Having an autistic child is not the end of the world--far from it. It is my hope that through this blog, at least a handful of people will get to understand that. My child is amazing, she brings us tremendous joy. We have good days & bad days, but we CHOOSE to focus on the good. Our belief is that by loving our daughter, giving her the most comfortable environment we can, and by most of all accepting her differences, she will continue to blossom--in her OWN way.

4/10/08

Moved & Inspired

PhotobucketI watched the ABC special last night on Randy Pausch, a truly amazing human being. I typically don't watch these types of programs, but this one sparked my interest. I am so glad I watched it. To be honest, I don't think I've ever been so inspired by someone on television. I've spoken before on how the different challenges my daughter has faced, has given me tremendous perspective on our daily life, and on autism. Dr. Pausch has a perspective and a view on life, that is very rare (although, he says he's "not unique"). I was so moved by this program, by his lecture, and on this family's life.

I think for anyone dealing with any challenges in life (and that would be the majority of people in this world, I suspect), this is crucial to read or see. A lecture like this, these words of wisdom, really challenges you to look at your life in ways you may not have before. I know that raising an autistic child or a child with disabilities, is not easy. There are sleepless nights, doctors' and therapy appointments, meltdowns, etc. When you hear a man who is dying of pancreatic cancer, telling you he is happy and to not pity him, it really makes you think. I speak of "choosing" to focus on the positive, with my daughter and autism. For Dr. Pausch, that would translate into my being a Tigger versus an Eeyore. I love that!

For more information on pancreatic cancer, please visit the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research. They are giving away 5,000 copies of "The Last Lecture" from 4/9 - 4/11 (as supplies last).

Here is the "Last Lecture," if you missed it:



We've been painting our home the last couple of weeks. After our master bedroom, it's time for the girls' rooms to be painted. We have been talking to them about choosing a color (for the older, it's between a light blue or lavender, for the youngest, it's yellow or red). I had planned on painting a mural or some fun designs on the wall. But, after being so moved last night, I think we will let the girls paint the pictures on their walls, if they want. I promise, Dr. Pausch (and I will post pictures here when they're done).

"If you lead your life the right way, the Karma will take care of itself, the dreams will come to you. And anybody who is out there who's a parent - if your kids want to paint the bedroom - as a favor to me, let them do it. It will be OK. Don't worry about the resale value of the house."


Thank you, to Dr. Pausch and his beautiful family for sharing their life, their story, and his lecture with the world.

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7 comments:

abfh said...

I wrote a post in 2006 about prejudice in higher education, in which I bashed, among others, Dr. Pausch for making a bigoted statement about an autistic student.

The Depths of Higher Education

In hindsight, I think I was being somewhat unfair because journalists often take quotes out of context, and it's possible that Dr. Pausch might have meant his comment in a different way than it appeared at first glance.

S.L. said...

I just read your entry. I think, and I could be wrong, but I think Dr. Pausch might have meant that saying "I have aspergers" or "I have ___" fill-in-the-blanks, being open and honest, and explaining whatever "it" is to others, takes away stigma. If you say this is me, this is why I may do this or seem like this, etc., than people can understand. At least, that's how I took it. The girl could have been the one herself who felt her differences were "very embarrassing," who knows.

Part of what my husband and I have tried to always do, is to be open and honest about our daughter's autism (& her health issues, etc.). We feel the best way to fight stereotypes and stigmas, is to let people hear our perspective and hear us say "autism" very matter of factly. It's not something we avoid, or something we whisper. We don't fly a banner, either, but you know...it's not some big secret we are ashamed of.

I remember my grandparents referring to someone in the family as having "the big C" in a disapproving whisper. Back in their day, cancer was not understood and was something people didn't want to discuss.

When I was a teen and suffered depression and other mental health issues, that too was a very taboo topic. No one in my family knew how to approach me, how to discuss it, etc. Their awkwardness made the whole situation worse for me, I felt like such a freak.

It's interesting, to this day, here I am an adult, married with two kids, and by all accounts healthy & successful, and when I tell people of my time in a hospital and all the mental health problems I faced, they get uncomfortable. So even as a quote "normal" individual talking about my past and being in a mental hospital, people cringe. It's something we're not supposed to discuss, and it's something many families don't ever want to admit to. Me, I'm open and honest, I'm trying to tear down those walls--for mental health, for autism, for disabilities. So, that's my take on, possibly, what Dr. Pausch meant.

abfh said...

Yes, it's possible that the student might have told Dr. Pausch that she felt very embarrassed and that he was repeating the conversation in the interview, rather than giving his own opinion about her differences.

I'm trying to be less judgmental in my posts. This year, it seems that more people are making an effort to understand autistic differences instead of just spouting the "combat them, wipe them off the planet" stuff that was so common two years ago. Even some Autism Speaks supporters and organizers have linked to my blog and other neurodiversity blogs recently.

Marla said...

I missed the show. I am glad you found it inspiring. It is always wonderful to be inspired.

Estee Klar-Wolfond said...

I missed it too. I didn't read this post until after the fact I had also posted the lecture on my blog.

Anyway, I was inspired.

S.L. said...

abfh:
Glad to hear that about Autism Speaks--I HOPE it is one move in the right direction. I applaud you for being less judgmental--something I shall try and work on. :) My emotions get the best of me at times. I hope to see those trends (of acceptance etc.) continue and gain momentum this year.

marla:
Thanks. I think we can all always use inspiration, and that's why I wrote about it.

estee:
Just read your entry on this, and also visited Adam's blog. So cool! :)

Bonnie D. said...

I can totally relate, and one big thing I got out of that show was from his wife, whose therapist told her that her mantra when she had sad thoughts is "Not helpful"! I have been using this myself with my son with Autism, and I find it quite helpful!