A quick internet search of a bunch of different dictionary definitions of ‘therapy’ pulls up this – Therapy is:
Pretty broad, right?
And yet, if you are the parent of an autistic child, the word therapy has come to define a very narrow set of ‘interventions’, many of them aimed at moulding the autistic child into a person that makes them more palatable in a non-autistic world.
This might include making them make eye contact with others, stopping them from stimming, rewarding behaviours that are deemed acceptable and punishing those that make them stand out from their neurotypical peers.
At Way of the Cactus, we take the broader definition of therapy, believing that what is ‘therapeutic’ for neurodivergent kids and adults is what makes us feel better, in our minds and bodies.
Wearing no clothes in our own homes
Jumping through sprinklers
Squishing our hands into slime
Putting all the couch cushions on top of our bodies
Watching toys spin
Stroking soft fabric
Making a noise that pleases us over and over again
Re-playing our favourite video games
Leaping hard onto crash cushions
Rocking gently in a hammock
Reciting our favourite lines from our favourite tv shows
We reject the idea that we need to be squeezed into mainstream society and instead, believe mainstream society needs to broaden to find a place for us.
We aren’t ruled by the fear that if our children are to ‘fit in’, they need hours and hours of intensive therapy training from age 3 onwards. Instead we trust that like us, they will find a way forward and like us, they will own their place in the world and thrive.
Don’t let your actions now be driven by your fear of the future. There is beauty and rightness in diversity and disability. Help the world to see this.