The reason I bring up historical autistic people is because I often think of the moon landing. Now bear with me, when the US and Russia had the space race it ended up inspiring a lot of children, and obviously, they didn’t all grow up to be astronauts. It takes a very specific career path and there aren’t exactly a lot of job openings. With Elon Musk these days, that may be changing, but you get my point.
Think of the careers that came about because of being inspired, about believing you can do anything and if it turns out you’re not astronaut material, that’s ok. Because if you believe, you have the chance to find something you are passionate about. Something that drives you every single day to do it. When you do, you know you will give it your all, because that self belief is within you.
Unfortunately, that is so rarely the case with autistic people. We are told too early that we are bad, misbehaving and actually a school setting can make it worse. It almost robs your identity of what a lot of people get, that feeling of self worth. I always felt I was too slow, not smart enough, just not on the other children’s level in any way. It can get to the point it feels like you have absolutely no value. The unfortunate thing is if you don’t learn self worth at a young age then trying to feel it when you are older is really tough. I have achieved a lot in a year but I still haven’t found a sense of accomplishment for it.
Don’t get me wrong I am very proud to be doing what I am for the community. For that, there will never be any doubt, I know how important it is. But simply the satisfaction of doing something, personally I didn’t think I was even capable of, is very much lacking and I am so aware that it should be there.
I would say tell your children that they have these amazing role models. Boost them up, give them positive potentials and who knows? It may not be within their personal future but a happy life and sense of self accomplishment should be. We should celebrate that we have some amazing people to look up to. If that was at least some of the message about autism we give, then who knows what having a more positive outlook in life could lead to for members of the community.
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All the best
Words – Ross A Fraser
Imagery – Ross A Fraser
Graphic Design App – Canva