Who can represent the autistic world? Who is representative enough to be a role model for this population? The argument here is whether or not people with Autism should represent the autism culture. Can they handle standing on a stage and talking about what it means to be autistic? Why the hell not?! Does a hearing person stand in front of a bunch of deaf people talking about the discipline it takes to learn sign language and try to associate with people of the hearing nature? Does a seeing person talk to a group of blind people talking about how not being able to see has been either a gift or a curse? How could a typical person possibly know the hardships and simplicities of a life with autism? And if that typical person was told exactly what to say by a person with autism, why not cut out the middleman and have the person writing down the words actually say them out loud.
I guess I can understand both sides. One side of the coin says that someone with Autism is very unpredictable. I’ve worked with this population for a long time and I know how unpredictable some people can get. With the chance of temper tantrums and possible melt downs it could really damage the reputation of a company. Let’s detach the autistic characteristic for a few moments. Let’s try to give this example in a forum that everyone would understand, for example, Steve Jobbs. Despite his current state, he held forums all the time to announce new products, discuss plans for the future, and address his public. Let’s say one day he simply couldn’t go on stage and talk to thousands of people that had looked forward to listening to such a brilliant and legendary idol in our society speak. People would be disappointed and upset with Apple and Steve Jobbs for not holding the conference that was originally promised. Now let’s reintroduce the autistic aspect. If the speaker was autistic and had some reason for not going on stage and representing a company, the company would be at fault for giving this person too much responsibility for them to handle.
And yet another argument as to why a person with autism should not represent a company trying to advocate for autism is that of an uneducated person in my opinion, but you can tell me what you think. Some say that if a person can represent a company well and can understand the responsibility of being a mentor and role model is clearly not representative of the community. They aren’t as low functioning as a person in this population because they are able to publicly speak and hold themselves well therefore, not truly autistic. This is just an absurd statement. I have met people who are on the autism spectrum that are brilliant with words and have serious social problems and doesn’t make them any less autistic than the next person.
These companies are supposed to help people with the autism spectrum. So why not include the people they’re helping in the process? This statement “something about us… without us” is unacceptable. If there are people with autism who want to help others who are worse off than they are or who are even better off, why not let them? Who is it hurting to include them in this experience. Maybe they can improve themselves by helping others. Anyone can improve themselves by helping others.
I was asked to discuss what I wanted to learn while in this course. I want to understand how the autism culture has grown. I want to be able to go back to my job at home and really relate to the parents who are experiencing what their kids are going through. I want to be able to introduce these cultural changes to the adults I work with that maybe they don’t know about. I want to learn everything I can so that I can help others on the autism spectrum and with other developmental disabilities to experience life to the fullest.