Perhaps I'm a little biased when I say this, but MY SON IS PRETTY GOSH DARN AWESOME!! He's incredibly intellegent, teaching himself to read when he was only 2 years old. His memory is astounding, remembering events that happened a few years back, every word to his favorite movies and exactly what each logo he loves looks like- down to the last detail! (Can't forget that 'circle R'/registered symbol in the byline!!) He's charming, and funny, and just downright AWESOME!
He also has Autism.
As a mother, it breaks my heart to think that anyone would ever see him as anything less than the amazing kid he is, just because he happens to have that diagnosis. You can imagine the heartbreak I felt two days ago when I discovered this article. I will not go into full detail of what it says (as I do not want to unintentionally drive traffic to my blog from people searching for the words mentioned), but you can read the article for yourself to see what was so devastating. The basic story: a certain phrase typed into the Google search engine regarding Autism was coming up with some extremely hateful auto search options. The article is discussing Google's move to work on having them removed, but the fact that they showed up anyway means that someone had to have been searching such phrases to begin with. Absolutely disgusting!
From ideas that people with Autism are not intelligent to ideas that they can never be successful, should somehow 'look different' or cannot function in a day to day life...to ideas that individuals with Autism are all Rain Man, or cannot speak or be around people at all. Or even that it is something entirely made up as an excuse for bad parenting. In recent months, it's that individuals with Autism are dangerous and commit mass murders like the Colorado theater shooting or Newtown. There are a TON of misconceptions and stereotypes about Autism that are completely untrue. Though Autism awareness and knowledge have grown tremendously in recent years, the fact that these stereotypes are still so common, and that these searches have been done prove that there is still a long way to go too.
On this blog and in our daily life, I have made it a personal goal of mine to do everything I can to shatter these stereotypes and show that people with Autism, like my son, can be pretty amazing. Of course, I am only one person and know I cannot change the attitude of the world, but if I can teach just one person something about Autism, then I will have done something great. My biggest prayer for my son is that he will be given the respect and understanding he so deserves, and not have to face the ignorance and hate in this world shown above.