Adults with autism come in many forms, including a majority who would not survive one day without parents and others strongly advocating for and keeping them safe.
That perspective and understanding of the diversity of the autism spectrum is what is missing from Steve Silberman’s Sept. 1 Other Views piece, Autism Speaks needs to listen more closely to the people it has failed.
A second issue that jumped out at me, a parent of a 21-year-old young man with autism, was Silberman’s repeated use of the term “autistic adults.” It is important to recognize and respect the humanity of all individuals by addressing them in person-first language, such as “people with autism.”
He also objected to autism being characterizaed as a terrifying stalker in the Autism Speaks movie.
While he may find the allegory inappropriate, it is factual. Autism lurks in every corner of my home, around my neighborhood, my children’s schools, places of worship and my family’s dreams, much like it is depicted.
As we look forward to creating a future where adults with autism are safe, gainfully employed and valued for their contributions, it is important not to exclude any segment of the autism spectrum, including those who are unable to advocate for themselves at all.
Autism Speaks advocates for our loved ones in state and national legislatures, guides scientific research to find answers for this and future generations and supports a myriad of employment and residential initiatives to ensure productive, inclusive futures for all persons with autism.
To this end, a Town Hall on Adult Services will be held beginning at 6 p.m. Sept. 10 at Bailey Hall on Broward College’s Central Campus.
All interested parties should come together for this important dialogue and to work on the solutions.
Hilda S. Mitrani, Hollywood