Real Autism Awareness

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It’s Autism Awareness Day . . . So let’s be aware . . . That if you’ve met one autistic person, then you’ve met one autistic person.

The average life expectancy of an autistic person may be only 36. Autistic people should be valued and have the same rights to live and flourish as other living beings. The stereotypes most often portrayed by the media such as sensitivity to noise or bright lights, not wanting to be touched, and other well-accepted but overgeneralized notions do not apply to every autistic person or even probably most of them. Likewise very, very few are savants or music virtuosos.

Let’s acknowledge that teachers who take extra time and effort with special needs kids are awesome!

Autistic people can be at least as empathetic and compassionate as others — some even more so. Only 17 percent of autistic young adults are able to live independently. Let’s be aware that the autism spectrum is circular and three-dimensional — not linear. Regular outdoor exercise may be more helpful and beneficial to autistic people than pharmaceutical drugs. Not all autistic people are capable of special telepathic relationships with animals and not all autistic people are cut out for being silicon valley software engineers, but some are.

Autistic people have a wide range of skills, interests and abilities just like neurotypical people. Let’s be aware that parents, educators and caregivers may take literal physical and psychological beatings. Moreover, let’s be aware that all autistic people are a special gift to the world and their communities — they can teach us more about ourselves than we would ever learn on our own.

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