How to be yourself - something everyone struggles with, right?
How to be authentically yourself - something everyone struggles with, right? Not really - I watch my son, who has autism, face the world unapologetically as himself.
I’ve watched Matt walk into a formal dance dressed as if he’s going to a luau because I mixed up his events. He was given the option to leave and go home - he chose to walk in, head held high and he had an incredible evening!
I’ve watched him walk into a new job at McDonald's that he applied for himself and watched him go through the training without a job coach. It was really hard for him but he worked with very kind people who helped him and he did a great job.
Every week I watch him go to our local volunteer fire department to spend his time learning and being part of a community.
It’s not that Matt doesn’t understand that he’s not like the majority of people around him - he does. It’s that he doesn’t really seem to care all that much. He is my inspiration and whenever I’m faced with a hard situation, I think about how Matt would handle it and I just do it.
I write this because there are so many narratives about adults with intellectual disabilities (autism, down’s syndrome, etc.) being painted as victims. I don’t care for that narrative any longer. It doesn’t serve Matthew or his friends as they struggle to be independent people. And it’s not only the outside world that has difficulty seeing our children as capable - it’s family members too. We need to change that narrative for everyone’s sake.
That’s one of my goals for NDL - to not only create housing for neurodiverse adults but to change the way the world views our people and to create jobs and independence and community for us all.
I hope you join us as we move forward in this endeavor - I know Matthew will be here - fighting to live his best possible life. Comment below and let us know what you hope for NDL!