Category Archives: Pity


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They Grow Up: Where are the Adults?

“Under the deficit model, autistic people are portrayed as broken humans who are ill and require fixing to enable them to function normally in society. In contrast, non-autistic people are viewed as neurologically healthy and psychologically well.”– Scott Michael Robertson

As much as we talk about autism and see autism in our lives whether all the time or not, I’ve never actually thought about how I only thought about kids having autism. I guess when I seen a child with autism, I forgot that one day they will grow up and be adults one day. It’s actually kind of bizarre how I never think of this when encountering someone with autism. Indirectly, I was infantilizing autism (Jennifer L. Stevenson).

I can’t believe I actually forgot that kids grow up with autism. I guess I’m so blinded by my sympathy that I just forget the fact that some of the autistic kids may grow up and actually go to college one day. Since I’m new to autism, I’m just learning about low functioning autism (LFA) and high functioning autism (HFA).

Take a look at this video:

What are your first reactions and thoughts to this video? Did you notice how no one heard the woman answering their questions until the end? I noticed the lady wasn’t being heard. I started thinking about how she was answering the questions from experience. I also noticed that the people didn’t want to hear her. It reflects the position of autistic adults in the autism spectrum. They go unheard and people put them on the back burner. In my opinion, that has got to STOP!

Ok so take a look at this, though you may have seen it before, I got it from a reading my professor gave our class called, Neurodiversity, Quality Of Life, And Autistic Adults: Shifting Research And Professional Focuses Onto Real-Life Challenges:

“Autistic people are viewed under the neurodiversity model as individuals who possess a blend of cognitive strengths and weaknesses in the following core domains:

  • Language, Communication, and Social Interaction
  • Sensory Processing (environmental input)
  • Motor Skill Execution (environmental output)

Goal-oriented and Reflexive Thinking, Planning, and Self-Regulation.” (Robertson)

Whereas “the deficit model portrays autistic people as ill, broken, and in need of fixing” (Robertson). In class we were talking about sympathy and pity and how sympathy goes with the first model and pity goes with the second model. We talked about how these “poster kids” stand as the face of autism because organizations like Autism Speaks, Autism Society of America, etc. targets a specific audience for example parents because it invokes a sense of parenting and sympathy from not only parents but other like myself. Also, we talked about how with children, we think about innocence and sympathy comes into play ad with adults we think that there’s something wrong with them and they’re weird. This contrast was very interesting to me because we are so quick to judge adults but children we give the benefit of the doubt.

So with all this being said and recognized, why aren’t autistic adults incorporated more into the publicity, for lack of a better word right now? I believe it would give people more a different view and perspective on autism if they seen, I’m sure, the many adults that live on their own, going to college, have jobs, LFA or HFA, etc. Think of the impact it could have if people remember the adults…


I think that is all I want to say, but if not.. I’ll be back!

How’d I forget he will grow up?

I love this little guy!