An Essay by Madalyn Guidi
Autism is like eating soup with a fork
Autism is like eating soup with a fork; depending on the soup, the difficulty changes. In life, the ingredients of the soup are the things we learn. If the soup is chunky, I can get the main bits, but that does not stop the broth from slipping out. I get more focused on the “big pieces” which leads me to overlooking the supporting details. In some cases, that is what makes everything make sense. This does not just apply to learning, but to social aspects as well. When I am out in the spoon community, I try to make my fork look like a spoon. At first glance you may not notice, however once the meal progresses, I will be noticeably slower. Being slower is not necessarily a bad thing, which is what I want to share with the younger kids who are like me. In order to pave the way for them, I will have to show them the best fork skills I have. Society assumes by looking at me I use a spoon, but I have accepted and embraced my fork. I have made it my goal to help the upcoming fork generation, embrace themselves and their forks.
I was ashamed of my fork for 16 years, until I had an “aha moment”, where my perspective changed. I stopped looking down at my soup angrily but instead, realizing how much I can get in one forkful. Previously I would never bring out my fork in front of the spoon people, fearing they would point out how different I was. Now as I am nearing my graduation, with full confidence in my fork skills, I am ready to show others how to gain this skill as well. The moment I made an error with my fork skills, it was too late to fix, the mess had been made. I had spilled my broth, since it was too hot for the situation. My CEA pointed out to me that my actions do not only affect me, but those who are close to me. Not only do these actions give people an impression of me, but also the way in which they will treat me from then on. Spilling my broth was not fun, however I learned a much needed lesson. I learned more than I would have if I had never spilled my broth. I realized that the younger kids in the resource room look up to me, and I would not want them to think certain actions are acceptable. I want the younger kids to know that it’s ok to expect to spill your broth sometimes, and that they should take the time they need with things like eating soup with a fork.
Thank you Madalyn for sharing this amazing essay with us, and allowing us to post it on our website.