Challenging challenges

Seeing how Joaquin is constantly developing in unexpected ways, I’m finally coming to understand the whole notion that he is in fact developing in a way that is comfortable and natural for him. Whether as parents we think his development is slow, or “different” in a bad way… that’s just our judgement based on comparing him to typical children.

So today I was pondering again in the shower…

How about considering that what I’ve come to call “challenges” in his development are not true challenges?… I mean, if we see a baby not reading a book, we don’t say he/she has a challenge with reading. We simply don’t expect reading from somebody that young. So here I am, calling Joaquin’s acceptance of strangers a challenge, when I could see it instead as he’s not ready for that development yet. He’s currently focusing on developing other skills. Like, here we are working hard at encouraging his consistent use of 2-3 word sentences, and meanwhile he’s writing numbers on his own, and adorning them with outlines of different widths, and filling them with colors… Not yet three years old, doing things that the average typical child does at 4-5 years.

Of course I’ll still continue presenting possibilities to him, like you continue to read to babies as a way of exposing them to a future skill. I’ll still do Son-Rise with a full believe that this “education” and way of raising him is exactly what he needs. But as you expect it with a typical child, right now… today… I’m considering the possibility… believing… that Joaquin will be whole in the end.

I already believed this. I already see him as a brilliant mind in the making and I always see a great future in the horizon for him. The difference is the change of perspective. Yesterday I saw some things as challenges. Today I intend to see them as areas not yet developed, that he will eventually get to… without a whole lot of my intervention. The path of least resistance… Less need to intervene. Not passivity, nonetheless… Just the believe that everything is happening at the right pace, and the perfect way how he needs it.

November 18, 2010 at 1:19 pm 1 comment

An exploration on "compassion"

Compassion… What does it mean to you?

On facebook, I asked this question to my friends. I’m interested in knowing what people mean when they say they feel compassion for somebody. I have my own understanding, and based on it — what I believe compassion means — I’ve found myself disliking the idea of a person feeling compassion for Joaquin… I don’t want people feeling compassion for him or us; and I don’t want volunteers who work with Joaquin feeling compassion for him. However, I suspect that compassion may be the feeling moving people to volunteer to work with Joaquin, and since I’ve found myself twice turned off by the mention of compassion in regards to Joaquin or children with autism, I decided to understand my feelings about this right now, before I find myself judging or turning down candidates who simply say the word.

So I’ve been exploring this issue this weekend (particularly when it refers to volunteers on our program) and I’ve gotten to an interesting place, and now I’m wondering if this is a stopping point, or if I should dig more.

What do I understand by compassion?… What does it mean to me that somebody tells me he/she feels compassion for my son?

Some of my friends have come up with really nice definitions of compassion, including empathy and expanding the whole notion in a rather beautiful way. However, I keep seeing compassion without any frills, as the feeling of misfortune or sorrow for somebody, a feeling strong enough to move one person to try to help another. This should sound good to me except for the part of sorrow and misfortune, which to me means that the person that feels compassion is (or feels) at a higher or better level than the one for whom compassion is felt. So when you feel compassion for me, what I hear is, you think I’m in a bad spot and want to help me. You don’t want anything from me (because how could I give you something if I’m in such a bad spot), so you give me and take nothing in return. You wish I wasn’t where I am; wish “this” hadn’t happened to me. You want to help me get to a different place because that one where I am is bad. You feel pity for me. (more…)

November 14, 2010 at 6:06 pm 3 comments



Originally uploaded by Mafe Maria

Testing the blog this feature for a friend

March 20, 2009 at 4:33 pm


My real blog is somewhere else. This site is just the dirty lab.

April 3, 2006 at 7:56 pm

Where’s the real site?


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