Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The gift of autism...

I just recently got back from the second day of some really informative training regarding people with autism. The autism community is one that is fast growing- not only in numbers of those with that label, but also, with those who support and encourage people, research and practices for those on the autism spectrum.

One of the most intriguing parts of this training was when a panel of four adults with Asberger's Syndrome came to talk about their lives, struggles and answer questions from the audience. There were consistent and clear messages from these individuals:

1) To be seen as people first; not first by the autism label.

2) To be treated with respect, dignity & care.

3) To be included with "typical" people and peers.

4) If people feel the need to put a label on them- to put one of "different" NOT disabled or as if something is wrong with them just because they have been diagnosed with autism.

To me, this seems unbelievably fair and reasonable. I am encouraged by the hope, research and knowledge being shared about people with autism. I hope that I will continue to see students as people first instead of looking first at their label or disability. I hope you will do the same.

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