By Hal Walter
As I write it’s autism awareness month and I find myself reflecting upon just how aware we really are as a society.
To kick things off, the White House was lit up blue. Yet the new education secretary and supreme court justice are not exactly known as champions of those with special needs.
Leading up to this month, and all through it, autism parents are bombarded with emails from well-meaning friends and family about the latest this or that to help your child, ranging from tennis-ball chairs to herbal supplements including cannabis, to various therapies or the latest Temple Grandin book. Most of us realize there is no magic cure. As one psychologist told me: “If you’ve met one autistic child, you’ve met one autistic child.”
Nevertheless, we are constantly fed an endless stream of nonsense stereotypes from healthcare professionals who should know better and the media which remains clueless. Kids with autism can’t stand loud or sudden noises, don’t like to be touched, won’t look others in the eye, are sensitive to bright lights, are not social beings … and so on and etc. While some or all of these may describe many kids, none of them is true about my son Harrison, who becomes a teenager this month.