Let's End the Stigma Surrounding Autism

By: Alonna Acord (@troubleddragons)

Autism is the third most common developmental disorder and affects over 400,000 people, and this is just Americans. As many of you may know autism seems to be found more in males than females. Autism does not have a known cause, but it is accepted that it's caused by abnormalities in the brain structure or function. 

It seems that people who are uneducated about autism, don't see the kids/adults like "normal" people. Many see their lack of social skills as them being "weird," "annoying," you name it. In reality, this is one of the downsides to autism. This can ring from isolation (as in not wanting to engage in social situations), little talking or even excessive talking. 

One big, very important thing to remember about autism is that autism is a developmental disorder, not a learning disorder! While yes some may be affected by learning at the same pace as "ordinary" people, many are so smart. It's quite incredible to listen to them speak about the things they know. 

I believe there is this negative stigma associated with autism that people with autism are mean or rude. I think this comes from their lack of social skills. In reality, most of the time these are some of the nicest people. Just talk to them, get to know them. They're just like us but have some differences. But doesn't everyone have differences?

From my experience with working with children with autism, I know that interacting with them may be difficult, scary, awkward, etc., but they are people. It's easier just to act like you would with other friends. Believe it or not, the verbal individuals with autism will usually carry out a conversation (if initiated) to the best of their abilities. You can learn so much from and about them when you do take the time to talk to them, and it's truly beautiful.

If you were wondering the day in a life of a person with autism is quite similar to anyone's everyday life. Of course, there are exceptions, for example, they may struggle in social situations or struggle to deal with different stimuli that they are sensitive to.

As the cause of autism, there is also no known cure. Although some kids with autism may improve at 4-6 years of age, 46% of adults with autism still live with their parents, and only 12% have full-time employment. Let's end all the negative stigma associated with autism. These people are so worth the effort to do that!

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