What the autistic person needs

We do not merely want a diagnosis. We want a whole sense of who we really are. It should not be just by our disability or what we cannot do. It should be about us, not just the gifts we can contribute to other people, but also how we relate with our family, our community, and our world.

In the field of Traditional Chinese Medicine, although we categorise autism as ‘five delays’ and see it as the lack of ‘pi’ (digestive and absorption system) function, there are so many approaches to achieve effective, holistic goal of better health. We often have acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutrition, and especially qigong and meditation. There is no single magic bullet for autism. Rather, like life in a western society as a whole, Traditional Chinese Medicine talks about wholeness and holistic approaches to things. Autism is certainly not something you will get rid of when you do detoxification on yourself.

I dislike meditation personally. I find that I have too many things that float around, and there is little support I get in my mainly western influenced society that keeps me from what my parents do. My parents certainly grew up in a different era where their societies are much more inclined towards China and Asian-centric thought and practice. It does not help that as a recent convert to Christianity, I face many forces against meditation, though mindfulness is well encouraged.

It certainly works if I fix my eyes on scripture and am attentive to the Lord. I am taught to attach myself to the Lord and not detach from the world. It works better because I had this experience before I faced Christianity, I tried to meditate and remove ideas and things, all I see is fiery balls of flame and random thoughts that seem to make no sense. I felt even more lost and angry than ever as I never gained mindfulness.

Therefore I think the autistic person needs not just treatment. We need a much holistic approach than recognising and working on our deficits, or even scant recognition of what we can do. We are who we are. We want – maybe more of a need – guidance, perhaps much more than others, and a proper direction, to lead us to where we need to go. To get to our destination, we have to be first human. We have to meet our human needs of being fed, being clothed and being safe etc. and, to move even further, be valued and feel worthy. Also, it will be good to align the ‘stars’: we should make sure, whenever possible, our self, family, society and world are all supportive of our efforts. If anything does not work, we should see what is the needle that we can move first, and it should best be the self (no matter what our society is, collectivist or individualistic, we can somehow work it out) that changes. Find our selves, and get along with it.

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