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Autism: The Fight To Disable The Label


“Wanting to be free. Wanting to be me. Trying to make people see. And accept the real me.”

-Scott Lentine

 

Therapeutic Methods

Social skills can be difficult for someone with Autism, which is partially the reason why they are never in the spotlight. To get a feel of the challenges kids with Autism have, go to http://www.autismgames.com.au/index.html . These games help kids with this disability. After playing a couple games, the sense of difficulty they have is eye-opening, especially since these tasks are easy to any mentally capable person. I recommend games under the tabs, “Matching Emotions”, “Making Eye Contact”, and “Finding A Route.”

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Statistics About Autism:

  • As of 2016, the prevalence of Autism rose to 1 in 68 births, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.  This is nearly twice as great as the 2004 rate of 1 in 125 and almost 1 in 54 boys.
  • In June of 2014, researchers concluded that the lifetime cost of caring for someone with Autism can cost upwards of $2.4 million.
  • The Autism Society has estimated that the United States is facing $90 billion annually in costs for Autism.
  • Cost of lifelong care can be reduced by 2/3 with early diagnosis and intervention.
  • 35 percent of young adults (ages 19-23) with autism have not had a job or received postgraduate education after leaving high school.
  • It costs more than $8,600 extra per year to educate a student with autism.
  • In June 2014, only 19.3 percent of people with disabilities in the U.S. were participating in the labor force – working or seeking work. Of those, 12.9 percent were unemployed, meaning only 16.8 percent of the population with disabilities was employed.

 Representation In Media

  • “In 2008 DREDF launched the ‘Media and Disability’ program. The goal of the program is to change the focus from sensational, cloying and misinformed disability coverage that undermines the public policy and legal advances of the last 25 years to coverage that raises public awareness and helps to end disability discrimination.”
  • “Only 2.4 percent of all speaking or named characters in film were shown to have a disability in 2015, according to a new report by The Media, Diversity, & Social Change (MDSC) Initiative at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism”
  • “Of the top-grossing 100 films of 2015, 45 films failed to depict a character with a disability. Ten of the films featured a leading or co-leading character with a disability, of which four had PTSD. Only three were women. None were from underrepresented racial or ethnic groups. The majority of the characters with a disability were supporting (54.3 percent) or “inconsequential roles (32.4 percent).”
  • “The majority of characters depicted with a disability had a physical disability (61 percent). Thirty-seven percent were depicted with a mental or cognitive disability and 18 percent had a communicative disability.”
  • “Of the 2.4 percent, characters with disabilities were predominantly male. Just 19 percent of characters with disabilities were female.”
  • “71.1 percent of the characters with a disability were white. Just 28.3 percent were from underrepresented racial or ethnic groups – and none of these characters were in leading roles.”

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Mother’s Point Of View

“Autism is a disorder that hits 1 in every 66 children. Yes, the number is alarming and even though it is a big number a lot of people they never heard of it. I believe it is so very important to educate people about it so when they see someone with this disadvantage ( I would rather use this than disability) they don’t run to judge. First of all, I would like to cancel from the dictionary the word autistic kid. It is totally wrong to give this stigma to these beautiful kids. These kids have autism but they are not the autism.
Kids with autism look very normal physically but the disorder is in the brain. This is exactly why people give the mom or dad a bad look when their child is having a hard time at the store. Isn’t it enough for these parents the emotional toll they have for their life. Do they really need someone lecturing them about how to raise their kids? These parents don’t have to explain to strangers the situation especially when they have to deal with their kid at that critical time. Shedding light on this epidemic crisis is very important so parents can teach their typical kids how to deal with their peers when they are different instead of forming one group in the playground to bully the lonely kid with autism sitting alone in a corner doing some weird stuff.
Museums and public places employees need a lot of training to deal with these very special kids. These special kids have the right to discover any museum and actually enjoy their trips and have fun. The government needs to step up the plate and do something about it.
I happen to watch the news on daily bases and how many times did I hear about a clash between police officers and young adults on the spectrum disorder. How many individuals with this disorder have to be kicked from the plane or deny boarding before airport employees have the proper training?
It is a shame that we are in the most powerful country on earth yet we neglect to take care of special people.
As I recall in every presidential campaign they vow to take care of this problem but unfortunately, nothing was done whatsoever.
I really would love the media to take control of spreading awareness to normal people who rely mostly on T.V. for their info. The only time you hear about this on tv is one some genius with autism achieves something. Like few weeks ago, all the news were talking about the young adult with autism who was accepted to Harvard.Unfortunately, this is not the norm. The statistics shown about this is very very rare. There was another one that captured on tv about the high school kid who scored the winning points in a basketball game to his team. He was a hero. No doubt he was but what about all those non verbal kids and adults on the spectrum,
I wish the media would mention those on the lower end of the spectrum.
We, as individuals, should spread the word even on small levels like school, park or wherever we encounter a situation that needs attention. If we do little things at a time will sure reap a lot.
If we help any kid with special needs, believe me, it is very rewarding and sometimes you get a lot of joy yourself.
It is something you just feel it inside you.
I hope one day I will be able to do something in this area and help as many people as I can.”

