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  • Approved for CNN

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    Posted March 30, 2012 by
    THillson
    Location
    Weymouth, Massachusetts
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Life with autism: Share your story

    Life With Autism

     
    I have a sister who was diagnosed in adulthood with Asperger's Syndrome. The diagnosis made total sense of all the struggles that she - and we as a family - had growing up, and it brought healing to all of us. After the diagnosis, my sister got treatment that turned her life around, and even got her to the point where she could finally be in a long term relationship with a loving boyfriend. The employment situation is another story however.

    Due to ignorance, large numbers of employers continue to discriminate against adults on the autism spectrum, despite these adults' college degrees and obvious intellect. Employers need to be educated to give adults like my sister a chance.

    I firmly believe that there are just as many people who ARE on the autism spectrum as there are who are not, and that there are far more ADULTS who have Autism Spectrum Disorders than anyone realizes.

    My sister has made enormous progress from being an almost non-verbal child and a super shy teen. She has two college degrees and is now a speaker for Understanding Our Differences. She travels to schools to enlighten people about the existence of, and strengths of, autistic people.

    This country direly needs to provide more support programs for adult autistics. It is wrong and inhumane to limit treatment programs to only the young, because autism is a lifelong affliction.

    Also, employers need to stop discriminating against people with autism spectrum disorders. These folks are are super-bright, and could be great employees if employers would give them a chance! There is a tremendous pool of untapped intellect in the autistic community, and employers need to be made to see that!

    In closing, I am proud of my Aspie sister! I wish more people could see what hard work that she and other adults with ASD have done to get to where they are. People need to embrace and support adults with ASDs - especially the OLDER adults, for whom there are no programs. These folks deserve to be allowed to join the mainstream and live full productive lives instead of being sidelined by unenlightened medical people and potential employers. Aspies are great people! Let's give them a chance!
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