5 Facts About Autism that Give Hope

Reasons for Autism Patients to be Optimistic

Facts About Autism that Give People HopePeople who are not fully knowledgeable about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) may not see those affected by it in a positive light. Misinformation in the media and in research as well as the negative stereotypes about autism that float around fuel ignorant comments, perceptions, and behaviors. When individuals look at the facts through valid and sound research and get to know other individuals who have autism and build relationships with them, they begin to understand that those with autism are incredible people. There is much to celebrate and many important things to learn regarding the world of autism.

There are several organizations, support groups, social media pages, and individuals who have made great strides in educating the general public and bringing awareness to the disorder that is autism. In doing so, patterns of negative assumptions and inappropriate behaviors toward those with autism will hopefully decrease. There is definitely a positive movement right now that is all about inclusion and diversity…and it’s wonderful! 

Reasons for All of Us to be Optimistic About Autism

Even though the disorder can be a challenging obstacle for many people, there are also plenty of things to be optimistic about that give hope to those with autism and their families. As a spectrum disorder, there is a wide range of severity and symptoms among those with a formal diagnosis. While there are many similarities among those on the spectrum, every individual case also has unique factors specific to the individual and their environment. 

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Being unique and different is not always a bad thing! It sure seems like the more education and awareness that is brought forth about autism, the more accepting and understanding others are becoming. Celebrating differences is important for anyone, and those with autism deserve to have their unique personalities noted. 

An individual named Scott Lentine, who has autism, has his own special quote displayed on Autism Speaks that really captures that point: 

Wanting to be free. Wanting to be me. Trying to make people see. And accept the real me.

The following are just a few of the many reasons we should be optimistic about where we are headed with the disorder and why we should have hope for anyone who has autism. 

  1. The increase of public awareness
  2. The growth of support groups and communities
  3. The fact that people with autism can still succeed
  4. The personalized and scientific therapy options available
  5. The idea that simple changes can yield big results

1. Increasing Public Awareness

Autism can be an isolating condition, especially if the person who has the disorder doesn’t have friends and family members who support them and accommodate their differences. Fortunately, the disorder has become much more prominent over the years within the general public due to media exposure and groups with awareness as their goal. While the diversity of opinions includes some misinformation, general awareness of the issue makes it easier to discuss and address it on a larger scale. More awareness can also encourage parents to seek a formal diagnosis for their children’s behavioral issues.

Autism Speaks is an example of an organization that goes above and beyond to bring education and awareness to the public.There are various routes individuals, groups, and organizations can take to shine light on autism. Autism Speaks is a great example of an organization that goes above and beyond to bring education and awareness to the public and it is an effective spot for parents, educators, and ABA therapists to look for intervention resources and articles to stay up-to-date on anything and everything autism. 

Autism Speak’s mission includes:

  • Increasing global understanding and acceptance of people with autism
  • Being a catalyst for life-enhancing research breakthroughs
  • Increasing early childhood screening and timely interventions
  • Improving the transition to adulthood
  • Ensuring access to reliable information and services throughout the lifespan

Another method of bringing awareness to autism is through the use of social media. These platforms are very effective ways to be seen and heard through the use of stories, pictures, videos, and posts. 

Social media influencers with autism.For those that are interested in following ASD influencers on social media who are advocating for those with autism, check these individuals out…

He is a YouTuber, an author, and has autism! 

She is an attorney, an author, an artist…and she has autism! 

She is a former SPED teacher, a blogger, and has her own website AutismAdventures.com

Furthermore, how autism is portrayed in the media is important to pay attention to, as the accuracy and underlying attitude toward the disorder can either help or harm the cause. 

Some positive consequences of accurately representing individuals from across the spectrum include:

  • Promoting inclusion and acceptance 
  • Educating others on a variety of disabilities 
  • Allowing many with autism to see themselves in fictional or real-life characters 
  • Showing what those with autism can do

Increasing public awareness about health, mental health, and physical disorders is crucial for our society to grow and support one another. 

