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#DifferentTypesOfSame: THE GIFT OF DIFFERENCE

FOREWORD: People who champion noble causes are people who should be admired. Celebrities. Moguls. And people like my friend, Godfrey Orji. For as long as I’ve known him, Godfrey has been a spokesperson for the autism, using what he has – in this case, writing – to educate the world on the plight and difference of the autistic child. He has penned a piece on MyMindSnaps once before on Autism Awareness Day, a story titled ‘Before You Call Her Stupid’ (Read HERE).

And now, he has embarked on a project called The Autism Support Circle Initiative. The aim of the project is to create awareness for autism, better care structures and to achieve social acceptance for autistic persons in Nigeria. In his words:

‘I decided to make it a support circle because I figured that what persons on the spectrum need is care, love and a listening ear to their uniqueness. So, to kick off one of our awareness campaigns – #DifferentTypesOfSame – I and two other writers have decided to share some stories with the lovely followers of MyMindSnaps. Three Voices, Three Stories, One Message – Social Acceptance.’

As part of the support for this initiative, if you’re on twitter, kindly follow @theautism_sci

Read below the first story and share your thoughts with us.

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The Gift Of Difference

So I had a discussion with a friend once and I told her how I felt shock therapy could help autistic persons. In my words, “a controlled voltage or current could do the magic.”

Overtime, I have been forced to rethink that thought. What magic exactly was it going to do? What help would it render them? The only magic I could think of has been the personality change – you know, the part where we help them become who we think they should be, help them act ‘normal’, less weird and more like us.

At some point we have to pause and think: Do all persons really act the same or conform to certain ways? Or is just that we have a range that shouldn’t be crossed? If so, what happens to the real gift of being different? Aren’t we meant to think outside the box anymore? Oh, we still are.

Well, from my first experience with autism, I found a group of persons, so special, different somewhat and who lived outside the box. The ideologies that ensure that we get challenged to do things newly are fully embedded in them and whether they talk in colors, shapes or images, they communicate to those willing enough to listen.

Like Mark Firkin asked; ‘What if autism isn’t a processing error? What if it’s a totally different operating system?’ What would happen if we took more time to understand them, study them like a new course work, master them like a super paying job and think the way they think?

Ask yourself, if I had a pill in hand which could change everything I am, would I swallow it. No? Then give them a chance.

Social acceptance is key. He could be the next Einstein, and even if he isn’t, he could be the dearest friend you ever had.

PS: Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a condition which affects the way a person communicates with others and how they see the world. It is the third most common childhood disorder and fastest growing developmental disorder.

Written by Godfrey Orji, tweets at @godfrey_orji


About shakespeareanwalter

Walt Shakes(@Walt_Shakes) is an award-winning Nigerian writer, poet and veteran blogger. He is a lover of the written word. the faint whiff of nature, the flashing vista of movies, the warmth of companionship and the happy sound of laughter.

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19 comments

  1. Social order is a box. Everything and everyone has to be labelled, tagged, and knotted with ribbons based on models that, by and large, disregard individuality. The downside of “civilisation” if you ask me; the world as a “global village”, in which all either fit in the box —or create the illusion of it —or be labelled a disease (to the prevalent social-structure, its models, and calibrations for success and fails, values and vices: the New World Order.)
    Anyway, good work you guys!

  2. Some Autistic people end up been savants….. I love this piece

  3. Love people who speak up for the voiceless.

  4. Its never enough until you lend a hand..

  5. This is a real Echo for the voiceless…good job.

  6. Hmmmmn,as bad as thingz can get wen u are Autistic,oh it can really gets beta too.nice job guyz,it waz kul reading Α̲̅Ω̴̩̩̩̥d̶̲̥̅̊ knwing this

  7. I totally love this. It is high time we tap into the vast resource these guys have. They see the world through a different lens, and if you can just understand the way they see things you will be amazed t how brilliant they can be. I am a huge fan of kid wonder Jacob Barnett, who is disproving Einstein relativity theory, guess what? he is autistic and have an IQ rating above 170. He didn’t achieve this over night, he was supported by his parents. It paid off eventually.
    I think this is an initiative whose time has come.
    Now where is my twitter handle let me go follow @theautism_sci

  8. A laudable effort…well done

  9. Good work, guys!!! I have two autistiic family members so I can totally relate… Keep it going!!!

  10. Together,we can achieve this Noble Initiative.

  11. This is a beautiful initiative! I know a few autistic folks and I have a cousin who’s autistic too! This awareness is greatly needed to help understand these special, very gifted beings better; in order to help ’em reach their full potentials! It won’t be easy, cause unlike others who do not have this condition; they thrive on being treated with utmost care, love and a lotta patience! If they feel like they’re being misunderstood, they either revolt or tune off! May God help y’all as you continue on in this cause, and may success be yours on every side IJN, Amen! Peace!

    • Hello Yemie, been a while. Hope you’re good. What’s your twitter handle or facebook name?

      • Oh Godfrey! That’s one gazillion pounds question I get asked a LOT! Yikes!

        I must be the only one in this generation, who isn’t on Twitter and fb! That must be kinda weird right?! Hmm…maybe not as am gonna take your admonition to stay different and allow for the world to adjust, right?! *evil grin*

        I’m very on BBM if you aren’t opposed to that! Walter can hit you up, if you don’t mind! Thank you so much Godfrey, and God bless, keep and cause you to do more exploits IJN; Amen! *hugs* LOL

  12. RE: “…if I had a pill in my hand that could change who I am,would I swallow it? NO!” This sums up d fate of d Autistic Child n d ‘Faith of Millions’ in a world bent on conventions, dogmas n norms. (If not for ethics n fake morality: some are even adjudging their right to life even from the Fallopian Tube)Why can’t we just accept people in their indiviDUALity n uniqueness!
    Autism, is it a disease or a way of life? One keeps wondering. But b4 u turn into a Wonderer let’s take a look @some of our celebrated scientist thru history….. U will be shocked to discover some had truth about a way of life. Check out Jacob Barnett or wat do u say about Lionel Messi- d Best Player of All time. Understanding n tolerance is d key here.
    After all, differences, varieties, all part of d same Coin

  13. This piece made me think more. Very insightful one. Thanks for posting this Walter and kudos to Godfrey.

  14. Nice one help n tolerance to unleash the latent potential in them. This is quiet thoughtful

  15. Watching d bollywood movie like a little star,really made me admire them alot,good work guys.

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