History of Autism …in a nutshell

I found this video on another blog (thanks Angel :-)) and thought it was worth sharing here too. Autism is a “way of being” that has been around far longer than medical science has known anything about it. There has been speculation that many historical figures may have had autism or other ASDs, as outlined in this Wikipedia article. The following  brief video gives some perspective on the very recent time frame over which knowledge and understanding of autism has developed.

As more and more is understood about autism, people’s attitudes are gradually changing for the better, but such change is slow. Abuse, no matter how minor, is never acceptable. This includes the taunting and outright bullying inflicted on autie/aspie kids by supposedly “normal” kids in mainstream schools — something I am all too familiar with through personal experience — and other forms of mistreatment of autistic children and adults, due in part to people’s ignorance about autism and how it can manifest in a person’s behaviour, but mainly I believe, to the inability of our society in general to be at ease with and accept people who are different. This intolerance of difference is something that needs to change.

As Ari Ne’eman, a major supporter and voice behind the Neurodiversity Movement, has said:

We need to stop making autism advocacy about trying to create a world where there aren’t any autistic people, and start building one in which autistic people have the rights and support they deserve…

…The neurodiversity movement takes the concepts of self-determination and equal legitimacy that we as a society have applied to differences of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and other disabilities, and applies them to the fact that people are born with different types of minds as well. Instead of asking, “How do other people think we should be?” we’re asking, “What do we want for our own lives?”


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