Sunday, October 28, 2007

National Autistic Society Calls for Realistic Autism Awareness

EDITOR's NOTE: Edited as per commentary received from 'Amused'

A badly needed breeze of fresh air and common sense is blowing westward across the Atlantic from the UK's National Autistic Society. In its Think Differently campaign the National Autistic Society UK is pointing out a lack of public knowledge about the realities of autism. Public belief that all autistic persons possess Rain Man or savant skills may be preventing autistic persons from accessing needed services.

"such a widespread belief could be detrimental to the vast majority of people with autism who do not have such special abilities and are struggling with significant communication problems.

It is estimated that one in 100 people in Wales has an autism spectrum disorder.

NAS Cymru, which launches a major campaign today, said that there is a lack of public understanding and awareness about what it really means to live with autism and autism spectrum disorders."

Sadly, even while organizations like the UK National Autistic Society try to offer the public a more realistic understanding of autism, some persons and organizations still try to obscure those often hard realities. While almost all parents find joy in their children, autistic or not, there are actually some parents, professionals, and high functioning autistic persons hard at work, trying to convince the world that we should find joy in autism, a serious neurological disorder. Fortunately, parents, family members and responsible professionals for the most part are not buying into such nonsense and are fighting hard to obtain services and a better life for their autistic loved ones, children, youths and adults.


6 comments:

Amused said...

Harold - the guide is produced by NAS. NAS Cymru is just the Welsh branch of NAS.

From the PDF:

The first step to making sure your environment
is autism-friendly is to look at it from the point of
view of a person with autism. This guide contains
pointers to help you do this, but it is no substitute
for the real thing: the best way is to ask people
with autism what they think
, what barriers they face
and what would make a difference.


........

Be as positive and supportive as
possible, both in terms of the approaches you adopt
and your expectations.


You agree with that Harold?

Autism Reality NB said...

Amused, I am glad that you are ... amused.

And I thank you for the correction re NAS/NAS Cymru.

Yes I do believe that - to the extent it is possible - asking what an autistic person wants should be the first step as with anyone who can communicate their needs and perspective. Do you agree that autism is a spectrum of different disorders, that not all autistic persons are savants, and some have very low communication skill and understanding of language?


I have worked with high functioning autistic persons/persons with Aspergers professionally and with them I communicate directly and ask them questions as I would with anyone else. Because they have the ability to express themselves and understand language.

There are some low functioning autistic persons with limited communication abilities, including my son, for whom a verbal dialogue can only be limited. I still seek to know what he wants in terms of his daily needs and provide it if appropriate.

Today I will take my son to school which, by the way he asks about it when he is not in school, by the way he smiles on his way to school he enjoys tremendously. He is in a one to one structured, ABA based, learning environment within the general school. He was removed from the mainstream classroom by us when we realized by his behavior, biting his hands and wrists, that he was overwhelmed in the classroom. That was his level and mode of "communication" and we paid attention to HIM and made changes which have worked.

It is the parents or other caregivers for lower functioning persons who must speak for these people as INDIVIDUALS. Not higher functioning autistic strangers who share a similar - but different - condition.

As to the be positive and supportive do a search of this blog using the word "Conor" and look at the pictures of my son and the joy he displays and you answer the question yourself as to whether he looks like a child who has received positive support or not? I look forward to your honest answer.

Joseph said...

It is the parents or other caregivers for lower functioning persons who must speak for these people as INDIVIDUALS. Not higher functioning autistic strangers who share a similar - but different - condition.

Yet you seem to have no problem as to what a high functioning non-autistic stranger, Jenny McCarthy, says about what autistics are, what autistics need, and so forth. I find that a bit odd.

Can you son read yet? No matter, if and when he learns to read, what do you think his opinion would be of a passage in Jenny McCarthy's book that says autistic people are soul-less?

Autism Reality NB said...

"Yet you seem to have no problem as to what a high functioning non-autistic stranger, Jenny McCarthy, says about what autistics are, what autistics need, and so forth. I find that a bit odd."

I have said several times that I support Ms. McCarthy's right to speak out for her child. As to her beliefs about autism cause and cure I do not share those beliefs.

I find the Neurodiversity obsession with Ms. McCarthy disconcerting. Some of the ND commentary about her has been outright offensive in nature.

If you want to disagree with her address her arguments with reason and evidence and stop attacking her just because she speaks up.

I do not object to high functioning autistic persons sharing their life experience and perspective and asserting their rights as individuals. It is when they purport to speak for low functioning autistic persons, like my son, who face much different and more severe life challenges, and when they attack parents of these children for seeking to treat or cure their autism that they cross the line.

Joseph said...

If you want to disagree with her address her arguments with reason and evidence and stop attacking her just because she speaks up.

Who has attacked her for speaking up? Are you suggesting arguments with evidence are not used?

It is when they purport to speak for low functioning autistic persons, like my son, who face much different and more severe life challenges, and when they attack parents of these children for seeking to treat or cure their autism that they cross the line.

I have yet to encounter one autistic person who has proclaimed to speak for all autistic persons. In fact, I often find they are adamant about stating they are not doing so. It's as if you don't think autistic people should have strong opinions about autism, beyond their personal experiences.

Autism Reality NB said...

Joseph

I can't take your last comment seriously. There are many examples on the internet of your friends in the Neurodiversity Club attacking Ms. McCarthy with cheap references and I have already addressed that in a previous post.

As for high functioning autistic persons purporting to speak for "all" autistics that is not what I said although there are some who use the royal "we" when describing how autistics feel, perceive etc.