The Weaving Together of a Community: A linkapalooza and Kickass Kumbaya

I had planned a post called "The Great Semantic Divide" today based on an exchange going on with Doherty over at Autisable on my post which they retitledMiscommunication and the Unification of the Autism Community, but it will wait, as I have much lovelier, more positive things to discuss. It's not like the Doherties of the world are going anywhere. :-)

Yesterday, thanks to Liz Ditz who tweeted that Smockity had apologized for the bruhaha she stirred in the autism community, a new set of posts have begun by bloggers. I posted here and at RFID for the ladies of RFID, noting the apology and accepting it, hoping that we can all move forward now towards positive action.

Stork Dok wrote a lovely, moving piece acknowledging and acceptingSmockity's apology  as did Life as the Mother of Four. My friend Katie wrote adeeply compassionate piece at her blog, and in conjunction with her
original post  regarding the situation and her additional post on further notes on compassion, readers can gain the opportunity to reflect on the need to learn compassion and empathy. We so often forget that people have lots of things going on in their lives and in their heads that we can have no way of knowing. And some researchers like to say that autistics lack a theory of mind! Ummm, we all know, I am sure, far more normals who show a complete narcissism as they barrel their way through this world, exhibiting no awareness of their fellow man.

Others have followed suit, and if we are to be fair, we have an obligation to note the apology, and perhaps go even further, send an email to Smockity, as Jenny Alice did. Some have commented that perhaps there was still a ways to go, asMarcy did, and I can agree that no disgrace was brought on Christ at all (as Smockity writes); Christ had nothing to do with the post or the reactions. That was in fact part of the point.

In response to Emily's stirring post at A Life Less Ordinary, in which she asked, "People need to know what autism really is, as autistic people live it. Mom-NOS did it at the grassroots with her classroom presentation about autism and her son. We did it, to good immediate effect if not long-lasting outcomes. How do we make that happen on a broader scale, now that we've taken a small baby step with Smockity?,"  I responded: 


You raise such important points. I'm not sure how we do it all, but I know it starts with the connections we make with each other, the positive support we provide, the real world reaching out we do in our local communities and a commitment to continue to fight this battle each and everyday for our children, for ourselves, and for all those who face rejection and isolation because of their differences and disabilities. We, in short, engage in kickass kumbaya, never losing sight of the long term goals of acceptance, appreciation, and accommodation.


...

But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
--Robert Frost
We've all of us many miles to go. For many of us, our lives will be spent caring for, fighting for, advocating for our child  (or children) who will not achieve full autonomy, who will need care and assistance long past the time we put aside our burdens and move onto what we hope or believe awaits us in the next life (I know for Kathleen and I, we're hoping for lots and lots of coffee and chatting, but Thelma and Louise insist it's going to be filled with Wild Turkey, Boone's Farm, Baretta and MacGyver). This is not a journey we'll be stepping off of, and it's always a blessing and a celebration as we move along this path when we find ourselves in fine company, when we meet new friends to accompany us, support us and help us fight the necessary battles.
We need to work at deciding which battles are necessary ones and which only serve to divert our attention from the journey we are on.  And we always need to hold onto that compassion which allows us to feel for those we decide are necessary to be responded to, pushed back against, and challenged. And when we are able to reach someone, when we hear those words of apology, we must, must have the grace to accept it, to welcome it, and to welcome them.
Acceptance.
Appreciation.
Accommodation.
And a wee spot of kickass kumbaya as we go (or the mighty purse as Thelma and Louise, would have).

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