Teaching about autism and intelligence, the cost of nonparticipation by so many, and the opportunities for us as a society is the focus of my life. Recently, I was rescued from the isolation of autism and noncommunication. Until I could communicate, I was regarded as stupid. Reports from testing were that I had low intelligence. Yet I have always had the same high intelligence. The ignorance was on the part of the testers. These same people were ignorant about how to reach me, but that did not make me any less intelligent. Being sorry for the loss of so many years of potential does not make up for the cost to me or my family. Making it right by reaching others who need not be isolated as I was would be the appropriate way to correct and try to move forward.
The purpose of my life is defined by my autism. That is what is misunderstood by so many who think we are somewhat less intelligent than anyone else. The truth is that our intelligence is different from others, and sometimes higher. This is so poorly understood that it costs me and everyone like me and our society the benefits of our potential and the opportunity to participate fully. We have no voice even in our families because of the ignorance and misunderstanding of those who would measure and grade us.
Thanks to some more enlightened and open people, I have been freed from the prison of autism to participate more fully after 16 years of loneliness. Yet so many more remain in this prison. The purpose of my life is to raise these issues, to grow in my capability as a person who knows the challenges and potential, and to change the savage way we currently address persons trapped in their bodies to a more humane and inclusive model. Taking direction from how the blind and lame are addressed is my likely path, as no one currently regards them as incompetent, though they could not complete standardized tests without accomodation. How we have come to where we are is through ignorance, and education is the solution. This makes me a teacher using technology and organization to change the status quo. I believe the internet and discussions with people throughout the disability community will show the path to success, though hard work and tough diligence will also be important.
In conclusion, what can change the world begins with a dream to help others avoid the painful loneliness I had to experience. I think this is the most important opportunity before me and those who help me. Together, we can do God’s work and free the captives from societal wasting- a story that can be truly inspiring.
Copyright 2012 John Smyth