Spectrum in the Media
I had to think long and hard about how I think Autism is currently represented in the media. I think perhaps it is better than when I was a small child or teenager. There are more people who are diagnosed or identified as having Autism in the media. I appreciate the fact that the media is making the effort to show more people who are different or unique.
However, I don’t think the media does a good job showing how complex the Autism diagnosis is since it’s a spectrum. This means there’s a lot of diversity in the way that Autism affects people who have this diagnosis. Take me for instance, I’m not a savant or a genius. I have average intelligence, typical social skills, below average executive functioning. If you spent time with me or met me, you would think I was shy, maybe a bit reserved, or a little different, but pretty typical for a woman my age.
What I’d really love to see is more people who have diverse diagnoses, especially Autism, in the media. Many people would like to see people who have Autism on a continuum from people who have more significant needs and require more support to the moderate range people who need varying amounts of help. There’s been an emphasis on people who have Autism who really don’t need much help. While that’s true of some people, it’s not true of all of us. What I would like to see in the media is the fact that none of us are truly independent and that everybody needs help sometimes. That we are to some extent dependent on one another and we’re all interdependent too.
Why is this important to me? Well, because the way the media portrays people on the Autism Spectrum affects me. It affects the way I view myself, it affects the way my family acts towards me, and lastly, it really changes the way society as a whole view the Autism diagnosis. I’m hopeful for a future of greater acceptance and understanding of people on the Autism Spectrum. I’m optimistic for a society that is open and accepting of all differences for everyone regardless of whether you have a diagnosis or not. As always, wishing the best to my readers in all of your endeavors.