Dear Aza,

Your kindness is beautiful. I know your own life has had many hardships and unfairness. So, I appreciate very much your taking the time to watch this video. A broader social awareness of autism and greater social empathy for autistics is a good thing.

Believe me, I am a master at re-framing negatives into positives. At taking things no one wants and finding ways to make them useful. So, let's be clear.

Autism is NOT A GIFT.

I am one of the extremely lucky ones. I am capable of independent living. I can function and even thrive on my own. I can handle chaotic environments and shut out external stimuli. I can work with other people (assuming they are tolerant). There are many who can not.

For every "high functioning" Autistic like me. There are probably 9 others who are completely disabled. The ones who will never learn to speak, the ones who cannot function except in the most controlled environments. The ones who cannot control their bowels, or wash themselves, or prepare food for themselves. The ones who will have to be institutionalized and cared for their entire lives.

Watch the movie "Rainman". Would you say that Dustin Hoffman's character has a "gift" or a "curse". If it is a gift, he pays a terrible price for it.

It's very tempting to look at Autistics like Jessica Wildflower, Umair, and myself and see only our intellects. To see us as "gifted".

More realistically, we overcame the burden of our autism with our intellects. Autism is a burden that you bear. I would not wish an autistic child on any parent.

Things are better now, than when I was a child. Early recognition and intervention of pediatric autism can greatly improve outcomes. The social stigma of having a developmentally challenged child has softened. Autistic kids now have a much better chance for a regular life.

But, it's never easy for them.

Rereading this it sounds harsh. I do not intend it that way. Simply know, that suggesting to anyone with autism that they should see it as a "gift" is going to get a negative reaction from them.

--

My entire life can be described in one sentence: Things didn’t go as planned, and I’m OK with that.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Richard Crim

Richard Crim

990 Followers

My entire life can be described in one sentence: Things didn’t go as planned, and I’m OK with that.