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Challenge: Kids with Special Needs

Autism isn’t a gift or a superpower for everyone

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Autism isn’t a gift for everyone. Autism isn’t always a superpower.

Celebrating differences is great, but it’s important to remember that many on the spectrum do not see their autism as a gift. Many autistics will never live independently nor learn to communicate, verbally or not.

When I see moms being shamed on social media for putting their kids in therapy, it makes me sad. We’re accused of trying to make our children “normal,” but it’s such a reductive way to see therapy. We don’t want our children to be normal. We want them to be safe and we want them to learn to communicate to decrease their frustration — and yes, ours too.

The message that we should let autistics be autistic if they’re happy is damaging to the most severely affected. Charlie is extremely happy running in front of cars. He also loves eating inedible items and self-harming. Should I let him do it because he’s happy?

I don’t have many insights into Charlie’s feelings, but I can tell you one thing for certain: Charlie doesn’t like not being able to communicate beyond very basic needs. His distress when he can’t make himself understood speaks for itself. Should I just let him suffer from his lack of communication in the name of neurodiversity? Because this issue does not improve on its own.

No. I won’t stop.

I’m all for celebrating the small successes and the things that make us different. Autistic people aren’t “less than” but we can’t just call autism a gift. This should be something for the autistic person to decide for themselves. My autism isn’t a gift and Charlie’s isn’t either.

My wish for 2020 is that people will be kinder to each other online. A girl can dream, I know.

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