I call this piece Keep Me Close, But Let Me Fly and I think the meaning behind it will be evident once I explain. I often wonder what my life would have been like had I been diagnosed earlier, like as a kid. Would there have been more understanding and patience for me? Or, would I have been treated as somehow "broken" and wrapped in bubble wrap and the freedoms I enjoyed taken from me? I had a ton of freedom as a child, in fact, I can honestly say that the adults in my life really didn't pay much mind to me or what I was doing unless I was causing some sort of problem, acting out at school, failing to achieve this elusive "potential" I apparently had with my studies, and on and on. Long story short, I had the flying down, but not the "close" part. I have no idea whether it would have made a difference and I can never really know, but some understanding probably would have been nice.
Today, we know more about Autism and many children are diagnosed when they're young and I wonder how parents strike that balance between the instinct to protect their kids, especially in the face of knowing the child is neurodiverse in a world that can often be unkind and strange and recognizing and encouraging the child to embrace and explore the amazing and wonderful gifts that our different way of experiencing the world brings. This painting is for them.