Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Autism Success: Not so Far Away

Many parents faced with the prospect of raising an autistic child often experience a feeling of despair.  Some might feel like their life is over.  They have been told by doctors that their autistic child will never live a normal life.  I am telling my readers that this is wrong.  There is not enough known about successful individuals with autism to really judge what an individual with autism may achieve, or not achieve, in their lifetime.  There is too much emphasis placed on what someone with autism cannot do, rather than what they can do under the right conditions.

Think back to the old cliche phrase: it ain't over 'till it's over."  There is no way to judge what any child will achieve in their lifetime based upon the dismal words of professionals.  Assuming that an autistic child will be unsuccessful based upon the judgment placed upon the child at a young age is the worst thing that a parent can do for their autistic child.  I understand that professionals do not want to give any parents "false hopes" of what their child might achieve.

Think back to the greatest stories that litter the news and inspirational books throughout the world.    These people have been told, for example, that their cancer is untreatable and are faced with the prospect of months to live.  Sometimes, this dismal foreshadowing comes true.  In these cases, individuals allowed the despair of the situation to dictate their actions.  Others tell inspirational stories of people who have lived far beyond the life expectancies placed upon them by doctors.  All of these individuals have triumphed through positive human spirit.  They focused, instead on what they were told couldn't be done, but instead of why can't I do it?  This positive human spirit who has allowed many individuals to "beat" their cancer can also be applied to autism.

Parents, I implore you not to place limitations on your autistic children.  You never know what they might be able to accomplish under the right conditions.  Many individuals are writing success stories about rising far beyond any expectations that were placed upon them.  Dani Bowman, who I have mentioned in previous posts, takes her love of art and applies it to her animation company Powerlight Studios.  There is a lack of understanding of autism that places limitations of autistic children.  Take away those limitations, and watch your children surprise you.

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