All Good Things

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Life is like a fairy tale. It needs a happy ending to be a good one.

Each of us has our own dragon to slay, a villain to defeat, or some treacherous expanse to cross. A happy resolution comes to the hero who conquers the opposition.

What if the opposition comes not as an external force? What do we do when the conflict we face is of our own creation? How do you fight the enemy within?

Autism creates a challenge for those living with it. Its very definition describes an inability to function, focus, or communicate effectively. Simply living becomes a struggle. However, something is only a struggle if a chance for victory exists.

No all-encompassing treatment can be prescribed for each person with a developmental disorder. Doctors can’t even determine the cause for it. No one has a clear answer for why some people are born to be hyper, dyslexic, or autistic. The mind may have the final say on how we think, but what if you disagree with your brain?

Can autism be overcome? It’s not a dragon to be slain for this foe cannot be vanquished. It is a trial. All great heroes face one.

What kind of trial is it? Hercules performed twelve arduous labors to achieve peace of mind. However, finishing his tasks meant he was done. Autism doesn’t go away. The brain cannot simply rewire itself into the “correct” settings. Perhaps it is more like Sisyphus who was given the everlasting task of pushing a boulder up a hill. It never ends. This isn’t much better since it offers little hope for a resolution.

The hope is not to eliminate autism. Instead, one must become its conqueror. Happiness is not in the removal of conflict but in the strength gained by facing it. The key word is self-improvement. It’s the only treatment for autism that matters.

I offer three I’s of improvement: intelligence, interest, and identity.

1. Intelligence

Knowledge is power. It puts a person in a position to make his or her own choices. It is advisable to gain as much knowledge as possible. However, high intelligence does not refer to the amount of knowledge one possesses. Rather, it is an ability to comprehend things on a deep level. What good is information if you cannot understand its meaning?

Those with autism may struggle to learn certain concepts. They may have all the information, but at the same time they may fail to see how the different points of data relate to one another. Learning is hampered when one cannot simplify all the details and make connections between them.

On the bright side, learning never ceases. Who’s to say those with autism have a limit to what they can learn? If learning continues, then more power is given to an individual to make a positive change in his or her life. People with autism can learn to understand their own situation and make an intelligent decision on how to improve it.

2. Interest

Life was meant to be enjoyed. Those diagnosed with Asperger’s are often described as having a limited set of interests. It’s hard to enjoy life when you only experience a small percentage of it.

Variety is the spice of life. How much fun can a story be if there aren’t a few twists in it? Numerous wholesome activities need to be sought and seized to achieve that needed sense of fulfillment. More importantly, they need to be shared.

Social interaction provides a unique experience. It’s unpredictable and requires a lot of time and effort. This is just what those with autism need. Life isn’t about finding a single niche that works and remaining loyal to that same pattern till the day you die. Life is made rich by taking what it throws at you and making it work for your good. We are surrounded by billions of unique individuals for a reason. We need them to spice our lives up. Everyone needs supporting characters in their story.

3. Identity

Do you like yourself? Improvement won’t take place if you’re not a fan of your own story. You need to root for yourself. Don’t you want the main character in your story to receive a happy ending?

We choose who we are. How we are born doesn’t determine if we are the hero or the villain. Success is a choice we make. And change needs to be our own choice or it has no meaning.

A hero must have faith in his cause. That faith gives him the strength to face all challenges in the hope of one day attaining victory. He believes in the path he treads. He believes in himself.

A happy ending is our right and responsibility to pursue. No opposition is strong enough to deny us our right. The effects of autism may be a difficult trial to overcome, but it is not the final word of the story. The tale should end like all good stories; riding off into the sunset. Moving forward.

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