Fierce Autie Praises: Buttigieg: Increase in autism diagnoses due to more people coming 'out of the shadows'
This is one time when I go paragraph by paragraph in an article and I get to praise it. Original verbage in italics and my thoughts in regular text. Finally a politician that gets it.
South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D), a 2020 presidential contender, spoke of the need for educators who understand the nature of autism in an interview Tuesday with the progressive organization Supermajority, adding that increased diagnoses are due to people coming “out of the shadows.”
This presidential contender has it right. More autistic people are coming out as autistic. He call it "coming out of the shadows." I do like this analogy.
Responding to a question from the mother of an autistic student, Buttigieg said “IEPs [individualized education plans] need to be adapted to support children with autism. Also more broadly, the federal law that creates opportunities for children with different abilities needs to be fully funded. It hasn’t been.”
He is right. I had an IEP and three of my children do as well. The IEP does provide some accomadations BUT it is not enough for the kids. It does not guarantee their needs will be met. This law NEEDS to be fully funded.
“We need to make sure that educators and administrators are trained in how to support kids with autism because it’s way more kids than you would think, and we’re learning about this as time goes on [and] more diagnoses happen and more parents and kids come out of the shadows,” the South Bend mayor added.
Not all educators are fully trained to help their autistic students. My 9 year old son was mainstreamed for a short time, much to my protest. The teacher did not follow his IEP and refused movement breaks. His younger brother had to explain the iep to the teacher. It was very inappropriate. His younger brother is also autistic. The school never expected most of our family being autistic. We are here but now we are being recognized!
“There are so many contributions that ... kids and adults with autism can make, but we’ve got to unlock their potential too,” he added, noting his husband Chasten’s experience teaching theater to autistic students, which he said shows him “just what is possible if you have teachers equipped with the right insight and expertise.”
We have and will be making many contributions to this world. We just need to proper support. If I was supported correctly as a child, I could have gone a lot further.
Autism diagnoses have increased steadily over the decades, which experts have said is more closely related to more sophisticated diagnostic methods than to any external factors that may cause the condition.
More are being diagnosed because of the improved diagnosis methods. For me, they took a look at my old ADHD report and was able to make a diagnosis off that. My children were able to be diagnosed because they went to a knowledgeable neurologist.
"I think this speaks to the improved understanding of autism and autistic people among elected officials. Ten years ago, politicians talking about autism diagnoses usually framed autism as a recent epidemic," Ari Ne’eman, who served as one of former President Obama's appointees to the National Council on Disability and previously served as president of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, told The Hill.
We are not an epidemic. There is a much improved understanding of autistic people but the world has a long way to go. There has been a vast improvement. President Obama set the precedent of having an autistic advocating for us.
“Now, we're seeing discussions that recognize that we've always existed and are now being recognized more than before as stigma goes down and diagnostic tools improve,” he added.
I have nothing to add to this. Beautifully said.
"It's refreshing to hear a prominent politician talk about the real reasons behind the recent increase in estimates of autism prevalence, rather than terrifying parents about a non-existent 'autism epidemic," Steve Silberman, author of “NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity,” told The Hill.
Finally there is a positive autistic voice. This is needed very badly.
"The definition of autism has radically changed in the past couple of decades, and become much broader and more inclusive, which means that more autistic people and their families can access services,” Silberman added.
The autistic community is inclusive. This is what neurodiversity stands for. We need better accessibility to services so we can contribute more to society.
“For most of the 20th Century, autism was mistakenly considered very rare, but now we understand that in fact it's extremely common, and has been historically underestimated particularly among women and people of color. That's what Buttigieg means about autistic people 'coming out of the shadows,' and that's good news."