Caveat Lector: I have written much of this material from an adult perspective which may sit poorly with young children or other “true believers”. While I have done my best to present this material tactfully, I still strongly advise parental/guardian discretion.
Links need not indicate endorsement. Hover mouse over underscored words for commentary
No doubt you’ve seen your share of children go shy on you—
well, here’s an adult who’s not much bolder.
The above confession, which I made to an event mascot in early March of 2017, started a personal journey of self-improvement which I dearly hope will continue in whatever form Heaven deems best. Not long after coming clean with Dewper, who hosted a weekly children’s event at the Superstition Springs Centre in East Mesa, I elaborated on my issues with Cheryl Hayes, who was mall manager at the time, and event co-host Persephone Dimson (who presents some rather impressive credentials here).
Close to the middle of 2019, Dewper and Dimson decided I was ready (although I tend to question their judgement in this case) to learn a bit more about their programme. While the information they shared was personally assuring, I can only see it as problematic if it leaks out to the event’s audience, especially to the
true believers. Because I pretty much take the Good Nazarene’s word (NT: St Luke 17.2) that I’d be better off having a millstone tied about my neck and being thrown into the nearest ocean than wronging a child, I feel it would be for the better if I sought alternative sources of desensitisation for the sake of damage control.
So, what led me to
invade the children’s event, you might ask? Much of the answer lies in the team name Chinisa Innukshopa, which means
he fears the striped one in Choctaw [US First Nation]. Because of what was diagnosed in the early to middle 1960s as
childhood schizophrenia (and would likely be diagnosed today as an Autism Spectrum condition), I had developed a number of (not completely conquered) phobias, one of the most senseless ones being of Walt Disney’s Chip + Dale characters as depicted above [adapted from this video]. Because Dewper also represented a non-squirrel [or so they say] sciurid species (Cynomys ludovicianus AKA prairie
dog), I felt he would make a fine local proxy to practice facing my issues maturely.
Because phobias such as mine are not uncommon within the Autism Spectrum (regardless of function level), I felt it only fitting to set my support behind the ASU Autism/Asperger’s Research Program (and one of its primary funding sources, the Zoowalk for Autism Research) in the hope that future generations will be spared many of the negative issues I’ve had to face—issues which I feel are best represented in the motto Sic Vulnus Domu Amicorum (Latin for “thus wounded in the house of friends”—cf. JT: Zechariah 13.6). Among the projects which the Zoowalk supports are the following:
Once again, I’d like to thank the management and staff of the Superstition Springs Centre and especially Dewper and Ms. Dimson for helping me smooth out my emotional rough spots. To help make the paths smoother for future autistics than it had been for me, please consider helping me support the Zoowalk by enrolling in a participating team (such as mine), creating a team of your own, making a monetary donation—even remembering the Autism Spectrum at all levels of function in your better thoughts and prayers.
Thank you and God bless
Team Chinisa Innukshopa
Stephen, great message of how you faced your fears and went beyond them by channeling your courage into helping others!