Is autism appreciation more than a socially acceptable, politically correct goal?
Yes, absolutely! When you interact with a person on the autism spectrum from a place of appreciation born of real understanding, it categorically changes their experience.
I found this image when I was looking at stock photos under the category of Autism Awareness. It was mentioned that these are ideal for t-shirt graphics. A t-shirt is a really nice way to express support but …
There is a really important reason to do more than be aware and express support with a t-shirt. When you live with and love an individual on the autism spectrum, you get to witness first-hand the pain and struggling that individuals with autism spectrum disorder experience in life. (Click here to read The Secret Parenting Society: An Unfortunate Secret That We Know But They Don’t.)
While we all experience some difficulty on our journey through life, individuals with autism have difficulty times ten! Even the most well-adjusted and functional individuals often feel like they are on the outside looking in when it comes to social situations, friends, and groups of people.
Recently I was spending some quality time with my 25-year-old son on the spectrum. He had just come from work, and was feeling exhausted from another 10-hour shift.
He is doing so well in so many ways!
“…[my son] expressed to me his extreme despair that the world doesn’t ‘get’ him, and he believes it never will.”
He drives, has held a job for more than 3 years, secured a major promotion to a position of responsibility and management, and faithfully arrives at his workplace on time, dressed appropriately, and ready to work hard for his full shift. I admire his tenacity and ability to overcome the difficulties many individuals with autism have with employment! He has worked so hard to understand what is expected and to deliver excellent job performance!
And yet, sitting with him having coffee, he expressed to me his extreme despair that the world doesn’t “get” him, and he believes it never will. (Click here to read Surviving Their Suffering at Any Age.)
There was a hopelessness and helplessness inherent in what he was saying that brought to light the importance of not just Autism Awareness, or even Autism Acceptance, but the desperate, personal, human need individuals with ASD have for Autism Appreciation.
The sense of desperation for even a little bit of the willingness to be understood was so clear in what my son expressed.
He is not unique in this either.
“So many young adults with ASD feel helpless to find their way in a world they don’t fully understand.”
So many young adults with ASD feel helpless to find their way in a world they don’t fully understand.
Many have reached a level of despair and hopelessness that winds up leading to discouragement, depression, and a sense of being doomed to be isolated and misunderstood. (Click here to read more about Chronic Loneliness Syndrome.)
Even individuals that are able to overcome the many challenges in life’s functional contests are often left at a loss when it comes to having friends, dating, or marrying and starting a family.
I know deep in my heart that when the world begins to truly appreciate the difficulties those with ASD experience in relationships, and (without making excuses for them) take that into account when interacting on a personal level, it will provide great relief to many of the wonderful, sensitive, loving individuals navigating life with autism.
After all, each of us needs to be given some latitude at times to allow for our humanhood – whether or not we are on the autism spectrum.