Saturday, 16 April 2011
Cure ignorance, not autism. I thought it should go without saying, but apparently I was wrong, so I will say it now: People with autism (adults and children) deserve to be treated with the same level of dignity as everyone else. That's not to say that people without autism are consistently treated with dignity, either, but that's another issue that I can't begin to touch here.
So, how do you treat a person with autism?
Respect our differences! Please, quit trying to strip us of every little thing that makes us autistic. Who cares if I stim when I'm alone in my apartment? Heck, who cares if I do it sometimes in public? It's part of who I am; leave it alone. Maybe, instead of getting rid of the stimming, you can look at whyI'm stimming and try to change whatever is making me uncomfortable.
Do NOT talk down to us. In my research study, all of the researchers talk to us like we're children. Now, I'll give you that in many ways, I am a child... but they speak to us in a way that I don't even talk to my friend's 2-year-old. I am a highly intelligent human being... I would venture to say that most of us in the study are more intelligent than the researchers themselves... please, treat me like the intelligent person that I am.
Involve us in decisions about us. Whether it's a behavior plan or a living situation or a huge, nationwide organization that seeks a cure for autism, we deserve to be involved in these decisions.
Respect our limitations. It's immensely frustrating to be told that I'm making it up or to get over it when I can't do something.
Back to the cure issue... first of all, don't assume that it's either good or bad. Some people want a cure and some do not. However, the way to go about finding a cure is certainly not to research prenatal testing. Why? Well, if a parent finds out that her baby-t0-be will have autism... how many will abort? Right. Not the way to do it. This world needs people with autism.