Heather Lanier tells a very compelling story about her daughter, to show us how our notions of what is "good", and what is "bad" are very misleading, and often limit us. When we apply those stories to others, it makes it difficult to actually see them clearly, which then limits them, as well. When we think about children and adults who experience any kind of "disability", including autism, as "unable" or "incapable" or "disabled", we limit our ability to think about them with an open mind and an open heart. I can clearly remember what I was told by the teacher in a speech class I was put into because of my lisp, stutter, and lack of verbal skills. She was frustrated with me and the fact that I constantly rocked in my chair. What I took from this was that she thought I was bad, and unwilling to participate in the lesson. She said, "It is clear you will never amount to much". For most of my young life, I believed her. It wasn't until I was able to create a different story about myself that I began to succeed, and eventually to excel. However this required that I give up being "normal", and instead embrace my differences as gifts I could use to pursue the paths I was most interested in.
The nonprofit I founded grants iPads and computers to children who are not verbal, opening up the world to them and their families. The more we move from thinking there is only one way to be, the more we open ourselves to the vast array of ways people think and explore and add to this beautiful world in which we all live.