Onida Watchman student intern Justin Davey is pictured at his desk.
If there’s one thing that some people forget about others, it’s the fact that everyone is born different. One factor that more and more people forget is that some people were born with a developmental disorder called autism.
ASD, or autism spectrum disorder, is a neurodevelopmental disorder that can sometimes affect somebody’s social skills, communication skills, or behavioral skills. It is called a spectrum because there is no single ‘kind’ of autism. Effects of autism can range from a variety of things, some of which present as having to lean back and forth constantly, make noises in a quiet area, flailing hands around, and so many more. Sometimes, it might be hard to spot someone with autism, because autism also comes in both low-functioning and high-functioning forms.
Low-functioning autism is where some of the things mentioned earlier really begin to show in public places, whereas having high-functioning autism means that the affected person rarely does any of the things listed above in public, but still have minor ‘clicks’ here and there.
Low-functioning autism can sometimes develop into high-functioning autism, which was the case for me, but it’s not entirely common.
As a person diagnosed with autism, I get asked a lot of questions about autism, but it seems the two main ones are, “Is autism curable, and do vaccines cause autism?”
Simply put, there is no cure for autism because it is a neurodevelopmental disorder and not a disease, and vaccines DO NOT cause autism, anyone who says otherwise can Google it in five seconds for proof that they don’t.
I grew up in a school in Minnesota that didn’t entirely recognize autism. I used to make noises in class, because I didn’t like it being quiet in the classroom, and I would sometimes flail my arms around because I was bored.
Of course, I got a lot of eyes staring at me, because nobody thought it was normal, not even the teachers. I also didn’t think about what I was doing whenever I did something, because I was distracting myself while doing it.
I was made fun of for it; anyone who wasn’t ‘normal’ by my classmates’ standards was made fun of in school. Though, over the years, I began to look back on how I was acting, and I learned from it, which made me develop to the point where most of the fidgets I had in the past are gone.
One thing I gained from that experience, however, was a bit of social anxiety. I began to realize that I had to start thinking about others around me, and how my every move or word would register to them about me as a person. That’s why if you meet me in public, you probably aren’t going to hear a lot of words out of my mouth unless I were asked a question, as I still have fear of stuttering or spouting out the wrong words.
A person might  think that since autism is widely known around the globe, people would stop discriminating towards people that have it, but they haven’t. People with autism still get poorly treated in today’s world, and the word “autistic” and other various slurs are used against others.
It hurts, and I don’t stand for it.
It’s up to everyone to make autism more recognized. Do so by donating to certain advocacy organizations, such as the Autistic Self Advocacy Network.
If you happen to stumble upon a business such as a restaurant run by employees with autism, definitely go support it. It means the world to bring happiness to somebody else.