The problem with autism isn’t autism. It’s a pervasive attitude handed down to the masses over generations. People tend to distrust what they do not understand and people are not always kind to those who stick out.
The bullying started early for me, with a teacher who’d decided that I was “too smart to act the way I did”. Society has ways of correcting people that it deems unfit. She picked on me openly in class, eventually, when the students joined in, there was nobody to stop them.
I’ve been called names – I had a list of ugly things people have called me here but decided to remove them and spare you.
We’ll just say that public school was a hostile environment, set up like a factory, made to churn out workers and catered to only one type of learning style. The inhospitable and overloading surroundings began to wear on me. I was physically ill, and my self-esteem was low. I felt worthless.
When the everyone around you is beating you down it is hard to know what you are capable of. It has taken time to get over those wounds but I still feel for that little girl and other kids like her.
As we mature, we can learn to push back against people, but the minds of growing children may be vulnerable when the abuse comes from adults. What if kids didn’t have to waste years recovering from the traumas of childhood?
What if autistic people all over the world were helped to focus on their strengths instead of being ostracized for their differences and weaknesses? What if we built these kids up instead of knocking them down over and over?
If the narrative around autism changed to one of true acceptance and kindness, would things be different? If we show people how to believe in themselves, will it make it easier for them to succeed?
The problem with autism isn’t autism. It’s society’s attitude that autism is wrong.