-Mother of Emily, 14

Julia: A Sesame Street Puppet With Autism

Personal Story

My sister has Autism. When I was little, I saw the term as a dirty word. It meant having to explain to all my friends why she was different, and why she couldn’t go to school with me. I never had a model for inclusivity. I thought the xenophobia against her was fixed, unable to be restored. I was never given an example that those with Autism were just like me. I had never seen anyone with a disability on television. I wish I had a character, such as Julia, that has the ability to be inclusive in their unique way. Growing up without this media, the harder it was to accept. We need these images to be seen. We need to advocate for togetherness through the media.

Spotify playlist Comprised Of The “21 Songs That Have Helped People on the Autism Spectrum Cope With Sensory Overload”:

Action Plan!

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  • Educate Yourself: Read books, articles and do some research! The more you know and the less ignorance you have with this topic, the easier it is to accept those with Autism.
  • Acknowledge Existence: With the information we know, we can acknowledge the disability and make them feel included.
  • Don’t Use Offensive Language: The R word hurts. Don
  • Volunteer/Raise Awareness For Autism Awareness Month: Help organizations that support those with Autism! Be a social buddy. Help out!

Petition Against The Use Of The R Word!

https://www.change.org/p/president-of-the-united-states-refuse-to-use-the-r-word-and-show-compassion-towards-those-with-autism

Amazing Organization You Can Volunteer At/Donate To:

“Be awesome and support Best Buddies!

Everybody needs a friend. But not everybody has one. It can be very hard for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to make connections on their own. So Best Buddies matches them with a peer volunteer to form a “buddy pair”. New friends open up a whole new world of opportunities! And donations from people like you and me make local Best Buddies programs possible. Big, small, somewhere in between—your support won’t go unnoticed. Give the gift of friendship by making a donation today!”

https://bestbuddiesfriendshipwalk.org/Chicago/supporting/#memack

Awareness of Autism in the media is an issue that should affect all of us. We are all human and we all deserve to be represented.

Questions, Comments, Queries, or Concerns? Feel free to submit a comment below and let me know what you thought about my project!

Bibliography

(“What is Autism?” Autism Society. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.)

(“Media and Disability.” Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund. N.p., 04 Apr. 2016. Web. 22 Apr. 2017.)

(“New Report Shows Lack of Representation of People with Disabilities in Film.” RespectAbility. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2017.)

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COMMENTS: 2
  1. April 27, 2017 by Scott Cotton

    Thank you for raising awareness of this important issue. I learned a lot and appreciate your personal perspective.

  2. April 29, 2017 by Lucy G

    This is really well done and It is so courageous of you to incorporate your personal story and connection to this important issue. I have a cousin with an Autism Spectrum Disorder so I have been exposed to it and have gained firsthand knowledge about it. Last year in health class at my school I also made a PSA on Raising Awareness about Autism because I felt it was an extremely important issue to address because it is more common than most people think. It is true that “Love has no disability”. Great work on this project!

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