A Year 8’s perspective

Autism has played a huge role in my life. Why? Because to those that misjudge it, it’s a learning disorder I have. I honestly have had enough of being labelled as a demon due to people not understanding what I’m actually going through because of my “disorder”. We autistics have had enough! Enough of what you ask? Enough of being misunderstood, misjudged and labelled as bad. We should have schools teach their students about autism.

First of all, we’re already successful people. Well, most of the time, but that one day that we laugh in the faces of those who said we will fail because of our disability, will be our greatest memory. Let me tell you about the ones we look up to. Albert Einstein, one of the world’s smartest men, is thought to have been diagnosed with autism. Bill Gates, the creator and co-founder of Microsoft has a form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome. See? How do you think they became successful? How do you think they became famous? Why do you think we autistics look up to them?

Autism appears to be a target nowadays for bulling. What if I told you they’re only pointing out half of what makes us different? Half of the effects of having autism? Shocking I know. We autistics want to be understood for our strengths, not be bullied because of our challenges. Who knows where the bully’s “jokes” about autism could lead? That’s right, no one!

Who even knows what autism really is and what it’s like to have it nowadays? I held my own survey of our class via email, to see how many actually knew about it. Two out of the twenty six or so took the time to say yes. See? Only a few know what it is! If I was silly enough to email the whole school, I bet 90% would have said no and the people who said yes could fill 2 buses. 2 buses isn’t enough. If I could email the whole country, I bet there will be around 20% who actually know what it is from personal experience. Personally, I’ve never met someone who doesn’t have autism but knows exactly what it is.

Lastly, we are constantly misjudged. It needs to stop. By placing lessons about autism in the appropriate classes, the “stereotypical-views-of-autism-blanket” will be lifted to show a group of wonderful and gifted people. You haven’t even seen the best of us yet. So why do you judge us on our disability? In 2007, a study in Queensland concluded that one in 160 children aged between 6 and 12 are clinically diagnosed with autism in Australia. That means over 10,000 children have autism in Australia alone.

We need to weed out negative stereotypes about autistics now. Those 10,000 children and growing could end up either rejected by their family and peers, or they could become successful. I am one of those 10,000 Australian children with autism, and I’m sure that we need to be understood better. We need our time to shine, we need to be learnt about. Our population is growing, we want, no scratch that, we need lessons in our schools that teach our peers, classmates and teachers about us.

Jennifer, high school student on the spectrum

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