What a catchphrase for today, and for all of us who parent adults with autism – Becoming Remarkbly Able, by Dr. Jackie Marquette. I hear her speak at an autism conference and marveled at the growth she achieved with her son Trent. Even more notable is that Trent’s autism in many ways is the classic kind. No offense intended to anyone, but with higher functioning autistic individuals who can speak, write, drive cars and attend college – it’s easy to profile their achievements, because they are much like our own. Less common is the celebration of the more challenged. Trent, from Jackie’s accounts, has needs which she characterizes as “significant.” Yet at the time I attended the conference, Trent’s artwork business as sold on greeting cards and prints was flourishing to the point he was acheiving a little steady income stream from it enough to pay for a portion of his living needs, if I recall correctly. That’s absolutely huge, at least for parents like me who struggle to help our teens and young adults acheive gainful employement, and worry about their life path without it. Trent and Jackie are a beacon as I work to uncover the unique strengths in my guys.
Listen to the acceptance and love for what is unique in her son, from the publisher’s description of Jackie’s book:
“The Walking the Path Model© is a system of ongoing assessment and action steps that promote the individual’s participation, emotional support, and growth. WP is about identifying talents and strengths, then transferring them into tangible forms. It’s all about finding and pursuing that hobby, that activity, that job, or that subject to study which makes the heart sing. How can this be done when a person’s needs are significant? Supports are identified and negotiated to help lift and link the individual to full involvement and participation.”
Like an old friend just rediscovered, I’m eager to pore through Becoming Remarkably Able. We are all remarkably able, if we have the vision to see it.