I have had throughout the years of existing in this autism community space have seen my son subjected to many ableist labels. I remember one time a grandmother of a peer of his in the waiting room at one of the many therapy places we have traversed throughout the years said to me " I saw your son at iPlay America, and he was driving a go cart, ALL BY HIMSELF" " I couldn't believe it was the same child, I mean my grandson can't even do that!" She was referring to the fact that her grandson would be labelled "high functioning" because he had the ability to speak like a neurotypical person, so she was assuming that my son did not have the cognitive ability to drive a go cart because, at the time when he was 9 years old, he had very limited speaking ability. That was the year I met Jackie Hines, our Board Vice President, but that story is for another time.
I find that this is one of the most detrimental assumptions we make with autistic children. We assume because a child doesn't speak, they cannot learn certain things, or they have a below average I.Q.. At Spectrum Tech Trade School, Village, and Training Center we want to reframe the way we look at Autism. We need to really delve deep into a person's strengths and weaknesses, and the root cause of both. As you can see, my determination to utilize our strength-based experiential learning model with my own son has proven me correct. I believed in my son and his abilities, and he is finally getting the recognition he deserves.
So, without further ado, Congratulations to my son Stephen Sosnowski on being selected as a finalist in the Allaire State Park "Industry and Nature" Photo Contest. Mommy is so proud of how you work every day, and I am so grateful and blessed to have you as my child. Thank You for brightening my world into a kaleidoscope of colors.
To check out Stephen's work and the work of the other amazing photographers on display, visit Allaire State Park between September 2nd and November 18th. Photo Contest Finalist work will be on display in the enameling building. For more information visit The Historic Village at Allaire – Premier living history museum in New Jersey (allairevillage.org)