This is the sixth post in our series, “This is Autism,” which captures snapshots of our children’s lives across the entire spectrum.
It’s not a boastful color, but the spectrum would not be complete without it. Once discovered, it is unique; not quite blue or violet, it is Indigo. Singular and unassuming but beautiful, that is our two Indigo Girls.
True to their precise nature, our girls were born promptly on their due dates; five years apart. This precision permeates them still, insisting on accuracy and clarity in all things important to them. So we’ll be precise here too. There are four general shades of Indigo, our daughters reflect two of these—midnight and electric. One flashing bright, pulling attention in yet illuminates softly. The other wrapped in mystery and marveling in things close-by. They enlighten us with details we would never see or recognize on our own. They are endearing and loyal daughters, sisters and friends. They envelope us like a perfect warm night.
Our Indigos understand each other very well. They “speak” the same language, write social stories for each other and are quick to reference each other’s 5 Point Scales. Our Indigos are passionate and self-determined about their hopes and dreams for their future. With courage, they try to overcome the challenges that everyday life brings. Everyone who has the chance to know them, learns from them, is inspired by them and never forgets them. As for us, our Indigos bring love and extraordinarily brilliant light to our family’s spectrum.
And like the color Indigo, our girls are a bridge between two worlds, connected and strong. They inhabit a space where normal is the autism spectrum; their perspective instantly understood by the other. Watching this relationship unfold and simply be, teaches us that autism is at its core, “different, not less.” We ponder what connection, communication and engagement mean when faced with their ease and understanding of one another. And while we, as a family, support them in many, many ways, their Indigo bridge seems to truly sustain them.
Intimate knowledge of this relationship demands that we shift how we “see” autism. I now understand that their deficits do not define them. All the supports and therapies help them cope with our world. But it seems as if we need those tools more than them. It is our avenue into their world, their unique spot on the spectrum. It is a mysterious place, but once discovered, it reveals a wide range of beauty. An electrifying midnight inhabited by a lucky few.