All parents of autistic children should read this book: Hope for the Flowers by: Trina Paulus. Reed it to your children too. I'm really glad I have a copy of it. It makes me cry just about every time I read it. The book isn't specifically for autism or even disAbilities, but it has a powerful message.
This is a book I highly recommend everyone read at least once. The first time I heard this book was when my 4th grade teacher read it to the class.
It’s a story about a caterpillar trying to figure out who he is. At first he is satisfied being where he is, but as he grows, he begins to long for something more. To make it short: he searches around to find out who he is, finds a pile of caterpillars trying to get to the top.
Along the way to the top the caterpillar is being stepped on. He finds a friend and they both leave the pile. Eventually he returns to the pile thinking that is his destiny. His friend goes off to find a caterpillar spinning a cocoon. His friend discovers how to become a butterfly. (I have to put aside a little nitpick: butterfly caterpillars don’t spin cocoons. That’s a moth behavior.)
Anyways the caterpillar at the pile has to step on others to get to the top, and to do so, he has to “dehumanize” them. Others have to become stepping stones. Well he does make it to the top, but is it what he thought?? Let’s just say it seems caterpillars that get to the top are not going to stay there… They get shoved off to their death.
I’ll spare the rest of the ending for those wanting to read the book. I have to say to follow the illustrations after the end.
Now how does this apply to us here on this forum? (I’m focusing on autism as my example, but this applies to other things as well)
We, both autistic and parents of autistics are like the caterpillars struggling to get through society. We want to get to the top and make great changes, but we often go about the wrong way. How do we change the world? One person at a time. Each parent/autistic who goes off to find out more about autism from an autistic perspective, joins communities (or lurks), getting involved with activities, conventions, self advocacy classes etc, is taking steps to becoming a butterfly. Each butterfly formed is one less caterpillar trying hopelessly to make it to the top of a pillar to be knocked off.
And who knows, others may follow, once they learn something out there is far better than falling off the top of a pillar.
This was just something I had to get off my mind. It’s a great book if you can find it. It’s an old book and I am not sure if it is in print.
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