As a follow-up to yesterday’s post on Famous People With Autism, today’s post features autism quotes from well-known advocates, parents of autistic children and people with autism themselves.
Yesterday’s post emphasized how each person with autism has a unique gift and contribution to offer. Having autism may limit one’s ability to communicate their talents and interests to others, but it does not negate their power. If a person with autism receives patience and communication supports, dazzling gifts can emerge.
* Morton Gernsbacher, parent of an autistic child, says: ” … research demonstrates that autistic traits are distributed into the non-autistic population; some people have more of them, some have fewer. History suggests that many individuals whom we would today diagnose as autistic – some severely so – contributed profoundly to our art, our math, our science, and our literature.”
* Likewise, Ellen Notbohm (author of Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew), stresses the need for tenacity, as these abilities may take time to ascertain. She writes: “Patience. Patience. Patience. Work to view my autism as a different ability rather than a disability. Look past what you may see as limitations and see the gifts autism has given me.”
* Temple Grandin (prolific author, educator and advocate; also profiled in Famous People With Autism) states: “I can remember the frustration of not being able to talk. I knew what I wanted to say, but I could not get the words out, so I would just scream.” Though well-adjusted as an adult, Grandin had challenging behaviors as a child. In regard to her famous ‘squeeze machine’, Grandin makes this similarly important point: ”The squeeze machine is not going to cure anybody, but it may help them relax; and a relaxed person will usually have better behavior.”
* In a striking comment on the fallacy of normalcy, Hans Asperger (for whom Aspergers Syndrome is named), said: “Not everything that steps out of line, and thus ‘abnormal,’ must necessarily be ‘inferior.”
* Jim Sinclair, autism rights activist, spoke about the autism/identity connection: “Autism is a way of being. It is pervasive; it colors every experience, every sensation, perception, thought, emotion, and encounter, every aspect of existence. It is not possible to separate the autism from the person.”
* The last word for this post goes to Bob Wright, the co-founder of Autism Speaks. As printed on a recent Starbucks “The way I see it” cup, he advocates for early intervention in a vivid way: “Every 20 minutes- less time than it will take you to drink your coffee- another child is diagnosed with autism. It’s much more common than people think, with 1 out of every 150 children diagnosed. Learn the early warning signs of autism and if you’re concerned about your child’s development, talk to your doctor. Early intervention could make a big difference in your child’s future.”