First and foremost, we are all human. Every individual with autism, a developmental disability, or mental health diagnosis is more than their label. The label that is given to them based on behaviors observed during an assessment. A label which is then used to explain why those behaviors occur. This is a human error. How can one get a label based on their behaviors, but then those behaviors be attributed back to that very same label. How is it that we say…”Oh he can’t pay attention….he must have ADHD.” and in the next breathe say, “He has ADHD, that’s why he can’t pay attention.”? Let’s stop defining people by their labels. By labels that are given to them…sometimes incorrect labels – because let’s face it, everyone makes mistakes. Let’s look at each person’s individual differences.
I always refer to autism more as a color wheel than a spectrum. A spectrum implies that there are the severe and the less severe. But that simply is not the case. One child may be great at social communication, but struggle with reading comprehension. Another may be great at reading comprehension, but struggle with social communication. One may be unable to talk, but can draw beautifully. Another may thrive at independent daily routines, but struggle with intense behaviors that interfere with their independence.
Let’s look more at the individual and their unique qualities. What are their unique strengths? Their unique needs? Let’s truly look at the individual and strive to create an environment that best meets their needs and builds on their strengths.