“What do you mean, different?”
I was conversing with my classmate. We were both in the third grade and I was struggling to understand her attempts to describe her older sister who attended a special school. I had met her a few times when she accompanied her mother to pick up my classmate from school. It was not until many years later, when I was an adult, did I learn from my mother that she was autistic.
Over fifty years ago, autism was not widely known, poorly understood, and rarely discussed in public. Today, tremendous progress has been made and societal inclusion and acceptance is the goal. There is still much work but understanding the complex genetic and environmental factors that lead to autism has led to excellent interventional strategies and treatments.
Most of us have met someone who has been diagnosed with the autism spectrum disorder. I have been blessed through these many relationships just as I have been blessed through all my relationships with others with special needs, including my son, who has Down syndrome. God has endowed them with a different way to view His Creation and I am thankful to continue to learn new insights and perspectives I would never have arrived on my own.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)
God does not make mistakes. Every person is a unique creation, blessed with a soul that yearns to meet their Maker. Everyone is endowed with a gift by which God can use to bless the individual and they, in turn, can bless others. Autism is one of these gifts. Since the majority of people do not have autism, God has chosen to specially bless them and others with special needs to help us to better understand ourselves and how differences can complete, not fragment, our understanding of the grace and mercy of God in this broken world.
She’s different. Yes, because she and everyone are God’s masterpiece!
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.