Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD, is a complex disorder related to brain development. Although people with ASD may have similar symptoms, they manifest in varying degrees of severity.
Children under ASD are unique in their own right. They have their own sets of strengths and challenges. In such cases, autism centers can assist parents in providing the appropriate treatment to alleviate their challenges and improve their quality of life.
Although we have come a long way from raising awareness and acknowledging ASD, there are still hurdles to overcome and people to educate, especially in breaking the stigma surrounding children with ASD. Let’s take a look at some of the best practices to break the stigma against ASD one step at a time.
An effective way to break the stigma against ASD is to raise awareness and for this, discourse should be encouraged. When people start to talk about autism and acknowledge it, there will be fewer instances of misunderstanding. Communication surrounding autism should be encouraged and parents should be able to share their experiences to raise awareness.
People have preconceived ideas about what autism is or is not. For instance, some people believe that ASD is a result of failed abortion or that autistic children do not feel empathy. To eliminate the myths surrounding autism, education is important, which starts at home and extends to your family members, friends, and people in the community.
Support for the autism community is important to fight the stigma against it. Social media platforms are excellent avenues for this. Offering support also shows compassion. The simple act of showing affection can make a person feel significant and acknowledged. If you know someone who has a loved one with ASD, being sensitive to their sensory needs and normalizing an experience can be some ways to offer support. Volunteering is also a great way to lend a helping hand.
Media plays an important role in raising awareness over an issue, topic, mental illness, and brain development disorders such as ASD. With limited on-screen presence, autistic characters on media do not have the capability to showcase how neurodiverse ASD individuals are.
There are notable shows that have an excellent representation of autism, including movies such as I am Sam, Rain Man, and Forrest Gump. These movies come close to what individuals with ASD experience.
Raising awareness through discourse, educating the public, providing support, and demanding better media representation are just some ways parents of ASD children and their families can break the stigma against autism. You can do your part too by partnering with an autism center in your city. We at Pulse Center offer support, discussions, and training for parents, teachers, and individuals who are passionate about supporting ASD. Therapies are also available to further assist the learning and development of ASD children.