The Misconceptions of Autism

Bryanna Martinez, Staff Writer

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Autism, something taboo to talk about like every other mental illness, but hey let’s rip the Band-Aid off together.


The giant misconception about autism is that there is only one broad form of it or someone needs to be medicated.  However, there are two specific broad forms of autism, with various subtypes of it – “high functioning” and “low functioning.”  


The frequent conversation is: What is autism?


According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), autism is a “developmental disorder that affects a person’s ability to socialize and communicate with others.”  A person with autism may have the following: repetitive behavior, difficult time holding a conversation with someone and a lack of speech or poor speech to name a few symptoms. In a statistical figure: “1 in 68 children” are diagnosed with a form of autism and about four times more boys than girls have the disability, according to the National Autism Association.


On a personal note, I have Asperger’s Syndrome — a form of high functioning autism. I am slightly different than a “normal person.”  


Like nearly everyone, I love music and movies, and I work hard for my grades. I also happen to be writing this article as well. One thing that differentiates me is that sometimes I cannot hold solid conversations with others; it ends up in fragments and bouncing around.


Sadly society’s perception of autism is a judgemental take that leads to finger pointing and bullying.  From the ages of 7 to 17, I was heckled by classmates because I would flap my arms and shake my legs when I was excited — something simple to a “normal person” is different for me.  The bullying of my idiosyncrasies made me feel inferior, but I also did not let that bring me down. I wondered if society sees me as a person, or sees me for my autism?  


In the end, autism does not define me, nor do I define autism. I don’t want anyone’s pity or sympathy since it is something I have to handle on a daily basis and I handle it just fine.


I am a normal college student with a social and cognitive disability that people do not notice. I get good grades like everyone else does and I make it through the day without tripping 99 percent of the time.


I want to be a trailblazer for those who do not have voices. I want to let others know they are not alone in dealing with autism or any type of disability — you can do the impossible.

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