A Beautiful Spectrum

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IMG_5642by Delaine Swearman

When I hear the word “spectrum”, I immediately think of rainbow.  Actually, the word spectrum was originally used to describe the rainbow of colors formed by the separation of visible light. Over time, the word has been applied more broadly to describe a continuum with a unifying theme between two extremes.

So, we come to the autism spectrum.  We are all persons with autism across a continuum. Or if we use the rainbow analogy, we are all persons of different colors within the same rainbow.  Doesn’t that make us sound beautiful? I would much rather be thought of as “indigo” with my autistic friend being “violet” than comparing our levels of functioning. Each person on the autism spectrum has struggles for sure, but there are also many strengths, many beautiful aspects, and inherently each person has value for who they are.  After all, aren’t all the colors of the rainbow equally beautiful and important?

And in fact, all of humanity is part of a larger rainbow of sorts if you want to look at it that way.  If my non-autistic brother is “orange”, it doesn’t do any good for him to try to change me into orange, because the whole rainbow still needs indigo, and it needs violet too.  The rainbow needs every single color, and that requires every single one of us being included with all our characteristics that make each color unique. The rainbow wouldn’t be nearly as beautiful without people of different abilities, appearances, interests, talents, and backgrounds.

Every human being is unique and the world would be much more loving and peaceful if we just accepted one another and saw our differences as necessary and beautiful, just like all the colors of the rainbow.  And we need to help each person become the most vibrant they can be, and finally accept ourselves for who we are.

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