Autoethnographies of Educators Learning and Teaching With/In [Dis]ability
Edited By Philip Smith
Chapter 10: An Open Letter to Wyatt, by Erin McCloskey
You have always been a mover and a shaker. You set the pace for me as my first-born, and you were always just doing, without a care in a world about who was watching or what they were thinking. You lined up toy cars, or numbered, with a marker, everything you could get your hands on. I remember cleaning out the fridge one day when you were just a tot and placing all of the bottles and jars on the kitchen table so I could wipe down the shelves. You came in the kitchen, and with eyes as wide as saucers, asked if you could get the permanent marker and number all of the jars. All of those jars and bottles and containers, just ripe for numbering. You love order and you love repetitive motions—your body like a metronome, keeping track of your inner rhythm. I can’t remember the first time someone asked me why you rock or bounce or jump, but I came to realize that it’s almost worse when they don’t ask the questions, but just look at you, and then look to me for an explanation. Waiting for me to explain, to tell them, “Oh, he has autism,” so they’ll be more comfortable, as if categorizing you and labeling you makes it easier for them to understand who you are and what you do, so that they can go about their business.
You used to bounce in your high chair;...
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