Imagine living in a world where not many people understood you. Where everything seemed brighter, louder, smells stronger. Where people stereotyped you, didn't think you were capable of doing much, or, expected you to be the next “Rain Man”. Unfortunately, this is the life for the millions of people living with autism today. Due to the stigma, there are many misconceptions about autism. With April fast approaching, it's a perfect time to spread the word on Autism and Autism Spectrum disorder. April is Autism Awareness month where across the world there will be walks, fairs and “light it up blue,” the practice of swapping regular porch bulbs with blue ones to spread awareness and support. This is beneficial for fundraising, increasing resources and educating the public about the misconceptions of autism.
Just this past week, Sesame Street unveiled its newest Muppet, Julia, who has autism. This is great for children with autism, because Julia isn't an outsider like so many with autism feel and experience--she is part of the gang. The goal is to help kids on the spectrum feel “normal” and to educate the peers who do not have it or understand it. Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder. Being on the spectrum can be a bit complex, but it defines “high” or “low” functioning depending where the individual falls. It is a puzzle, not because the individuals with it are so puzzling, but because the ever changing definitions of autism means we cannot come to a final conclusion. We can, however, educate ourselves and others in trying to understand. Most importantly, we can realize and accept autism comes in many different forms and symptoms unique to every individual.