Where choice lives… and thoughts on perspective

Craig and I recently spent two days in Vancouver… deeply engrossed and captivated by the presentations of Michelle Garcia Winner and Carol Gray.

On Day 1:

Doodle notes by a visual learner  (or a fidgiter??) from my first day of Michelle Garcia Winner / Carol Gray presentation. 

And another thought… doodling is a both a self-regulation and processing tool:

We stayed the night in town – as the ride back to the valley is grueling and circumstances allowed us to avoid it. Craig and I debriefed our learnings and reflections about the day – and also enjoyed a rare and quiet dinner alone. The evening view of the river from my parent’s place in New Westminster was spectacular.

On Day 2:

When I looked at the early morning view of the river (below) … in contrast to the night before, it had me contemplating perspective. Perspective is not just a question of place or point of view – it is also about time and context. I thought it was lovely to use images to illustrate that the same scene or situation can look very different from another perspective or in another context. Both of these images are the essentially the same view – of the Fraser River… and yet – they are so different. The morning light essentially hides details, like the bridge, but it brings focus to other things in the environment. This is a visual reminder that the perspective of my child – or others who experience the world differently – is just as valid as my perspective. It is all subjective – reality is subjective!!

This sometimes has me contemplating whether I might be the one with rigid or perhaps narrow ideas of what is expected… or how things should play out. The neuromajority may often be quick to say what we think is going on for those who process differently – or to make judgments about what is typical for them… and code them or stuff them into some kind of a box (figuratively) that meets our needs and makes us comfortable. Shine a light a different way – or wait a while – or look from a slightly different angle – and what we hold in the moment as a perfect or logical truth – may look very different indeed.

I had coffee and breakfast with Craig (hey get outta’ my cup) at this wonderful greasy spoon called The Big 6.

I  love the dishwasher etching of thousands of washes evidenced on the cup and saucer!

And…yes… I was still playing with perspective!  Apparently I wasn’t done. I need metaphor to make sense of my world and connect to experiences; my brain works like that.

I love this hallway – under the Vancouver Convention Centre. I’ll call it Reflection over Perspective!!

I completed my visual notes which are reflective of lots of thought around that moment between stimulus and response! I have long been fascinated by this place – or space… which has me contemplating pace. This place is also the key to how we think about our world… the moment of contact. It is the interface between the individual and the external world, and between our experience and our thoughts and feelings about ourselves and others.

We continually make choices about our interpretations, inferences, assumptions, and reactions.  We need to encourage self-understanding for ourselves and our children (or students) about the connection between what we do in the moment and its resonant effect. The way we respond or react to stress, or to our students, or to our children, or to other adults – reverberates after that moment… and has vast effect as it resonates and is carried with us and others on our journey.

This moment is powerful – and more than itself – more than a moment! It has the power and ability to continually exist in someone else’s present tense… Choice lives there!!


30 Days of Autism is a project designed to fight stigma, promote civil rights, and increase understanding and acceptance for those who process and experience the world differently.

© Leah Kelley, Thirty Days of Autism, (2012)

About Leah Kelley, Ed.D.

Leah Kelley, M.Ed, Ed.D., Writer, Consultant, Activist, Speaker, and Educator, working with Teacher Candidates at UBC. Authors blog: 30 Days of Autism. Projects support social understanding, Neurodiversity paradigm, Disability Justice, and connecting Disability Studies in Education(DSE)to Educational Practice. Twitter: @leah_kelley Facebook: 30 Days of Autism: Leah Kelley
This entry was posted in Aspergers, Autism, Autistic Shadow Traits, Carol Gray, Michelle Garcia Winner, neuromajority, Neurotypical, perspective of others, Social Thinking, Space and Pace, valid perspectives, Visual Notes, Vygotsky and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Where choice lives… and thoughts on perspective

  1. It all wraps back into the Yin and the Yang. There could be no neurotypical if there weren’t neurodiversity, because there would be nothing to distinguish it as “typical”. Just like hot can’t exist without cold, and black and white are just two different shades of gray. There really is only one neurological spectrum. There are some neurotypicals who seem to have more in common with autistics than they do with neurotypicals.

    And yes, “resonant effect” is a very important part of perspective. I can be traumatized by things that ordinary people would not consider traumatic at all. So the whole world sometimes seems like a danger zone of ignorant hostility. Each traumatic incident has a half-life. The resonant effect never goes away completely, it only has a half-life. Anything that might happen could remain part of my present tense long after it became everybody else’s past tense.


    • Leah Kelley says:

      I can’t believe I didn’t respond to this sooner – but can only fall upon the somewhat sorry excuse that your comment was made in the first week of school for me. Well, I am digging out and have just found it, and as seems to be the pattern, I am yet again moved by your insightful comment.

      I love what you say about the Yin and Yang of typical and neurodiversity. I had a thought today that relates to this, during a lovely all-day meeting with a friend and colleague. We spent most of the day speaking of autism and diversity – and one of the things that came out of that was that for me was this: “when we learn more about autism and neurodiversity… we can’t help but learn more about ourselves.” This too is like the Yin and Yang aspect – because when we seek to understand the perspective of another – our world is invariably expanded and we are all better for it.

      I also love the way your spoke of the half-life of trauma and how that hangs on always… diminished – but still there. I suppose it is my background in archeology… but I get that!


  2. Pingback: Supporting Diverse Learners: Visual Notes and Other Perspectives | Thirty Days of Autism

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