Autism is becoming one of the common birth disorders, with the newest reports released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of having 1 in 68 children in the autism spectrum. The National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities is observing the characteristics for potential early diagnosis, while many doctors across the nation work on genetic and neuroscience research to understand what causes it. The best answer they are coming up is due to genetic mutations. However, the researchers miss something very important. Autism needs to be seen from the eyes of the autistic.
As Autism Speaks Organization says, every autistic person is very unique with many having exceptional visionary, music, and other academic average and above average intellectual abilities. They are priding themselves with the talents that stand out, and they have ‘atypical’ views of the world. The biggest problem they have is the social skills with most of the time being unable to respond to the environment and socialize with other people.
In general, many don’t know what it’s like to be autistic, and the responses are very negative and judgmental. Of course, people with autism have a need to communicate, but it has to be always in a way they actually want and understand. They want to be accepted the way they are and do the things they love. Autism needs to be understood as a situation rather than a disorder, because that’s how is seen from the eyes of the autistic.
A teenage girl Carly said that people don’t know what it feels like to be her and no one can judge her actions for wanting to hit things out of the furniture and floor. She said that she needed to do that because her body felt like it was on fire, and ants were crawling up her arms. She wants to be like every other child, but she can’t. She’s battling with the inability to speak, and her only means of communicating is by writing things on a laptop. Her parents were amazed to see her write the words “hurt” and “help” for the first time at the age of eleven, even though she never went to school and she could never write or spell like other children. They were amazed by her incredible intelligence, and changed the view of their daughter. Carly now owns a blog and in the future she hopes that the voices of the many voiceless people with autism will be heard.
Another extraordinary example of an established communication between the parents and an autistic child was the case with the child prodigy Jake Barnett. Jake was diagnosed with autism at a very early age, and at the age of two he began learning mathematics. His parents notices that was what he wanted to do, and allowed him to develop himself in this area. At the age of ten, Jake dropped out of elementary school because his level of knowledge was much higher. He mastered the high school mathematics in just two weeks, and took college classes at the age of thirteen. Jake has an incredible ability to remember numbers, and speaks like an adult. When he was asked for an interview for the CBS where the knowledge was coming from, he said it was “the fourth dimension,” but he did not want to go much into the topic.
Doctors have studied him among other children prodigies, and said that he’s one in ten million. They scratch their heads on the fact that Jake can not only remember so much, but what he knows comes from somewhere else. Jake is planning to challenge everything people have learned about math and physics. His parents today say that he is just like a normal person with hardly noticeable signs of autism.
In the history of humanity, autism is one of the common things between the most intellectually developed and famous people, such as Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein, Michelangelo the painter, Amadeus Mozart, Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Thomas Jefferson, Emily Dickinson, Hans Christian Andersen, and many others. Maybe it is time for everyone to sit down and ask themselves where the communicating problem lies, what is the message of these children, and see autism with the eyes of the autistic people.
By Marija Makeska