Monday, February 3, 2014

Scott Lentine on Living with Autism: "Can't You See?"

About a year ago, I pointed readers of Bilgrimage to a blog by an amazing young man, Scott Lentine. Scott lives with autism, and has become an apostle of sorts for people living with autism and similar developmental challenges. One of the ways in which he educates the rest of us about the experience of those living with such challenges is by writing poetry.

In a poem he published in January 2013, Scott repeatedly asks his readers, 

Can't you see  
I need the same connections in the end

Can't you see becomes a kind of mantra in this poem, calling on those of us who don't live with the challenges of autism to give some thought to the experiences of people different from ourselves--and to learn to see from those who see life differently from how we see. Who therefore see what we can't and don't see because of our own limitations, so that the teacher-learner dynamic is inverted by the mantra . . . . 

Because I think Scott has an important voice and needs to be heard, I'm delighted to learn that he was recently interviewed by Jordan Rich. Here's a clip of the interview at the site of CBS Boston (you'll have to scroll down and find the Scott Lentine interview among other interviews Jordan Rich did in late January). 

In the interview, Jordan Rich tells Scott Lentine that he's an inspiration to other people living with developmental challenges and to their families, and that Scott is "getting the job done"--he's effectively communicating to the rest of us what it's like to live with the unique struggles, limitations, and gifts of those who live with autism. I'm grateful, indeed, for his witness.

The photo of Scott is from his blog.

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