I saw this and had to think about how many of what was said has actually happened to me, or members of my family. Many families on the Autism Spectrum would likely respond with a raised eyebrow and say, “Ohh kayyy…” while thinking “to what extent does your ignorance extend, you addle-brained excuse of breathing flesh.” No, really, that thought has run through our minds a lot. A lot. But I digress…
This is merely a means to recognize how NOT to speak to people in general, and families on the Spectrum in particular. As we approach April 2nd, otherwise known as World Autism Awareness Day, please be mindful that Autistic persons are no different than any other person afflicted with a chronic condition and how you see them is representative of a spectrum itself: some mild, some severe, many in between. Many on the Spectrum realize that an overwhelming number of the general public are not well versed in what Autism is, much less what Autism looks like. Our answer is: they look like you and me. It is a boy or girl with family that love them, hoping to maximize their future, hoping they make friends and become valuable, independent adults some day. Just like you and me.
It is part and parcel of being a family on the Spectrum to educate others about Autism. It is interwoven into our lives, and dominates our thoughts and routines. But we don’t mind; we’d rather tell you what it is, and what it looks like, than have you believe rumors and falsehoods. We WANT to educate you. We WANT you to be informed about the concerns we have about our children, family members and friends. We DON’T WANT you to be that one person in the crowd who doesn’t get it.
Don’t be that person.