There are reasons we cannot know about why we are born where we are or why I am with you here. Until coming to Brownsburg, I have been in the twin prisons of autism and isolation from participation. Now at least one of those prisons is gone most of the time. I am aware of unseen potential for action toward a better future and the power of commitment to change the future. My passion is to act on this potential and make our world a better place for all.
There is terrible discrimination against innocent and defenseless persons with autism whose only crime is to not be functional the way others are. We are kept locked in the prison of our autism for years, sometimes our whole lives, while methodologies that could help us participate with others in life go untried. Many of us are never given the opportunity to participate or realize any real personal potential. This goes on across the country and, awfully, around the world as I learned this past summer. I have been in both of these prisons of autism and isolation. I know both the costs and the potential we can realize. I know that everyone has a voice. I am thankful for the opportunity to participate and grow my personal potential with you. We people of good will can eliminate this discrimination, and that is the commitment of my life.
Changing the world begins with recognizing what is real and what is not. Others don’t know that what you see or hear isn’t what’s really there. They think reality is the known universe. That misses a world of human endeavor that is gigantic and more powerful- the unseen thoughts, emotions, and motivation of each person each day. It also misses that the future exists now, in a very real way, in my commitment. In the present dimension of my future, the world is a different place because autistic people who are trapped will have a voice and education and resulting lives of fullness and participation in family and community. I can move this world to a greater reality by educating- by speaking, writing, and thinking- in ways that express people’s possibilities. I plan to advocate from the perspective of an autistic person who could overcome his challenges, including the inability to speak. I want to help others to think more clearly about intelligence, communication, and autism.
The rewards of my passions and future far outweigh the costs and are what I am born to do in this time and place. Today, the ability to share ideas, organize and collaborate is unprecedented. I believe that this is meant to be. From the beginning, I knew what was happening around me all the time. Others, like me, will be able to reason and, with voice and perspective, can participate uniquely. There will be more humanity in the world by our work. My future holds more joy, understanding and happiness. Teachers will understand their kids with challenges better. All will be better for the experience.
There is little difference between myself now, who I was before my communication ability was discovered, and who I will be. My mission was written with my autism. The difference is in my ability to participate. Thank you for letting me grow with you. Through my commitment, passion and skill, I will make change the world. Thank you for celebrating the future for those with autism now. By your help, it is brighter for all of us.
Copyright 2012 John Smyth
January 8, 2012