‘Autism should be more famous’

Student shares his story through graphic art

Eleanor Dudley, Features Editor

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Those of us whose lives aren’t touched by living with autism often struggle to find our empathy. Discrimination because of apparent differences in behavior and physical appearance is all too common. According to a United Nations human rights publication it can be a part of life for approximately 70 million people in the world who live with a type of autism.

Student Jaykob Walson decided to share his story through art. In Drawing and Painting class Walson created a comic strip to tell his peers what life with autism is really like.

“I just want people to start helping others with autism and be more aware of it,” Walson said. He has struggled with people who make fun of him because of autism. “People may think our behavior is too unique and we may be likely to be bullied,” he said.

The issue of discrimination against those with autism is greater than classrooms and hallways. It is a worldwide issue.

During World Autism Awareness Week on April 2, 2015, United Nations human rights experts Catalina Davis and Dainius Puras stated in a speech that “Autistic persons should be recognized as the main experts on autism and on their own needs,” they said. “It is about promoting their independence and respecting their dignity.”

For all students adolescence is a time of great difficulty, a time where all teenagers struggle to work towards independence and build their confidence. Imagine the additional challenges for teenagers with autism.

Walson asks his peers to think about a day where discrimination against those on the autism spectrum is long gone. Where each and every person is treated with the respect they deserve, regardless of their ability. He poses to peers the question, is autism likely to be discriminated against in the future?

“I would hope the answer is no,” said Walson.

When students like Walson are willing to share their story, their peers must listen. Our world is divisive and discriminatory enough, and students with autism deserve the same voice and treatment as any other human being.

In fact, for Walson, “Autism should be more famous.”

Comic strip drawn by Jaykob Walson

1. “Before I get started, many of your don’t know the true meaning of autism. ASB or Asperger’s syndrome, or well, Autism is a disability. People with Autism have trouble communicating and sometimes can have trouble making friends.”

2.  “The function of autism made them very different from other people.”

3. “They had trouble getting attention because they were anti-social.”

4.  “Because of their actions they are likely to be picked on.”

5. “They are likely to not graduate from school”

6. “And they have a repetitive pattern of behavior.”

7. “After all, autism is a disability that brings hate to it.”

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