This post was inspired by Musings of an Aspie’s post, I Am Not Temple Grandin. Please check out her post, it’s well worth the read.
When someone finds out your child has Autism, do they drop famous names such as, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, or Temple Grandin, or do they reference the movie Rain Man? Maybe it’s better they relate your Autism experience to these examples than just stare at you, because that’s the reaction I receive the most when I mention my son has Autism.
I’ve also heard references to the above famous names when I tell others about my son having Autism. I’ve also been given blanket statements like, “People with Autism are SO smart.” Yes, they are, but intelligence looks different for every person on the spectrum.
My son is nonverbal, we see glimpses of his intelligence at times, but in other ways life is difficult because he doesn’t understand our world. We have to live in his, which has taught me so much, and try to bring him into ours continually so he can function in life.
I love the post I Am Not Temple Grandin by Musings of an Aspie, she so eloquently describes the diversity in people with Autism, addressing marriage, jobs, and personalities.
People on the spectrum are just that, people.
They are unique individuals just like everyone else. Problem is everyone else wants to put them in a box. If they’re high functioning or have Aspergers, they’re like those famous people I mentioned earlier, and expectations are placed on them, as if they presume they’re a savant. If someone is low functioning, people want to associate them with someone, albeit non-famous, who is lower functioning.
I don’t think it’s so bad for people to make associations in Autism, but they need to be careful to not place those expectations on others. Also, mentioning the Autistic Greats to parents may make them feel discouraged. We don’t need to be reminded of the awesome geniuses related to the Autism name (we already know all about them – I think Temple has some great insight), we need to be able to focus on our child’s individual greatness.