For those of you who follow my blog, you know that one of my greatest concerns and disappointments is the level of division and acrimony that exists in the autism world. Recently Thomas Insel published an article entitled The Four Kingdoms of Autism http://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/director/2013/the-four-kingdoms-of-autism.shtml . In my opinion this is one of the best thought-out explanations of why such acrimony exists.
I have spent the last 33 years living and working in all four kingdoms. It is also safe to say that there are people in each kingdom who both hate and love me for the work I do. I do what I do for persons with autism. Period. Sometimes I get it right and change a life forever and sometimes I miss the mark and learn something new. Such is life.
Hate and division serve no positive purpose. Hate and division does not bring positive change and outcomes. Downing or working to destroy someone else’s kingdom does not produce positive change. We can all support our particular kingdom without trashing someone else’s kingdom.
So what do we all have in common? We all love someone with autism and want the very best life for that person. We all want the person with autism (or autistics, if you live in the Identity Kingdom) to have a successful, happy life. We all want life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to apply to persons with autism, and we want the supports necessary for our loved ones to gain this pursuit of happiness. And this is where the problem begins and grows. The support each person seeks greatly depends on which Kingdom in which they live.
Therefore, I propose a Fifth Kingdom of Autism. I’ll call it Support. In this kingdom all the other kingdoms are welcome. In this kingdom, the emphasis is always on the person with autism and what they need and want to have a good life. This is the kingdom of civil rights, a good individualized education, and enough money to live a good life. This is the kingdom where we work for the goals of our individual kingdoms without trashing someone else’s kingdom. This is the kingdom where the person with autism is king and we are the servants.
I do not know if autism is caused by an illness, and injury, or cognitive social differences in the brain that make persons who they are. I do know that all persons with autism deserve acceptance, love, and supports to make their lives and the lives of those around them happy, good lives. STOP FIGHTING! Join the kingdom of Support and DO SOMETHING POSITIVE without cutting someone else down!