“There is a Voice that Doesn’t Use Words. Listen.”
It is no coincidence that Nancy Amar’s last name references one of the most important capacities we can develop as human beings – the ability to love. Amar, a Miami-based occupational therapist who works with children diagnosed with autism, Asperger syndrome and other Sensory Processing Disorders, has discovered the connection between unconditional love and effective therapy in treating children with autism. Throughout her career, she has discovered that autistic children are here to teach us that not only is there a language beyond words but also that this language comes with an important lesson of acceptance for us. In a society that is not always forgiving of differences, autistic children come with a message that we would be unwise not to heed.
Amar is currently working on a book titled, I Don’t Use My Words, but I Come with a Message. One of the main questions guiding her work is whether or not there are any lessons that the world needs to know that can be brought to light through a more profound understanding of autism. As an occupational therapist, integrity resides in not working to fix or change the children she works with, but rather accepting them as they are while not setting them up for failure. What follows is a list of insights collected from my conversation with Amar about her work and the deep lessons she has taken from it,
“One in every sixty-eight children are diagnosed with autism… these are the children of tomorrow. They are here to remind us of the importance of human connection and are reflecting back to us what we are creating as a society – the need to become more conscious… Autism is a spectrum and autistic children can inspire us to look at EVERYTHING, … inspiring conscious action on our part at every level,” said Amar.
Unconditional Love is in the Now: Will You Take Me as I Am?
One of the primary lessons autistic children bring is that they must be accepted as they are because they are unable to change. The way that autistic children interact is very different from what would typically be considered normal for most people. It’s important to drop expectations because they connect differently. If you allow them to be as they are, they will flourish. This is unconditional love.
You’ve Got to Be Real
Children diagnosed with autism are masters at perceiving dishonesty. They don’t know how to lie. For them, things are black and white with little to no in-between. An unproven scientific hypothesis can be perceived as a lie or a cosmetic procedure gone wrong may lead to someone letting you know you’ve got whiskers.
They are very concrete, and will tell it like it is.
A Higher Level of Acceptance
Autism Awareness should go beyond raising funds and include unconditional acceptance and a more profound understanding of autism’s unique challenges and gifts. The movement needs to occur on a greater scale.
Catalysts for Joy and Personal Growth
In order to meet the energy of autistic children on their level, it is necessary to have a high vibration and rise to their level. They are very happy children who want to play. Children diagnosed with high autism are always laughing. It is actually very rare to ever see them cry.
Love is a Language Beyond Words, Can You Hear It?
Interacting with autistic children requires being comfortable with silence and being okay with being present and still. You can speak their language and enter the stim with them.
Children with autism are quirky and won’t behave differently to appease anyone’s sense of decorum. They are authentically themselves and can motivate others to be the same, to drop their guard and be.
We Are All One
Looking at current politics, it is difficult to ignore the fact that we live in a society that segregates, and easily falls into the false separation of “them” versus “us.” Getting more involved and becoming more informed is a way of coming together.
Mirroring & Healing
As a therapist, Amar has found a way of turning the healing around. In order to see a change in the behavior of those diagnosed with autism, it is important that we change. They need to feel that they are not being judged. They feel more than anything else. Everywhere they go, someone is trying to fix them, but success comes from making them feel loved and feeling their love without the need for words to communicate it.
Children diagnosed with autism are often toe walkers. Who better to guide us into greater love than those walking between heaven and earth?
Words by: Catalina Ramirez