There is a recent recognition that when you Google “autistic people should” or “disabled people …” you get nothing but negative auto-fills. This is a response to the call to improve that situation.
People with autism should speak out. It has been the domain of service providers to speak up for and about the people we work for with unfortunate results is seems. Fortunately there is more voices now to hear. The voices of people who have autism and other developmental impairments have found forum online. You can easily find blogs, Face Book pages and groups of face to face gatherings in every town.
Why should they speak out? First because they can. And first because only by hearing about these people from these people do we have a real opportunity to understand what it means to carry these labels. Listening can correct so many miss-perceptions about what it means to live with the things other people say, promote, about those diagnosis. Listening is the only chance for that to really happen in fact.
Yes, professionals have the data. And the data is important. It creates the possibly of supports. It establishes eligibility for supports. It informs methods of support. Unfortunately if data is not balanced with the stories of the people who carry those diagnosis it can also create prejudiced stereotypes that do harm. By the very nature of the disability there are real negative issues in the lives of the person behind the diagnosis. The person often does need assistance with daily living in multiple levels of human endeavor. And sometimes that assistance is needed though out the person’s lifetime. However as soon as you get past the data and needs you find a person like any other.
You find a person that can contribute to the challenge of life. Its the common challenge we all face. And the fact is people who have autism and other disabilities can contribute to living in that common challenge. They can offer solutions that were created specifically for them but end up benefiting us all. And how would we come to know that? By listening. And to listen and hear someone has to be speaking.
People with autism should speak out. Speak up. Help us all understand a way of viewing the human condition that not all of us know about. Help us all to be more human.
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