Parent and Adult Communities
In recent years, Autism Awareness has created a lot of knowledge in the general public. As more awareness grows, it’s only natural for more people to be diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum. This holds true for both children and adults. As these diagnoses continue to increase, the tendency is to figure out why.
For parents within the Autism communities, the question of why has created many models to figure things out. There are numerous parent-run organizations that raise money and put research dollars into everything from genetics, to vaccines, to environmental triggers. Many of these organizations also hold support meetings and distribute information on their believed causes and treatments.
However, what you see missing from many of these organizations is the Autistic view point. Reasons vary from each organization. This fact causes tension between the Autistic community and the parents who seek to speak for Autistic people. As well, many in the Autistic community, especially those within the Neurodiversity movement, believe less focus should be on the cause and cures or prevention of Autism and more on practical solutions to help those living.
The Autistic and Parent communities’ primary areas of alignment are not to be ignored, however. Areas on service and supports for Autistic people across their lifetime and across the spectrum are clear. With so little being invested, the little service and support Autistic children and adults get leaves many dependent on family well into adulthood. In these areas, both communities work together to bring about change including for Community Based supports for Autistics and their families to live independently. Both communities have a vital interest in combating bullying, restraints and seclusion and have done so.
There are those who are working to change the other issues these two communities are at odds on. The Autism Acceptance Project is a parent-run organization who promotes Neurodiversity ideals. As well, The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism not only promotes Neurodiversity ideals, but also helps get the Autistic voice in the national conversation. As more Autistic adults come forward, and more Autism organizations work together with Autistic voices, there will be more solidarity and one single voice to affect change. In the end, the Autistic community and Autism Parent community combined can create meaningful steps to go forward.