I don’t ever actually recall hearing this term until my son was diagnosed with it. In fact, growing up I had very little exposure to people with disabilities. My experience with the munchkin has been that these children (with disabilities) are segregated from the “normal” children in schools from the very beginning. The diagnosis came around age 3 and when the munchkin started school at 5 he was in a class with only children who had autism. Luckily, the munchkin still went to daycare which allowed him to be around a variety of kids.
One Google definition of autism that I came across states : “ it is a mental condition, characterized by difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people.” The munchkin is autistic but he also happens to be a “social butterfly “. He loves being around other people, initiating greetings with them even though at the age of 15 he can’t hold a conversation with them. He loves helping others and at this stage in his life keeps himself and his living areas tidy.
So what’s in a name?
Semantics really because anybody could fit the definition of “autistic”.
How many supposedly “normal” people do we sometimes pass in public areas who refuse to make eye contact or acknowledge others because they are moody or just feel superior?
How many supposedly “normal” people do we know who have trouble maintaining relationships with their spouses, children, or parents?
How many supposedly “normal” people knowingly engage in repetitive behaviors that are sometimes dangerous to themselves or others?
I’m not looking for a cure. The munchkin already thinks he is “normal”. My only goal as a parent is to raise my son to be a decent human being. I accept that him and some of his behaviors may not be suitable for certain situations. That’s fine. Humans are human and labels should only be for things.