have something to teach us?
Leo Kanner wrote about this in the 1940’s and so did Hans Asberger. Both of them described ‘special abilities’ as the primary indicator of autism.
Yet we only define autism only in terms of deficit.
We can look at this poem and feel sorry for Benjamin, or we can look at it as an opportunity to begin to see something that we haven’t seen before. Who knows, maybe he can touch the stars and maybe he can teach us how. Benjamin doesn’t sound like he wants to be ‘normalized’, he sounds like he wants to be seen for who he is, right now.