Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Beyond Autism Stereotypes

This is the month of Autism awareness.

 I am on Hopeful Parents writing about Autism Steretypes today. If you have a minute join me there

If you dont like to click on links read on

Beyond Autism Stereotypes

"So is it true that to bring on labor, Indian women drink a glass of water in which their MIL has dipped their toe"?H one of R's lead therapists asks me breathlessly one day

She has just returned from adoption training and they are sensitizing them to the different cultures that they may adopt a child.

It's cultural sensitization training.
"Never heard of it?" I smile back "Maybe true in some part of India - India is a huge -it would be like me meeting the Amish people and then assuming that all Westerners avoided technology"

In the past I have been asked about baby throwing, eyeball eating ( thank you Indiana Jones) and elephant ownership( I wish ) .

Here is my problem with stereotypes.

While many are based in truth – none are completely true.

It's the same with Autism stereotypes.

People who don't know much about Autism will meet R will tell us "he does not seem really autistic at all .. he just seems different"

He does not seem ASD – to those that do not know Autism - because he does not fit the media stereotype of either the unhappy child in his own world or the intellectual savant that will help you win at cards

The media specializes in extremes and stereotypes

The reality ? Not so much

April is the month of Autism Awareness.

Many of my kind - Special needs mums and dads are sharing their stories

Each of our stories is different because the way Autism has so many versions
( Even though from a distance we look alike )

Because of the hard work of many organizations- Autism awareness today is different that Autism awareness 10 years ago.

Characters with autism /autistic traits are starting to show in Mainstream media regularly – Max on Parenthood , Lizbeth Salander in the Millenium series, Mr Monk etc

I think as a society most of us are aware of Autism

But I think what we still have a way to go with Autism understanding and acceptance

And in thinking beyond stereotypes

For autistic kids are all unique individuals – just like typically developing kids are

Autistic children are not defined by their autism just as typically developing kids are not defined by their typicalness

And that is what I would like to say in the month of Autism Awareness


Anonymous said...

Great post- I actually read it over there because I saw that one first. :)

Just wanted to let you know that I moved blogs- my huband and I decided to start blogging together, so we're at http://www.bothsidesofthecoin1.blogspot.com now.

Have a good day!

Lizbeth said...

Well said! I get the sterotypes--expecting my son to be like another kiddo on the spectrum. We also get it with our culture--my husband is Asian--I once had someone ask if we cooked with a wok! I'm much more understanding now and try to see their vantage point. Often times people assume things out of ignorance and they're not trying to be mean. I get that and try to help.

Rachel said...

You seem to be able to strike that perfect balance between educating me and making me laugh/smile!

Dipping their toe? Never even heard of that stereotype!

And as always, so much of what you say can be applied to many other areas of the world... I find that my biggest challenge in communicating with others tends to be stereotypes about "deaf and dumb" people. Thanks for writing how you encounter it too!

Anonymous said...

Ha! I am Irish. People always ask me if I like Guiness, Shepherd's pie, and if I really have red hair. Oh, wait. Those ARE true!

Seriously, though, great post. I get really sick of family expecting my son to develop a Rain Man obsession or their cinstant surprise that he is social. *sigh*

MommyToTwoBoys said...

Ewww, I would never drink anything my MIL had dipped her toe in, even if I was two weeks overdue!

Great post. I couldn't agree more. Sometimes when my son is doing something I know is due to his Autism and other parents are looking at him strangely, I deep down inside want him to start flapping or something. So they know he has an invisible disability. Because, as you said, most people just have no idea.

By the way, along these lines, head to my blog and see what some incredibly rude and ignorant person had to say about our kids.

Þorgerður said...

Ha ha, all Icelanders are artists and drunks and we all believe in elves... true!

Barbara said...

Which is why prognoses are so unhelpful.


Anonymous said...

Loved your post, being from india, I specially liked the indiana jones part, once I was travelling in illinois state stopped in a small village for food, the restaurent owner asked you guys are from india, and there are snake chamers in every street, we all had a good laugh.

Big Daddy Autism said...

Yup. Nicely stated, K.

Li said...

K, do you know that Parents magazine is featuring autism bloggers this month? You should submit a post!


kathleen said...

What could I possibly add to that wonderful post? accept to nod my head and say "yup"..:)

Rachel said...

wonderful post- beyond the autism diagnosis, all our kids our individuals :)

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