Posted by: myautisticmuslimchild | September 10, 2010

Welcome to Normal, Population 0

I found this brilliant post by Caitlin Wray. With the permission of Caitlin and Mark I am sharing it with you all .

Her post is very powerful and to the point.  Parents like me and you are simply overwhelmed with the  responsibilities we have with our special needs children, along with all the obstacles that we have to encounter to make our kid’s lives more fulfilled, to get all their services, so they may reach their full potential and beyond. We have to protect them from the cruelty, ignorance, and the abuse of others. In this process we develop a heightened expectation toward our children, and a misconception about what it means to be “normal”.

What is normal? It is defined as conforming with, adhering to, or constituting a norm, standard, pattern, level, or type.

So, who sets the standard?  Us; people like you and me. What is normal to me here in America may not be normal to a person in Africa, or Australia, or to even my next-door neighbor for that matter! Then why are we pushing our children to be normal? Perhaps, we think that they might be accepted   by society, but we fail to realize that perfectly neuro-typical people can be pushed to the side by society too.

We live in the age when we put so much emphasis on looks, education, and status. If anyone is below our set “standard” we tend to disregard them. You do not have to be autistic, you might be overweight, or have a bad hair day. Yet we are often so quick to judge and fail to see the inner beauty others possess. We fail to stand up for our children while we are trying to achieve “normalcy”.

Caitlin Wray has a wonderful way to describe the “normal world” to us, and what it means for us to be different. She inspired me to look at things in a much different way, and to allow myself to relax, and stop stressing about such insignificant things so that I can spend more time enjoying my son who views and lives life in a different way. Different is not necessarily bad and sometimes it takes things like this to make us stop and think and appreciate.

Thank you Caitlin from the bottom of my heart. Those thoughts that you wrote down were lurking in my heart for many years, but I was unable to express them the way you have.  I was too busy trying to make my son “normal”, and failed to realize that he is normal within his own standard, just as we all are.

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Welcome to Normal,

by Caitlin Wray

How much of your life have you spent (wasted?) trying to be normal? I constructed my life around the mythical land of Normal, but someone has different plans for me. Last year we were told our son wasn’t ‘normal’, so now we’re packing up old prejudices, our preconceived notions and unrealistic expectations, and we’re moving out of Normal to a different… possibly better neighborhood.

You too will find yourself, no matter who you are, joining me in this place where the only true measure of normal is which kind of weird you are. This blog will explore a journey most of us will take at some point: letting go of preconceptions about ‘normal’, peeling our fingers off the image we had of what our lives ‘should’ look like, and having the courage to re-imagine the piece of time we are given in this world.

You are now leaving Normal.

“A nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there!”

To read more please click here.

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