The Star Wars Connection to ASD: Episode II
This is "The Star Wars Connection to ASD: Episode II," a continuation of last week's blog using quotes from Star Wars fame and connecting them to ASD. I see these quotes through the eyes of an SLP who has worked with hundreds of children and adults with ASD. Also, through the heart of a parent who has journeyed down the road of ASD. I have listened to stories of joy and sagas of grief. In all of my years in the world of ASD, it is not about what I have taught others - it is about what they have taught me.
For the first five quotes, see last week's blog, "The Star Wars Connection to ASD: Episode I." Now, here we go with Nos. 6 through 11.
Quote #6: "A Jedi gains power through understanding..." - Palpatine, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
We all gain power through understanding. I attended a two-day, "All Ages & Abilities" Autism/Asperger's Conference at the University in Irvine, CA, last February. I presented a conference in Princeton West, KY, last October. I'm in the process of writing two new books on autism for a mainstream publisher. I never stop learning or trying to understand autism nor should any SLP. All of my friends in the world of autism have taught me so much. Knowledge is power - the Jedi know that.
Quote #7: "There's no mystical energy field that controls my destiny." - Han Solo, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
If it isn't Harrison Ford again, love him. He's right, the origin of autism is a mystery, and there is no cure at this time. ASD can't control us. We can change it and change the destiny for the child and his/her family. As SLPs we say that dysfluency can't control the speaker. Let's start saying that same thing about ASD. It's NOT in control. We're great professionals with knowledge and courage, and we can control ASD. It's not a mystical energy field controlling our destiny. It is sound therapy practices and common sense.
Quote #8: "The fear of loss is a path to the Dark Side." - Yoda, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
This quote by Yoda is more for parents. Some of us, however, are parents of children with ASD as well as SLPs. (How many of you SLPs have a child with ASD? Let me hear from you.) When you hear the word "autism" attached to your child's name, first you cry. You cry a lot before you realize that you are your child's voice, future, and life. Then you do what you have to do to move forward in every aspect. That isn't easy or cheap or without consequences. For our family, we surrounded ourselves with good people, knowledge, and faith. Only then, did we begin our march to the Bright Side.
Quote #9: "Your eyes can deceive you; don't trust them." - Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
David Copperfield is full of tricks just like some people/programs who proclaim cures for ASD. Oh, how I wish. All I have to say here is be cautious. Take the best of the best and use your common sense. Remember that if some strategy does not fit into the family routine/setting, it will have little carryover. That is why teaming across environments is important at any age.
Quote #10: "Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you?" - Yoda, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Another one of my Ten Laws of Success for Children with Autism is "Small Steps Grow into Giant Leaps." Oh, SLPs the little things you do - loves you give, turns you take, high-fives you hit, and bubbles you blow all count. These are the little steps in life that mean so much to children - not because they have ASD - but because they are kids. (When I completed a speech session the other day with a five-year-old with ASD I said my usual good-bye to him. Kenny's response melted my heart as he hugged my waist and said, "Good-bye, sweetheart.")
Quote #11: "Who's the more foolish: the fool, or the fool who follows him?" - Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Why this quote? Just because I like it and Obi-Wan Kenobi is so smart.
"Speech pathologists make good things happen."