We live very near Washington, DC which of course is filled with beautiful monuments to our founding fathers, various presidents and the many Americans who sacrificed their lives for our country here and in foreign lands. James in any given week sees quite a few monuments from just driving places and riding on the metro with his Dad. So it is probably not surprising that he had some solid ideas about building a monument when given this creative writing assignment. True confession here from his mother, I think his monument plan is wonderful but I don’t agree with “celebrating autism”. I celebrate James and all the others who work everyday to overcome but I will always believe that autism is preventable, treatable and curable and we should be doing all that we can to stop it in its tracks. No one should have to live with being non-verbal if it is preventable and I believe with all my heart that it is. But listen to James who has learned to accept and deal with it courageously everyday.
CREATIVE WRITING: Imagine you are an architect charged with building a monument in your hometown. What steps would you take to build a safe, strong monument that family and friends throughout the community could enjoy for years to come? Why is your work important to the community; both present and future?
I WOULD LIKE TO BUILD A MONUMENT CELEBRATING PEOPLE WITH AUTISM IN ARLINGTON. THE MONUMENT WOULD BE ON A WALL ON THE SOUTH SIDE OF ARLINGTON NEAR MY HOUSE. THE WALL WOULD HAVE THE NAMES OF ALL THE PEOPLE IN ARLINGTON WHO HAVE AUTISM. THE MONUMENT WOULD BE PLACED IN A PARK SO KIDS COULD PLAY ON IT. THE MONUMENT IS NOT MEANT TO MAKE PEOPLE FEEL SAD ABOUT PEOPLE WITH AUTISM. IT IS ABOUT CELEBRATING UNDERSTANDING OF AUTISM AND AS A DIFFERENCE NOT A DISEASE. AUTISM IS NOT A DEATH SENTENCE. IT IS MY LIFE BUT I DON’T WANT SYMPATHY. I WANT UNDERSTANDING OF MY SITUATION. I WANT UNDERSTANDING OF MY WAY OF COMMUNICATING. I WANT UNDERSTANDING OF MY INTELLIGENCE. TO ACHIEVE THESE GOALS, I WOULD CREATE THIS MONUMENT DEDICATED TO ALL PEOPLE WITH AUTISM.