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The Unused Power of Fragile X

22 Jan 2019

This is the title of an inspiring article in the Fragile X Society's latest newsletter (December 2018). It features a TED talk entitled "3 things I learned from my intellectually disabled son" and an interview with the speaker, Emilie Weight of Fragile X France.

"It is always a good thing to question whether we are on the right track with our society and challenge conventional ideas. That is the core of TED talks," Emilie said in the interview.

She went on to speak about a time of high anxiety and fear when her son's wisdom had reassured her. He was 6 at the time. "He looked at me and said: 'Mummy, you should look at me, how I do things.' I was really taken aback. At that moment I realised that I had to change my views. I had to start living more in the moment, get away from all those fears about things to come, the whole planning thing. That was some lesson from Michael and it enriched my life. Time has become a completely different concept for me now."

The art of paying attention is another quality that Emilie said Michael is teaching her. "You know, he has this special gift of ‘feeling into someone’. I call it empathy, but actually it is beyond that. He has some sort of antenna for someone’s feelings, a special sensitivity. He feels it when you are stressed or whether you are happy. I think the reason for this talent is rooted in his disability. He sees a human as an individual person without any prejudices or other mental barriers. If he is with an older person, he does not see an old person, but a full human being, he sees an individual person. For us it is incredibly difficult to listen and to look at people without any judgements. This is something I learned from Michael – or rather – this is something I am still learning. When someone was talking to me, I used to be thinking about questions I could pose and all sorts of thoughts were going through my head… I try to turn myself off nowadays and I really, really, try to listen to someone."

If you'd like to see the talk and/or read the whole interview, here's the link: The Unused Power of Fragile X

"How wonderful it would be if people with Fragile X could use their powers and competencies for society’s good and could add value to the economy," Emilie said.