I think people should be more educated about Autism. This is what I would like to convey to the general population about Autism. Autism is not a “sickness” or an “illness”. It cannot be “cured” with medications nor should people try to cure us. We don’t need cures or treatments. We need understanding and compassion. Autism isn’t “black and white”. There is no “one-size-fits-all” for Autism, hence the term Autism SPECTRUM! There are a number of ways Autism impacts individuals. Look, just because someone is lower-functioning (unable to adequately communicate) does not mean they are “dumb” or “retarded”. They are who they are for a reason. The Autism community gets so much shit it’s sickening. Sure, some are more flattering than others, but they’re mostly shit and are still doing more harm than good.
The closest thing I have ever seen to “truth in advertising” about Autism in the media, believe it or not, is SESAME STREET. There is a Muppet on Sesame Street named Julia. Julia has Autism. She is basically all the stereotypes you have ever heard about Autism (hand flapping, noise sensitivities, unable to communicate properly, etc.). I am worried about how Autism is portrayed in the media. I said this at the Capitol Building in Washington DC in March 2017. My concern is that if people who are impressionable, like little kids, see Autistic people portrayed this way on TV, they will assume all people with Autism act like that.
I think it is total bullshit that people get the impression that just because someone has Autism, they cannot function properly. What I mean by that is that they won’t live fulfilling lives or be stuck in a group home for the rest of their lives. Not even close to true. It is false and wrong to think that people on the Autism Spectrum can’t hold steady jobs, be in a relationship, or live on their own…ever. And speaking of being in relationships, I have actually heard that Autistic people cannot comprehend the idea of sex. I have Autism and I have had sex. Again, it may seem like I am giving away too much information, but this is just to prove a point. I have been with my girlfriend for 7 years now and have never been happier or felt more fulfilled. So thank you, Allie, for that. I am looking at houses to live in on my own and, again, apart from the occasional off-day, have never been happier. As for never being able to work, I currently hold 2 jobs, both pertaining to Autism.
Some people on the Spectrum may not be able to pick up on social cues or conform to social “norms”. But you know what? Fuck conforming! I like being different. And after all, what is “normal”? “Normal” is just a matter of personal opinion. How I act is my “normal”; how my girlfriend acts is her “normal”; how my dad acts, crazy as I think he is, is his “normal”; my mom’s behavior is her “normal” and so on.
I think there are a number of theories about what causes Autism and how to “cure” it or “help” people on the Spectrum. They include agencies who support people on the Spectrum (one of which I am a part of here in Baltimore), group therapy, drugs, (medications, legal marijuana, LSD, Ecstasy, etc.) and…I am not kidding when I say this…bleach enemas. The latter actually happened to a kid with Autism as an experiment and he died writhing in pain.
When it comes to Autism, do us and yourselves a favor. Do your research. Know what you are talking about, even if it is very limited information. Do not pretend to know all there is to know about Autism. You’ll just embarrass yourself.
In closing, Autism is varied. I am not privy to all the information about Autism. I am still learning new things every day about its impacts on people. Please write in about your experiences. I would love to hear from you. Thanks!