A common saying in the autism community that’s true year-round is, “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.” At Social Motion Skills, we try to keep this principle top-of-mind in our individualized approach to providing life path solutions to children with autism and similar special needs. Truly, each person with cognitive differences is unique.
During the holiday season, we often see articles with tips for families with children who have autism. Such listicles offer well-meaning advice, but in their attempts to appeal to a broad readership, they risk stereotyping neurodiverse individuals. Proposed suggestions such as informing relatives in advance not to hug an autistic child, not to worry if a child doesn’t speak, not to be offended if a child doesn’t make eye contact, and not to say anything if a child won’t eat, paints a picture of autism that simply doesn’t apply to every child with the condition. This risks creating an expectation of generalized “autistic behaviors,” most of them negative, when instead we should be raising awareness of the case-specific nature of autism spectrum disorders.