As the new year arrives, people will be busy making resolutions to improve their lives, their finances and their figures.
Perhaps, the year 2014 would be a great year to make resolutions to promote acceptance of autism and self-advocacy.
Resolution number 1: Autistic persons will be recognized as being equal to neurotypical people. They are, to quote Dr. Temple Grandin, “different, not less.”
Resolution number 2: Autistic people will not be judged by their social shortcomings. They will be given a fair chance to express who they are in their own way and in their own time.
Resolution number 3: Parents of autistic children will not be judged as bad parents when their children have meltdowns in public. Assistance is welcomed (picking up packages, offering a place in line at the checkout stand), but criticism is not.
Resolution number 4: People will understand that empathy can exist even if it is not shown in a conventional way. Empathic feelings are internal and cannot be determined by a person’s actions or failure to act and react.
Resolution number 5: Well-meaning individuals will stop focusing on a cause or cure for autism and Asperger’s syndrome and concentrate on providing services to assist parents and better ways to communicate with autistic people.
Resolution number 6: People will stop calling autism and Asperger’s syndrome “made up” diseases. Decades of research have proven their existence and the fact that they make people uncomfortable does not make them fake. Autistic people cannot just stop being autistic.
Autism can be best managed through communication and therapy. It’s not always easy, but people with autism have unique minds that see the world in a different way, opening the doors to new ideas and inventions if given a chance.
It’s worth the effort to give them that chance.