Society’s View on Mental Disabilities (Autism)
Autism is known as a complex developmental disability. Experts believe that autism presents itself during the first three years of a person's life. The condition is the result of a neurological disorder that has an effect on normal brain function, affecting development of the person's communication and social interaction skills. People with autism have issues with non-verbal communication, a wide range of social interactions, and activities that include an element of play or banter. “Today, it is estimated that one in every 110 children is diagnosed with autism, making it more common than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes and pediatric AIDS combined” (What is Autism 2011). “Studies suggest boys are more likely than girls to develop autism and receive the diagnosis three to four times more frequently. People who have autism often have delayed language development.” (Autism Fact Sheet 2011) They usually have trouble with social interactions. Another characteristic of autism is what some people describe as “sensory overload”: Sounds seem louder, lights brighter, or smells stronger. Not everybody with autism has the exact same symptoms. Some people may have autism that is mild, while others may have autism that is more severe.
Society’s view, or an outsider’s view on autism, is in most cases demeaning and condescending. Those with autism are treated like lesser beings solely because of their difficulties in the area of communication. When dealing with someone who has autism, the “neurotypical” will in most cases, more often than not, assume that they are “stupid” or “unintelligent” because of their inability to express their feelings or hold a normal conversation. The minority (unfortunately) of society, however, falls into the category of those who embrace the “new paradigm”. They make a valiant effort to truly understand what it is like to live with autism and to understand how the autistic