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Autism Overview

Updated: Nov 17, 2020

What is autism?

Autism is both a neurological developmental disability and an example of human variation (neurodiversity) that affects how an individual experiences the world around them. It is a present throughout life from infancy to adulthood. Currently, scientists believe that both genetics and environment play a role in autism.

Autism is a spectrum. No two autistic people are alike same as with allistic (non-autistic) individuals. While autistic individuals may share similar characteristics, each are individuals with their own personalities and interests as well as unique neurological and psychological profiles.

Autism is not a recent invention. Autistic individuals have always been with humanity.

Neurodiversity argues that autism and other disabilities are natural variations of the human mind and genome. Autistic and other disabled individuals are not defective and in need of being fixed. Neurodiversity states that the ability of each individual should be supported and augmented with the disability mitigated and accommodated. Further, the value or worth of an individual is not lessened by disability.

As we gain a better understanding of autism it is important to keep in mind that autism is an example of cognitive diversity. Rather than seeing autism as a disease that we should fear and cure we as society should instead embrace difference and work toward decreasing the negative side effects of having an autistic brain in this current culture and time and help individuals natural talents flourish. Society needs many kinds of intelligences to thrive and as a society we should move toward greater inclusivity.

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