On December 18, 2007, the UN General Assembly named April 2 “World Autism Awareness Day,” which, every year since then, has kicked off World Autism Awareness Month. Days like this are necessary because, by the National Autistic Society’s estimate, approximately six million people wrongly think autism has a potential cure. Despite how far we’ve come in learning about it compared to 30 years ago, there is still a long way to go for autism to be commonly accepted as another way of living, rather than a sign of lesser intelligence.
One common fact about autism I personally would like others to know is that what may be a minor inconvenience to you can distress an autistic person past their ability to cope. In my experience, that inconvenience has been conversations. I’m often so caught up inside my own thoughts that, when someone suddenly approaches me for a conversation, I’m freaking out deep down; I cannot think of stuff to say other than single-syllable responses. I really want others to understand that about me, and to understand that others similar to me have a struggle much like mine.
In the next five years, I hope to see more knowledge of the spectrum publicly applied into everyday life so people with autism can be accepted as equals, with their unique needs also met. Northwest Center is working to accomplish that very thing, as we were founded on principles of securing education for children with disabilities so they can live fulfilling lives and have successful careers.