Autism Spectrum Disorder is the name applied to individuals who have a particular neurological difference and myriad related symptoms. At the core neurodiversity; having a wide variety of different ways of thinking, is good for the entire world. Every person born with or without Autism has the potential to enrich his or her community. Alternate perspectives, different intelligences and variations of creativity are amazing gifts.
But lets talk about the dark side; sensory sensitivities, communication issues, social confusion, pain, anxiety, depression, gastro-intestinal problems and a compromised immune symptoms. All of these issues are incredibly common in people with ASD.
Let’s look at the two parenting approaches:
- Positive; There is nothing wrong with Autism. This can lead to parents without an emotional outlet and the autistic person is left questioning their lack of success.
- Negative; Autism is a horrific disorder. Parents are left to despair for their child’s future and the autistic person identifies themselves as fundamentally flawed & wrong.
But Lisa you have just identified that both methods destroy the autistic person’s self-esteem. Yes I have and yes they do! That’s why we need a new language.
We need to separate the neurological difference from the many horrible co-morbidities!
Parents, family, therapists, communities and autistic people need to celebrate the enrichment neurodiversity brings. Benefits of Autism can include enhanced intelligence & creativity (so much brain room not wasted on social junk), enhanced senses, attractiveness (yes there have been studies), and apparently neurotypicals find the sound of laughter of autistics more soothing and enjoyable than the sound of ‘normal’ laughter (Oh I so wish I could remember where I read about that study).
Then we can join together to fight the horrible co-morbidities. Pain, nausea, sickness; we autistic people don’t enjoy these (not even the self inflicted). Why would our loved ones be happy that this was happening to us either? Do you think we enjoy not being able to talk, having melt downs, etc.? Of course not! So you don’t have to enjoy those aspects.
We need to change the language of Autism so we can differentiate between the individual, the neurological differences, and the destructive symptoms. So a distraught parent doesn’t have to say “I had a bad day because my child is autistic”. They can say “My child and I had a bad day because their co-morbidities were acting up, weren’t they darling even though we both tried”.
Love the person, welcome the autism, recognise there are challenges and gifts, work together to cure or reduce the unhelpful symptoms and co-morbidities & try to avoid maladaptions.
Thank you helpfulhev for giving me this idea with your beautifully written post:
This lady started following me just yesterday . I am so impressed & I really hope we can become better acquainted.