Does the general public still harbor misconceptions and false beliefs about autism?
There are still so many people that don’t have a realistic or accurate picture of what autism is. This includes how it influences the thinking of the individual who has it, or how to support people on the spectrum to allow them to deliver their many gifts and talents. (Yes, people with autism have many gifts and talents.)
Recognizing Gifts & Talents
My mother used to say “…the proof is in the pudding.” She meant that actions speak louder than words. When talking about autism, this is often true.
The proof that there are still secret, inaccurate beliefs maintained about autism is in the way people with ASD are thought about and treated in our society at large.
I hear complaints from parents every day about their child being misunderstood, mistreated, bullied, or taken advantage of by someone with no understanding, no compassion, and no willingness to change!
The misconception that autism is some sort of mental retardation, a disease, or some character defect issue still runs rampant through our society.
Much to the dismay of parents of kids on the spectrum everywhere, that includes in our public school and healthcare systems, amongst employers, and perhaps most painfully, among the peers our children are growing up with who use words like emo, stupid, retarded and idiot to describe the people with autism they encounter. (To learn more about how to sustain a healthy, functional, and satisfying life with a person on the Autism spectrum check out Autism and the Rest of Us.)
As experts in the area of autism, we would like to share a perspective that we feel is far more accurate, compassionate and useful.
Let’s work together to ease the struggles for understanding that our loved ones with ASD still face daily.
The National Autism Academy Champions These Beliefs:
- The education and understanding of those around the person with autism is the solution to the growing autism challenges faced in the world at large. (For more detailed information about education and understanding, learn about the National Autism Academy.)
- Autism effects every member of the family.
- The key to success in working with someone with autism is focusing on building the individuals strengths and offering support where needed; this requires a deep understanding of how individuals with ASD process, record, and view the world around them.
“The key to success…is focusing on building the individuals strengths and offering support where needed”
- An individual with autism (and the way they think) is not sick, broken, wrong or bad. They process the world in a different way than those who are neuro-typical, and when we judge them by traditional standards, we all lose.
- The world needs to meet individuals on the autism spectrum part way wherever possible. Demanding that an individual with ASD figure out how to “fit in” to a social environment without regard for their differences is a disservice to the individual.
- With the proper training and support, individuals with autism are able to live full and productive lives to the same degree that they would if they were not on the autism spectrum.
- Autism is best characterized as a diff-ability, rather than a disability. Individuals with autism have great contributions to make to the world.
Won’t you please join us in adopting more positive and powerful beliefs about people with autism?
Please share this with someone else to help spread the word … and change the secret (but inaccurate) beliefs! (Click here to read more about Why Does Autism Appreciation Really Matter?)