Today is World Autism Awareness Day, a day set aside to reflect on this “dis”order and its impact on so many people around the globe. Autism, considered a developmental disorder by many, affects 1 out of every 54 children born. It impairs, or as we at Avery+Madisson prefer to view it, adds complexity to people’s ability to communicate and interact.
Rather than focus on the perceived disadvantages it brings the person with autism, let’s choose to recognize how this diagnosis compels us to interact and engage differently. One scientist coined the term “neurodiversity”, which encompasses perceived disorders such as autism. Neurodiversity suggests that those with autism think and behave differently than the “neurotypical” person. In taking this perspective, no value is assigned to the mental and neurological characteristics that drive the differences between those with autism and others.
Although the challenges of being on the autism spectrum come with their drawbacks, especially socially, there are notable positives associated with the diagnosis:
Better than average memories
Outperform “neurotypical” people on auditory and visual tasks
Higher than average levels of intellectual curiosity
Less likely to be prone to socially deviant behavior
Highly skilled at connecting patterns
Committed to accomplishment
Today and beyond, let’s welcome the challenge to adopt a new view of autism. See it as more than a disorder. See it as a way of thinking and living that makes someone else’s life experience different than any other person’s life experience. That’s something we all share in common – no one’s life experience is exactly that of someone else’s.
To learn more, visit Autism Speaks (https://www.autismspeaks.org/).