2. Growth of Support Groups and Communities

An increase in public awareness and accessibility of the internet encourages the growth of specialized local and remote support groups. There are now numerous online communities and information resources to help those suffering from an autism spectrum disorder. Parents of diagnosed children can talk to other people in a similar situation, while diagnosed adults can share some of their personal challenges or strategies with their peers

Nation, state, and city-wide, various organizations offer support to individuals with autism and their families. This may be in the form of an online forum, a weekly Zoom meeting, in-person groups and activities, and educational sessions. 

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Two examples of this are groups from the Marcus Autism Center and Spectrum.

The Marcus Autism Center, out of Atlanta, Georgia, offers a support page on their website with the following groups and information that will help families and friends.

  • Camps and Workshops
  • Family Tips and Educational Articles
  • Coordination Services
  • Educational Resource Center
  • The Atlanta Hospital Hospitality House Cottage
  • Picture Stories

Spectrum, the autism support, education, and resources site offers monthly virtual meetings for whoever would like to attend as well as hosts a variety of events for their community.

These are easy ways in which people with autism, their family and friends, and their community can get involved, learn, and grow together. 

3. People With Autism Can Still Succeed

Some people diagnosed with autism feel limited by their condition, which can have negative consequences on their mental health and self-esteem. While the disorder can place a few extra obstacles in the way, it can also provide a unique perspective or opportunity. Many diagnosed people pursue successful careers in various fields and some even find ways to leverage their condition to achieve their goals. 

Who are some of the well-known individuals on the spectrum who have gone on to do amazing and influential things?

  • Sir Issac Newton
  • Charles Darwin
  • Daryl Hannah
  • Susan Boyle
  • Andy Warhol
  • Tim Burton
  • Bill Gates
  • Temple Grandin

The most relevant young lady who has been very vocal about her autism is Greta Thunberg. Greta is well-known worldwide for her environmental activism, starting movements across the globe, and for her courageous speeches with the United Nations among other things. 

Not only do many young girls and women look up to Greta and follow in her footsteps to bring awareness to climate change, individuals on the spectrum are excited to see a fellow Aspie—a term Greta uses herself—rise up and be such an influential character. 

Read about how Greta is affected by autism.

4. Personalized and Scientific Therapy Options

ABA therapy is a Personalized and Scientific Therapy Option for Autism.Perhaps the most important fact about autism to keep in mind is that many of the associated behavioral and social issues can be managed. Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a widely-accepted practical methodology that psychologists use to help patients and their families achieve a better quality of life. It has numerous applications, ranging from teaching children basic life skills to helping adults develop refined skills in preparation for a new job.

With early diagnosis, autism symptoms can be treated and maladaptive ones can be decreased. There is no cure for autism; however, professionals can work with those with autism to help them manage symptoms, work on new skills, and become more independent. 

Some treatment options for those with autism include ABA therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, social skills training, physical therapy, medication, animal therapy—and there are several others available depending on the needs of the individual. 

5. Simple Changes Can Yield Big Results

Autism is much easier to manage in a calm and controlled environment. Parents of children who have been diagnosed with the disorder can make great strides with a few simple lifestyle adjustments. Families should consider working with a qualified therapist who can visit the home and recommend changes to avoid triggers of undesirable behavior and make domestic life smoother for everyone. This is the same case in the classroom. Teachers and paraprofessionals can work with students with autism alongside a behavioral specialist or ABA therapist to target needs with individualized interventions. 

There is no doubt that having autism can have negative effects on the individual with the disorder as well as those around them. Fortunately, there is much to be optimistic about and facts about autism that can give hope to those seeking to overcome the condition and build the life they want in spite of it.

Brittany Wilson

Master of Education (M.Ed.) | Northeastern State University

Behavior and Learning Disorders | Georgia State University

March 2021