A diagnosis of autism was once thought to be a life sentence. A human being imprisoned in their own mind.
Autistic children were once thought incapable of doing anything more than performing a few basic life skills.
In the days before autism was a diagnosis, some people were just eccentric.
There were smart ones who couldn’t keep up with small talk.
There were the temperamental artists who would have tantrums when their work was interrupted.
There were people who, by society’s standards were just a bit “off.”
What may have made some of them successful, while others were obscure and forgotten, is their support system.
Some families could be more supportive than others, and a few lucky eccentrics had understanding spouses or assistants at their side.
A person can have the most amazing talent inside, but without social skills, the chances of it coming out and enhancing the quality of their lives or benefiting society, are slim to none.
A mentor can coach an autistic person to improve performance in social interactions and interviews. They can monitor inappropriate stimming (self-stimulating behaviors) and suggest substitute behaviors.
The most important thing they can do is accept the person. They can understand that although the person can learn new things and acquire new skills, they will always be autistic.
Low self-esteem and depression are common comorbid conditions with autism and Asperger’s syndrome.
A little understanding and patient support can mean the difference between an anti-social outcast and a prosperous, creative genius.
It takes a special person to help a special person.