Every week, I try to find a different angle to talk about the autism spectrum and how it can make life harder, or sometimes easier. This week, I’m going to ask YOU to give me a bit of material.
You’ve read my musings on autism. You know how I feel about my diagnosis and how I relate to others on the spectrum. Now, it’s time for me to stop talking about my own experiences and find out from both the inside, and the outside, what autism looks like.
So, if you’re reading this, I’m going to give you just five questions to think about. You don’t have to reply with your answers, but if you’d like to, it would really help me make a start on a new project I’m starting to do with autism acceptance, understanding, and most of all, how it works as a spectrum.
- What do you think of when you hear the word “autism”? (What images come to your head?)
- What was your first experience with hearing of the condition and what it meant?
- What traits do you associate with someone on the “mild” end of the spectrum?
- What traits do you associate with someone on the “severe” end of the spectrum?
- What kind of therapy do you think should be made more available to everyone on the spectrum (children and adults)?
My project will be getting opinions from the outside, from strangers who don’t know me or might not have any idea what autism is or looks like. My attention is to learn which myths of autism are most widespread, whether people view it as an illness, what kind of support people with autism are getting, what they need more support in, and how to help the general public get a real view, and accept that those who are able to become somewhat independent deserve a chance to support themselves.
One more note to think about while writing your answers, or just thinking about them: Research has shown that about 50% of people on the spectrum have average or above-average intelligence. I know there are some people on the spectrum who will always need to be cared for. But I know a lot of very intelligent people on the spectrum, and many of them, including me, would feel patronized and insulted by the idea of not being allowed to be independent.