Did you grow up at a school where there was one person that just stood out a little bit? Maybe they wouldn’t talk to you, they would just repeat what you said. Maybe they would never look at you, they would always look away. Maybe they would not even talk to anyone, just mutter. This person most likely had ASD (autism spectrum disorder), or as you’ve heard of it, autism.
Autism is indeed a serious problem, not because of the autistic people, but because of the others who don’t know why they never talk, or why they stand out. These people are not bad, they just don’t understand why autistic kids are not able to communicate as easily as we are. As Steve Summers, who was diagnosed with autism as an adult, wrote in the article “10 Tips on How to Communicate with Autistic People” posted on Autismum.com: “Things that come naturally to you take extra effort by us.” This means that it will take real effort to express your feelings, when we would just say, “I’m happy,” or “I’m sad.”
Communication is one of the main human capabilities. It allows us to work together. It even allows us to entertain each other. There is nothing wrong with autistic kids, teenagers, or grown ups. These people are not ignorant or dumb, and they can understand everything you say, probably even more than you. They only have limited communication capabilities, maybe only muttering or saying “yes” or “no.”
An aide to Herbert Hoover Middle School said that some people have comprehension capabilities, and some have talking capabilities. One of the best ways to communicate with autistic kids is through pictures. In truth, autistic kids will understand you, if you talk to them in the right way. A good way of communicating is to have them read what you are trying to say because then they are copying you, but still getting it.
According to Wikipedia.org, Hans Asperger was born in Austria in February 8, 1906. As a kid, he stood out and was different from his classmates. Hans graduated from the University of Vienna in 1931, and began studying autism. He found what was then called “Asperger’s syndrome.” Sadly, his work was unnoticed until after his death, on October 21, 1980. “Asperger’s syndrome” remained one of the most frequently diagnosed syndromes until autism spectrum disorder was discovered. These are pretty much the same thing, but most people do not know that.
The autism spectrum is the categorization for the different levels of autism. For example, Aspergers syndrome is a point on the spectrum. As Mr. Duncan of Herbert Hoover Middle school said, “The thing about autism is that it is a spectrum disease. One child with autism could be completely different than another.” If you have ever met someone who is noticeably high on the spectrum, you have probably also noticed that sort of little tic that they have. This is normal and you should not freak out, but as Mr. Duncan said, offer some sensory input, for example, a gentle squeeze on the shoulder.
Autism is a problem, in the way that it is hard to communicate, but it can still be helped. We can all learn that if someone is autistic they aren’t dumb, and there are ways to communicate with autistic kids, such as with pictures.
If you want to learn more, go to Autismspeaks.org.