You may or may not know but today is World Autism Awareness Day. =)
Autism, as some of you may already know, is sometimes known as a ‘Hidden Disability.’ It is known as this mainly due to the fact Autism is a mental condition and some consider it a mental illness. If someone has a physical disability, you can see that they have a disability. If someone has Autism or a mental illness, it isn’t obvious because you can’t see it.
I’ll give you an example of a conversation I had with a tutor during my University days. He has a sister who has Autism/Aspergers. He told me that she likes to sing and dance on a bus. She was quite happy singing and dancing and I for one, see no problem with it. However, because this is not seen as ‘The Norm’ many people would glare and pass rude and hurtful remarks.
He told me:
‘My sister has special needs but like you [Me] it’s not obvious that she has Autism. If someone who has Down syndrome did a dance on a public bus then everyone would be sympathetic and be more understanding. However, if they didn’t have a look of ‘special needs’ like say ‘autism’ and they danced and sang around, they gave her cold stares.’
He also spoke about advertisements where the pictures/images are usually modelled by people who look like they have special needs. I must say that what he says is quite true. I’ve been a victim of misunderstandings many, many times. It was frustrating because I was unable to explain my ‘quirks’. Nowadays I tell you my thoughts as I can socialise much better, however, there’s still many Autistic people out there who are unable to explain their ‘quirks’. That is why World Autism Awareness Day exists, today, in order to promote the awareness of Autism.
Today’s society is a lot more aware of what Autism is, but, there are still a good number of people who remain ignorant. But, it’s important to bear in mind that it’s not necessarily their fault. Most of it is due to lack of awareness. I remember doing an Auto-Biography Performance about my life with Autism and you will be surprised how much knowledge ‘normal’ people will gain if you give them the appropriate information.
Minds can be open, even if they are narrow. =)