Autism is a buzzword surrounded by a slew of misconceptions. Young people with autism are far more likely to be misunderstood and bullied in school. They often end up being caricatured through Rain Man-like Hollywood stereotypes. And the narrative is often dominated with the statistic that 1 in 68 people born autistic are not capable individuals. But this is a myth.
Many who are on the spectrum are simply wired differently. And there's one thing that advocates want everyone to be more aware of: the immense amount neurodiversity, and the value of being autistic.
Last month, the Art of Autism concluded an incredible online series called Autism Unveiled. It's a collection of visual art and experiences from people with autism, from all over the world, that sheds a powerful light on participant's inner emotions, thoughts and capabilities. It tells a very different story about what living with autism is like than the one that's made its way through popular culture.
"The most important thing is that we all have diverse experiences," Debra Muzikar, the co-founder of Art of Autism told Mic. "We need to appreciate other people for who they are as human beings."
What follows is a collection of self-portraits and quotes on Autism Unveiled that pull back the curtain on what it really means to live on the spectrum.
Myth: Autism makes it impossible for kids to achieve their potential.
Many people with autism view it as a special part of who they are.
"The world would be drab if we were all the same," writes Jeremy Sicile-Kira, who has synesthesia, a condition where senses mix, like seeing colors while listening to music, because of differences in brains wiring. Research shows that people with autism are almost three times more likely to have synesthesia.
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