The new normal of social isolation and distancing in our COVID-19 world is not new to the families where autism occurs.

It is not right or wrong. It just is.

People are fearful and uncomfortable when meeting others who may react unconventionally in common social settings. They don't know how to react to socially unfiltered comments or unwitting violations of personal space by those with autism.

Autism is a huge umbrella term used to describe cognitive learning disorders which impact social integration and interactions.

Children with autism can be targets of bullying in school and day care facilities, especially if they become upset easily. Generally, the abusers are the higher academic achievers who somehow gain peer approval and popularity by inflicting their particular tortures in front of others.

To be fair, these supposed to be "normal" children are ignorant, not evil. They have not been taught at home to respect all people regardless of appearance or perceived abilities. Sadly, their actions isolate fellow students, stigmatize the disorder and do an incredible disservice to the many wonderful attributes autistic individuals possess. Unique methods of problem solving, out-of-the-box thinking and inspirationally adaptive coping skills are inherent throughout the autism community.

These traits are invaluable in today's cookie-cutter educational performance testing society.

Because of mandated testing, many autistic children are deemed substandard and considerably lacking the credits for a high school diploma due to an inability to regurgitate factoids in the approved format and in the allotted time, which is designed for the general student population.

Despite the scholastic and social pitfalls, the autistic community continues to contribute to our society as they are allowed.

Temple Grandin's design improvements in livestock handling has made the process more humane and easier for man and beast. She sees the process through the eyes of the cow, sheep or horse.

It is time for us to teach our children to value the rights, contributions and viewpoints of people who are different and to not dismiss, ignore or marginalize the unfamiliar. Tolerance, inclusivity and acceptance need to be daily goals not just a one-month, once-a-year shout out.

(1) comment

DrWick

Ignorance of autism abounds in Maryland. From Montgomery County Courts to certain day care facilities in Frederick County.

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