Our daughter, Nikki, was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome just over two years ago. I shot this sequence five years ago during a visit to an abandoned Japanese schoolhouse with my wife, Jem, and our two daughters.
After her autism diagnosis, I sat at the kitchen table in silence with Jem and thought about what it meant. She was born that way and it was incurable. If it is incurable, then that means it is a facet of her being and not a disease or illness. It is her perception of the world and not something to be cured, but something to be understood. She is someone yearning to be understood.
During this time and for several long years, she endured bullying of which I did not take notice. I didn't notice her withdrawal nor her painful feelings. I didn't notice the beating drums, the growling cellos, nor the screeching violins' crescendo until it was the only thing I could hear. It was our wake-up call.
We eventually pulled her out of public school and reassessed her education. She is such an amazingly smart young woman and is now teaching herself linguistics and learning multiple languages from all over the world and throughout history. It is exactly what she is excited about and is what she talks about at the dinner table. We love that she loves it.
Ever since we found out what she wanted to learn and allowed her to choose the best method in which she learned it, the curtain was yanked open and she jumped right back into all of the difficult subjects that caused her so much anguish before.
The wisdom already present in our children is being silenced when we don't understand their perception of the world and allow knowledge to be received how it is best received. It is specific to each one. Listen to your children and get a better understanding of how they sense the world and it will make a lasting difference in their lives and yours.
Update: This was written in 2017. Nikki is now enrolled in college and meeting a bunch of other young adults just like her.
Thanks for reading. Peace.