I once heard of a child psychiatrist who started his practice with four theories and no children. Ten years later, he had four children and no theories. I have four children and only one theory – Everyone is different.
It is no secret that my passion for writing the Wil Clarey series comes out of my love for my son Nathan. He is on the Autism Spectrum or what I prefer to call HFA (High Functioning Autistic). You will not find the term ASD or Autism Spectrum Disorder in my books. I honestly despise the term. His condition brings him some difficulties, but also brings special abilities. As a parent, my hopes for him are the same as each of my other kids.
I tell people that Momma always told me, “Remember that you are a totally unique individual different from anyone else on earth – just like everyone else.” Okay, she didn’t really say that, but she taught me that principal. I see it at work in my kids. Felicia is mature beyond her years and passionate about what she values; Hannah, a true, caring, loving, and faithful friend who is afraid to meet new people; Nathan, brilliant and logical but unable to relate to other people; and Grace, full of life and mischief and heir to my sarcasm. They are four completely unique people each of whom I love beyond what words can express.
Like each of my kids, every person I have ever met has had their unique qualities, both good and bad. I hate to stuff anyone in a box and label it “normal.” We are each unique. We each have our strengths and each harbor our mental abnormalities. I say, celebrate that uniqueness. Yes, we should each strive to improve ourselves, but I don’t think that means striving to be normal.
This concept is not new. The Apostle Paul wrote of it in his first letter to the Corinthian church. In chapter twelve he writes of the body of Christ having many different parts working together as a whole. “The eye can never say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you.’ The head can’t say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you.’” (verse 21, NLT)
Maybe my son has ASU – Autism Spectrum Uniqueness. I am confident that he, like many before, will find his unique spot in this world. We will try to help him and his siblings hone their strengths and bring those to a world that needs them. What would it be like if we each strengthened our unique abilities and brought them together into an amazing diverse community? Let’s try it!