Is Autism a Disability?
Updated: May 16
As Coach Elaine once said, “It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a child with autism to raise the consciousness of the village.”
How autism is defined in the mainstream theories is using words like "deficit," "disorder," "impaired", “risk”, “disease” and "restricted.", framed as a disability using deficit models and most of the theories are just passed on with no specific modification in scientific process or research(Stevenson, 2015). The silence of the atypical abilities and autistic strengths comes from the least covered conversation in mainstream theories rather than they all are labelled and printed out, which often represents an “impairment”, an unending “epidemic.”
This again then poses many innumerable questions, like can autism be considered a disability or may it’s the time to see it as different ability, can we challenge our presumption that they are more intelligent than they might be able to portray, are we in the position to recognize that they might be overwhelmed in having social interactions even though wanting to have friends.
Now there are many types of research that have contributed to the fact that the medical treatment plan, employed by the pharmaceutical industries which have vested in a “diseased model.”, right from drugs, prenatal screening to cures have all been perpetuating treatments sold to the 1% population that is being made into a profit industry, reducing their human characteristics to just mere symptoms. The game played seems easy: get the world convinced that autism needs to be fixed and is a problem and then eventually the targeted groups are anyway bound to it.
Not only that there are common misconceptions, formation of the inextricable link of intellectual disabilities with autism. Research shows that “About 10% of individuals with intellectual disability have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or autistic traits.” And thus it is not just a mere conjecture to say that autism and intellectual disabilities do occur together in a clinical setting, however, there is a lot of esearch challenging this assumption, for instance in a current study it was found that children with autism exhibit a range of “intellectual abilities” showing “exceptional intellect”.
There are children and adults with autism spectrum disorder who are called “Autistic Savants” who display extraordinary skills and aptitudes in one and many different domains. (Clark, 2017). These “Savant abilities” also called “splinter skills”, layout in the following domains: “memory; hyperlexia (the exceptional ability to read, spell and write); art; music; mechanical or spatial skill; calendar calculation; mathematical calculation; sensory sensitivity; athletic performance; and computer ability.” These remarkable skills challenge the contrasting version to the disability of autism, which is prodigious in relation to the typical population usually defined.
Although Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is not a learning disability, it can impact learning, in part as autism can impact “language skills, both when listening and speaking”, but recent research indicated that “the genes for autism are distinct from those for learning disabilities.”
The family has an important role to play, for instance, children with autism experiencing learning disabilities in normative training, but that does not indicate that they are void of any special abilities. A child’s rejection of standards training could also be the alienness field or is afraid of failing or she is not interested. Children with autism who have problems in socializing might feel more comfortable in the home atmosphere and thus may be more ease and open to learning. This is possible with the apt methods and different types of training, parents can actually aid their children in improving and progressing better by paying attention to their children’s learning disabilities.
Autistic people are human beings; genetically and neurologically distinct, might not fit the box of checklist that you considered as able vs disable. But sure they are feeling and thinking people with strengths, courage and challenges outside of an average and divergent person that society defines as normal and able. Society can be narrow-minded and overtly conformist, but if the checklist of normal and able does not fit autism then it does not mean different boxes should not exist.
Being bullied by their classmates, school peers, friends, families, discriminated against at workplaces is what society urges, to oppress those who don't fit your restrictive definitions. Mat it is time to challenge ourselves before we challenge them.
Autism is an ever-changing branch of “the great genetic tree”. Children born with autism are a vulnerable minority, should be protected and fought for their human rights.
Apathy is the enemy of progress and whilst we sleep, do big business and in the name of providing “prenatally diagnose, abort, treat and cure” to this important human group, always trying to correct and push them out of existence.
It won't matter, human right won't matter, until the existence of such a being will always be in question, pinned and labelled as “Disabled”.
Thus, we all should stand together to oppose this injustice and redefine autistic people as a minority group. Work to include and value autistics for the very real and important contribution they make to society. What is the use of history if we do not learn its lessons?
Clark, T. (2017, April 25). Giftedness and Autism: Savant Skill Fact Sheet. SSM Health. https://www.agnesian.com/blog/giftedness-and-autism-savant-skill-fact-
Stevenson, N. (2015, July 26). Autism doesn't have to be viewed as a disability or disorder. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2015/jul/16/autism-doesnt-have-to-be-viewed-as-a-disability-or-disorder