Monday, November 24, 2008

Cute Monster

What Your Cute Monster Says About You

You are a very natural, real person. You're comfortable with who you are - and your spirit truly shines through.

You are free of inhibitions and hang ups. Because of this freedom, you tend to be very creative.

Your inner demon is greed. You can't help but lust after wealth and shiny objects.

People think you're cute because you are so lively. Your natural glow makes you charming.

Hmm...not so sure about the "lusting after wealth" part, but I do admit I have an affinity for shiny things! lol :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Putting the Puzzle Together

The students I teach are amazing. They are mysterious, magical, heartbreaking, baffling, beautiful ... they are autistic.

From the AutismSpeaks website:

"Today, 1 in 150 individuals is diagnosed with autism, making it more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined. It occurs in all racial, ethnic, and social groups and is four times more likely to strike boys than girls. Autism impairs a person's ability to communicate and relate to others. It is also associated with rigid routines and repetitive behaviors, such as obsessively arranging objects or following very specific routines. Symptoms can range from very mild to quite severe. "

It's the "severe" ones I teach, and love. Many of them are nonverbal, about half of them display extreme behaviors such as self-injury, tantrums, and violent outbursts. I've been either hit, kicked, or bitten on an almost daily basis. Kevin asked me recently how I suppress the natural reaction to retaliate, and I could only say that I don't feel that reaction. It doesn't cross my mind to retaliate, because they aren't being malicious or is the only way they know how to express themselves until they learn differently, and it is my job to reach them and teach them.

It occurs to me that God has given me an amazing understand in some small way the love of Christ for us, through these beautiful but heartbreaking children. We often treat Him the same way: avoiding eye contact and close personal interaction; throwing tantrums; staring at our fingers flicking in front of our face, oblivious of the glories He wants to show us; engaging in self-injurious behavior and hurting those around us, kicking and hitting and biting and hammering those nails in deeper. And though we break His heart, in His eyes we are beautiful, and He loves us. He loves us. And He takes the time to reach us, and teach us.