My new friend from Brazil made me think about the impact an Autism Shift can have on others. Her name is Fernanda and she writes a blog for siblings of individuals with autism, and volunteers at a non-profit organization called the Institute of Autism & Life in Brazil. She is also working to someday establish a residential service for adults with autism in her hometown of Porto Alegre, something she said is missing in her community.
Wow, right! And why is Fernanda dedicating her life to these worthy causes? Because she has a brother with autism, whom she loves very much, who has caused her own Autism Shift, pushing her to create a better life for him and other individuals on the spectrum.
I asked her to tell me when she thought she had her Autism Shift and she said, "I believe I haven't got it from an unique event, but from my daily life with Mateus since we were kids. I mean, I've always seen Mateus as my brother, before seeing him as a special kid, and I believe that this changed my perspective about Autism. This is what I try to show people through my blog, helping people to see the person (who is autistic) beyond the diagnosis."
She went on to tell me that she knows her brother Mateus "has much potential and we just need to find a proper way for him to let it out." And no doubt Fernanda will help Mateus reach his full potential, and her example will lead others to do the same. And because of this one woman, a whole community in Brazil could become more accepting and caring of the individuals with autism around them.
Can you see how one persons Autism Shift can ripple into something very powerful when it is put into action? When we truly change the way we see individuals with autism and believe in their capabilities it can benefit more than just ourselves.
Thank you to Fernanda for letting me share her and Mateus's story and for inspiring me and others to do all we can to help create a better world for the people with autism that we love.