I start this blog with an apology... I go back and forth between "person first" usage of "has autism v. is autistic". It is a stylistic choice I am making for emphasis. If this bothers you, I urge you to read to the end... where I tell my son who he is today, his 7th birthday.
Jack Capell was born on October 2, 2006. Your mom went into labor on our 1st anniversary (pretty cool, eh?).
Let me tell you about how you got your name...
The first thing you need to know about your name is that we did not know if you were a boy or a girl, so we had planned/picked names for either one.
When you were still in utero, Daddy worked an overnight job at a hotel, so he wasn't home at night most evenings.
One morning, Daddy came home before mommy had left for work and she told him "I had a dream about the baby last night"
Mommy told me she had a dream where she met a little boy who introduced himself as her son. He said his name was Jack and that his daddy had named him. Daddy laughed and said "Were you watching '24' or 'Lost' before you went to bed" (they both had lead characters named Jack).
Mommy and Daddy both really liked the name. We didn't want something obnoxiously 'different' for you. Jack has been a classic since the 14th century, so we both liked it.
The second you were born, the doctor flipped you over to me to show me your "fruit cup" and I said "It's a boy... right?"... And he handed you to your mama and she said "I knew it. Hi, Jack"
When you were a little boy, and even today, we can't even imagine that you might have had a different name... You were always Jack. I remember we used to call you "The Senator" because we thought "Jack Capell (Ka-Pell)" had that great double K digraph and sounded like power. You were destined to change the world. You were going to take those brilliant blue eyes I gave you and make a difference.
When you turned 3, you got a different name... Autistic.
It was given to you by the State of California, the Glendale Unified School District, and the American Medical Association.
I never liked the new name... It didn't sound as powerful.
So, today, my boy, you turn 7. Very soon, you and I are going to have a talk about why people call you autistic. I'm going to use words like "disability", and "NT", and "Sensory Processing". I'm going to tell you that you have autism... and you might get a few new names.
I tell you here, Jack, that none of those things are your names. You are not disabled, less, or even different... you are unique.
You are the powerhouse, endearing, beautiful soul that your mama named you.
Whenever someone asks you "what's wrong with you", or "what do you have", or "who are you"?...
You take those beautiful blue eyes and stare right at them and proudly declare...
"I am Jack Capell"
You're god damned right you are.