This emotional video was recorded at a Coldplay concert in Mexico. The staging and its songs were able to tune the emotions of a child with autism and his father. This wonderful and intense moment was shared by his parents on the networks and is going around the world.
Images have great power, a power that moves us and at the same time builds a hope, a concept, an idea about people who have autism spectrum traits. Seeing a parent and a child with autism so young connect in this way, share those moments together and get excited is precious.
In addition, at the same time, this video helps us to introduce the fight against a belief that is deeply ingrained, one that affirms that people with autism neither feel nor are emotional. That is the same belief that accompanies the adjective “autistic” when it is used to refer to someone disconnected from the world and even from himself (as sadly defined by the RAE).
The video that is going around the world
It is true that people with autism spectrum disorders have difficulties when it comes to connecting or putting themselves in the place of the other, to leave their reality to enter that of another person. However that does not prevent them from feeling; in fact, many times we can only understand them through the expression of the emotions that their environment creates for them. This is one of the reasons why the emotion of this moment lived by this family is crossing borders:
His “I love you”, a great lesson in love
As we were already anticipating before the video, it is a popular misconception that people with autism spectrum disorders do not have emotions or feelings. Perhaps it derives from the fact that we establish the metaphor of the bubble, we believe that they are detached from the world and that they do not understand what they feel.
In response to this false idea, I would like to bring you a story about the love of Raquel Braojos Martín, What is love? Award for the best short story of “Cuéntame el autismo” . We assure you that after reading any word left over …
—Hey, but I’ve been told that autistics don’t have feelings, does your brother feel love and stuff? Or not?
The first time they asked me that question, I felt a mixture of indignation, anger and, why deny it, doubt. The first time I was asked it was a girl, I shrugged my shoulders, stared at the ground and denied it with fervor. I adored my little brother and was terrified that he would not love me. I was too young to understand that wanting wasn’t saying a handful of words, it wasn’t spelling “I love you,” and I was scared. A fear that he could not control.
In those years, Rubén didn’t know how to speak, but he clung to us with his little hands. Only us, his family. We didn’t know if it was rage, honey, or just another way to relieve her stress. Years later he learned to speak and “I love you” was one of those things we insist on teaching him. And so it was, he said it, he repeated it, but that didn’t make it sound any more real, even though we loved hearing it.
That was the problem. Most of us believe that there is only one way to love, ours. We hope that everyone passes through the same behavioral filter. This is curious because “we” know how to say I love you, but we are also capable of doing harm, of using our feelings in our favor, we are aware of pain, of lies.“They” never would. We who are not pure or crystalline, can we really set an example of how to love?
And although the doubt about whether my brother loved me always hovered over my mind, like a restless and wondering bird, I clearly remember the first time I knew that my brother loved someone:
Our Uncle Daniel used to take us for walks and he had a special adoration for my brother. Rubén also loved being with Daniel, he obeyed him and laughed a lot with him, my brother pointed out the path we should follow and woe to anyone who did not want to go there!
But Daniel died. It was sudden, from one day to the next, nobody expected it. It was difficult for us to explain it to my brother : that there would be no more walks, that we would no longer see our uncle, that he was no longer around. Daniel stopped showing up, but he didn’t leave my brother’s mind. When, after a while, we did those routes again (with our grandfather) my brother used to tell me:
“Do you remember?” Walk with Uncle Dani .
Some of you may think: “Oh, routine, characteristic of autism, it’s not that I love your uncle but that I was used to him. He misses it like any other routine aspect » . That might have been believed to be true in the first weeks, in the first months, in the first year, but not after.
-What have you got there? -. I asked my brother (in his teenage version) when I found him rummaging through a drawer. He soon tried to hide it, as if it was something embarrassing. I struggled with it a bit and took it off her hands. It was a photo from an old family reunion. In it our grandfather, our cousin and our uncle Daniel appeared; I also. It had been several years since his death and my brother’s routine couldn’t be more different. In fact, Rubén spent his afternoons glued to his console. The walks were over; our grandfather, who also used to lead us down the same paths, was beginning to have a degenerative disease.
“What a beautiful photo,” I said.
“I can’t,” he said, trying to hide her again.
“Sure you can,” I replied, “do you like the photo?” -. At first I did not understand what was special in a photo in which he was not.
“I like it, yes.” Uncle Dani. ”He pointed at the image . When I was little I a lot with Uncle Dani
Her eyes sparkled and her little hands moved excitedly, as if she had been wanting to show me for years. And I felt it, of course I felt it. I even cried a little with emotion: that was love.
“And who is that girl on her knees?” I asked.
– Your little.
When our grandfather died, my brother, apart from looking at his photos, also had another reaction: he would enter my grandmother’s house and, instead of going directly to the living room, he would run down the hall, open the door to our grandfather’s old room , where he had spent his last years ill, and looked inside. As if he could see his memory in her. As if he expected to find our grandfather lying on his bed. Other times, Rubén sat in the wheelchair and remained static, waiting.
Sometimes, years later, when he thinks no one is watching, my brother opens a crack in the bedroom door again. And he talks about the candy, the games, the walks, the hat, the “I’m going to tell your father.” From his grandfather Paco, from his grandfather Damián, from his uncle Daniel. He talks about our three absences and he does it with bright eyes. And he takes me by the hand, and drags me with him to the computer to show me his discovery of that week: series that he wants me to see, constellations that he wants me to memorize, maps, photos, songs. And insists, even though I’m busy.
Because he likes me to be in his world, to make him a part of it. Not always, of course not. But when he wants to be with someone he always chooses us. We are at the top of your hill. When he gets tired of his own loneliness, he starts yelling “Raquel, come …”Because love is not words that fly, empty promises, songs, poetry, or caresses. To love is to think about the people you care about, it is to miss those who are not there. Loving is that and nothing else. Thanks, brother, for showing me.