To say that I was unacquainted with the vocabulary, issues and concerns surrounding of the disabled community is a vast understatement. When I was in college, I took a class called "Into to Special Education." When we got back to our room after class, I took the book and threw it across my bed where it took a bounce, hit the floor, and skidded under my roommate’s bed. A friend said, “You’re gonna need that to study.” I quipped, “This class is a waste. I’m not going to teach kids like that.”
You see, “kids like that” would require too much of me. In all honesty, anyone “like that” was anyone different from me. Because I was “normal”, right? And putting myself through the paces to understand anyone “other” than me was just too much.
Fast forward twenty years, and I’ve written a 100+ page thesis on “Persons with Disabilities as the Imago Dei” (most of it anyway). I write articles and curriculum adaptations for children with special needs. I speak at national conferences about welcoming the “other” into our churches and schools. I am a full-time advocate for disabled children and adults.
How did this happen?
Noah gave this to me. Autism gave this to me. Without our struggles, I would never have come to a place where I could confront my own weaknesses through welcoming someone “other” than me. My entire worldview is different than it once was. And I am a better human being for it.
Autism has made me a better human being.