Kerry Magro, a 24 year old with Autism, posted the following video on his Facebook page and on the Autism Speaks website. He speaks for himself, but he also says many things that as a mother of a daughter who lives with autism speaks for me. Thank you Kerry for being so eloquent.
Many people living with autism are feared and misunderstood because they may act, learn and think differently. It hurts each and every time someone recoils or glares when my 20 year old daughter does something atypical. Isolation for those living with autism and the families who love and support them is already prevalent. Distorted media reports and the potential for scapegoating the autism community will only hurt an already vulnerable population. With the gun control debate resurfacing in the nation and Congress, we need to be careful not to marginalize a population of people who are generally the victims of bullying and abuse.
Difficulty with communication and social skills is the hallmark of autism. They have difficulty communicating and are misunderstood frequently, in a social world they tend to be isolated. Too many people living with autism are lonely. Instead of fearing or turning away from those who are different, we need to take the time to learn more about them. All of the individuals I know that live with autism have wonderful abilities and unique perspectives in the way they look at and approach life.
There is much we don't know about autism and with 1 in 88 being diagnosed with autism, we need to do a better job learning about them and making room for them in our society.
With great sadness and grief, for all of the victims, those who were lost and those who survive, may we do a better job of living together in our diverse society.