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Essay:An open letter from a guy with autism.
Okay, so i have Aspergers Syndrome, an Autism spectrum disorder, for those who dont know. I am personally am very open about it, i can operate on a level comparable to an average person, this isnt due to random bullshit such as chelation therapy or any of that stuff, it is due to the large amounts of support i have gotten throughout my life from many great people, the most important of them my parents.
Autism cannot really be "cured"
I strongly belive autism can't be "cured" but they can be helped in order to operate on a level comparable to your normal human being, albiet a quirky one at that, but i can function as a normal human being. Now i my parents helped me out alot, they sent me to a school for kids with learning differences, and battled my counties education system for years to get me what i needed to suceed. I also cant thank a particular school enough, im not going to put its name here for security purposes, but they helped me an insane amount. The teachers knew how to deal with kids like me and the teachers just tought well. They tought on a level at which you would understand, and you actually knew your teachers like you would know your friend. The classes were small and ever indvidual got attention and got help, it was the best school i have ever went to. My parents have not succumbed to the false hope and random bullshit that some of the autism community likes to push upon people, they were rational and figured out the only way they could help me was to get the right people together. They also dont treat my autism as a disability, they treat me like a normal human being, just with slight quirks.
High functioning autism isnt a disability
I personally belive that high functioning autism is not a disability, it is more like a difference. I hate how the media portrays autistic people, specifically the high functioning one (i cant speak for the lower functioning autstics). They treat us like we have a disability or cannot do anything on our own. I hated a recent news story where it was reporting on how two basketball teams let an autistic kid shoot a few baskets and in the story it states "And he even made a basket". That implies that it would have been difficult for him to make a basket, he was the manager of the basketball team, and the presenter implied that it was impressive that he made a basket, this perfectly defines the stigma behind autism, it is ridiculous and incorrect.
Autism in the media
The media seems to treat autistic people in two ways. Savants, which make up a small part of most children with autism, and disabled people. The latter seems to be more common in the media especially news casts. This generates a terrible sigma surrounding autism which creates a perfect breeding ground for psuedoscience. The media repeatedly sets autism awareness back with its attitudes on autism, just take a recent republican presidential debate for that matter, almost every canidate said that vaccines cuase autism, this is toxic for the autism community, and this stigma around autism need to be removed.
A new strategy
Now i think that autism awareness needs to change gear. Right now what we need to do two things, we need to get rid of the stigma around autism, and second, we need to pump more money into researching the cause instead of a cure. Removing the stigma surrounding autism removes the breeding ground for bullshit and psuedoscience and it removes the fear, uncertainty, and doubt that grips parents when they are told their parents have autism. Then we need to focus less on a cure for autism, and more on a cause. Finding a cause also kills all of the BS psuedoscience at the source, and then a cure (if there is one) will come much more easily if we can find the cause. For now though, we just need to make sure that autistic children get the support they need from their parents and school systems, if we can do that it will help a lot of autistic kids integrate better into society.