Teach us about Autism!

Have you ever been left out by your peers because you were different from them? Have you ever felt alone or unaccepted? Chances are you have. And as you probably already know, it’s not a good feeling–isolated and alone. In the experiences I’ve encountered, kids and teens with autism or Aspergers syndrome are generally treated poorly by their peers; Therefore, I propose that middle schools include units on autism and other disabilities. Autism can be a severe developmental disorder. My thirteen-year old twin brother is autistic and my 17-year-old brother has a form of autism called Aspergers Syndrome.

Aspergers is a less severe type of autism, but often includes social and behavioral problems. I think that people, teens in particular, need to be more accepting and accommodating of people with autism. I believe doing so obviously helps those with the disability, is a good learning experience for them and you and benefits humanity. It’s not my brothers’ fault that they have autism. About.com says autism runs in families and siblings of autistic people are more likely to be autistic. Most researchers believe autism comes from a combination of several genetic differences. According to the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and The M.I.N.

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D. Institute, University of California, children with autism have a larger amygdala, a part of the brain, then non-autistic children. But, nobody is really sure what causes autism or what cures it. The best thing you can do is be accepting of them, whether that’s simply smiling in the hallway or not laughing when they act different than you. Many kids don’t have a clue about what autism is and they might change their behavior towards their autistic peers if they did.

Both of my brothers are extremely smart. When others make fun of them, would they want to participate during class? I really like the saying “treat others how you would want to be treated.” How are kids who are treated improperly ever going to learn how to interact with others when people don’t acknowledge them in a positive way? Cases of autism are increasing. Kids should learn about the disorder because they will probably be dealing with more autistic people in the future. I think some of the reasons autism isn’t being taught or learned about is because it will take effort, time and maybe some money.

For many years autism was rare, occurring in only five children for every 10,000. However, since the early 1990’s, the rate of autism has increased with numbers as high as 60 per 10,000. In 2007, the Centers for Disease Control reported that 1 in 150 children is diagnosed with autism. Another reason to be accepting of people with autism is because it is honestly a great learning experience for you. Many people with autism have tried to communicate their thoughts and insights and haven’t gotten much attention to—their views seem abnormal to the people without the condition. Because their brain is wired differently, people with autism see the world in a COMPLETELY different way.

My Mom recalled an example from way back when my twin brother and I were in preschool. We were all in the car going somewhere. My brother didn’t really talk in sentences yet, just a couple words here and there. While in the car, he said “airplane,” my Mom smiled, nodded and kept driving, thinking it was just another of his random utterances. Then, looking out the window she saw the tiniest little speck in the sky—it was an airplane at a very high altitude, you could only see it when the sun hit it just right.

You could hardly even make out the shape of a plane. Of course there was lots of other stuff to look at, but that little detail was what he noticed and commented on. After hearing that story, I began to wonder what people with autism notice that others never do. I asked my Mom why being open towards autistic people might be good for you. She said over the years she has gained A LOT of patience from working with my brothers.

She also has become more accustomed with their ways of interacting with the environment, which helped her to be more understanding of differences in others and able to “meet people where they are.” Teaching about autism and being accepting to those with the condition can be beneficial to humanity and the world. In fact, many famous people have/had some form of autism. According to Child-Autism-Parent-Cafe.com, these people include actors, poets, basketball players, authors, mathematicians, singers, songwriters, Thai princes, clay sculptors and musicians. Even Albert Einstein was autistic! As one can see, autism is not something to be ashamed of.

The world misses out on a lot of valuable contributions by pushing people with autism to the side, besides that, the world misses out on knowing some very unique and special people. Autistic people and people with other kinds of challenges in general, deserve to be respected, cared about, accommodated and accepted, just like any other human being. Please consider my views, points and research. By adding autism and other disabilities as a unit in middle schools, hopefully people will be more understanding of peers with unique challenges. Doing so will benefit the students with special needs, you/the learning students and humanity.