In preparation for the unit on autism in my clinical psychology class, we were assigned this URL to read the ASAN’s (Autistic Self Advocacy Network) definition of autism.
This description of autism is highly valuable as it emphasizes the universal presence of autistic individuals. Autistic individuals are indeed present in all social and economic groups and always have been. I especially liked the fact that the author addresses many of the misunderstandings non-autistic individuals have about autistic individuals such as stimming which we talked about in this class and difficulty with reading emotions. The emphasis the author puts on the variability among autistic individuals was also very important. The article touches on the fact that some autistic individuals can speak while others utilize other means of communication. The fact that the definition is written by an autistic individual themselves is also critical as it is important for us to see autistic individuals as they view themselves. This is very reminiscent of the disability mantra “Nothing about us, without us” which is stated in the final line of the text. Overall, I feel that this is a useful introduction to the autistic community and helps illuminate misunderstandings, educates people on autism, and gives a humanistic approach to the explanation of signs and symptoms of autism.