The Thorn of Autism
Nearly aborted, graciously adopted, and later abandoned, Lori Sealy has traveled the road of atheism, and lived a life of autism. Lori was diagnosed with Autism as an adult, and not long after that diagnosis, learned her son had autism as well. Lori is a classical pianist and songwriter whose music gives a transparent view into the intimate struggles of faith and life that Lori experiences.
In this interview, parents of a young man who has autism ask Lori the questions burning in the hearts of other parents with high-functioning children that struggle every day with the "thorn of autism."
This is a powerful and rich conversation that will help parents better understand their children, and how to help them find their way in a sometimes confusing and scary world.
Some of the questions Lori answers in this interview:
- As a child, did you believe that there was something different about yourself? Did you intuitively know?
- Does having autism help or hinder your ability to parent children? A neuro-typical child and a child with autism?
- What are your thoughts on the neurodiversity/neurodivergent movement?
- Do you talk openly to your son about his autism? Do you use the label “autism” or “Asperger’s” regularly or do you try to avoid the use of labels as a way to identify him? In other words, do you believe that the differences that come along with autism are something to be celebrated and embraced or something to be changed and improved upon? Where do you draw that line and find a balance?
- Now that you are an adult, what is something you wish your parents knew about you (and perhaps even appreciated and celebrated) when you were a child? What would’ve helped you be more comfortable in your own skin during childhood and adolescence?
- How does autism affect – positively or negatively – your belief in God? How does it shape your view of the supernatural? How does it impact your ability to believe in something you can’t “see”?
- What recommendations would you give to people in the church to help them build relationships with adults on the spectrum? What kinds of things make friendships or relationships difficult for you? What should people NOT do?
- If a child or adult is experiencing a meltdown or overwhelm, what’s the best thing a bystander or friend can do to help?
- From a sensory perspective, what calms the “noise”? What is something that “down-regulates” you when you are feeling overstimulated?
- Our son frequently says that he thinks “God created him wrong”. Is this something you ever struggle with? Essentially, many of the things that make you wonderfully unique are, by human standards, worthy of a place in the DSM-V. How does this make you feel?
- What is the very best thing I can do as a parent of a child with high functioning autism to help him reach his potential and become the person God created him to be?