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How Do We Put the Spotlight on ASD?

10 Sep

How do you teach someone about something that they don’t know about? If you are considering moving on to a different post or different page because of the lack of clarity of that statement, be warned that it is purposefully vague. A few days ago, I asked people to provide me blog topics because I was in a bit of a creative funk. Following my earlier post about my exchange with the Internet guy, a parent asked me to blog about how in the world we explain autism to people who know nothing about it. I’ve been thinking about that topic for quite some time, trying to decide how to think about and how to approach such a topic.

Think about a bookstore. There are hundreds of sections and sub-sections. Photography. Test prep. History. Crosswords. Literature. Children’s literature. Black history. Civil war. Nature. Cooking. Dieting. Self-help. What section do you frequent? I recently began exploring to the photography section, as I have purchased a DSLR and am learning the craft slowly but surely. I noticed the section before, but I never picked up a book, flipped through its pages, or considered learning. Was I interested? Maybe from a pure state of curiosity. Did I need to look in that section? Nope. Didn’t own a camera. What’s more, it’s a complicated endeavor. As a matter of fact, everything is a complicated endeavor with pages and pages of information read on topics both large and small. ASD is no different — a huge topic, with millions of voices, and a lot to learn. So, what tips the scales in the direction of wanting to know more?

Quite frankly I believe it is need. A teacher has a student with AS placed in her classroom. A camp counselor has a camper with autism in his camp group. A parent has a child diagnosed with ASD. Suddenly, this unknown entity becomes pertinent enough to warrant, even necessitate exploration and fact-gathering. Recently, I was asked to serve as an expert witness for a case in which an adult with AS was hit by a train. The lawyer said it best: “I’d heard of it but never thought much about it until now.” So, how do we make ASD not just visible with a puzzle piece but visible with a significant impact that warrants explanation?

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2 Comments

Posted by on September 10, 2011 in ASD in the Grand Scheme

 

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2 responses to “How Do We Put the Spotlight on ASD?

  1. AutisticSpeaks

    September 10, 2011 at 8:04 PM

    Funny that you ask. My neighbor asked me, “How would I know if I had autism? What are the three main traits?” I said communication challenges, social challenges, and restricted interests/repeitive behaviors. My other neighbor, standing next to us (an older gentleman, kind of socially clueless, can’t hear most of what you say, etc) shouted, “BUT YOU DON’T HAVE ANY OF THAT! You talk, and you played checkers with me; that’s social. Who ever said YOU have autism?” What I was thinking was, “Just because you’re more socially clueless than I am, just because you don’t notice when I wander away when you’re still talking to me, just because it never crosses your mind that the reason I sometimes ignore you is because I don’t have speech available…” But I didn’t. I just said, “I do.”

     
    • jholverstott

      September 11, 2011 at 8:22 AM

      I’m glad you said “I do” and, in many ways, I am sad that your integrity was questioned. I find it happens all of the time if people aren’t “autistic” enough. We want to put the spotlight on some things, but not all. I appreciate that you shared.

       

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