Sometimes being fair and honest can seem a little harsh

If you’ve followed my blog at all, or even gotten to know me on Twitter or Facebook, you should already know that I’m all about the limitless potential of all children, with or without Autism. My whole goal is to not just raise awareness but to have people understand and accept people with Autism for who they are.

However, you should also know that I’m never one to forget just how hard Autism can be on a person. I’m not the type of person to write about the good and/or bad without acknowledging that the opposite is also true.

The situation

I like to come up with my own “quotes” or thoughts that I share, some personal insight that perhaps others may or may not share. I try to inspire or get people thinking as much as I can.

Recently, one such quote has been “corrected” a few times now on me, which is why I bring this up in this post.

No matter the severity, never underestimate a person with Autism. There could be brilliance struggling to get out.

On more than one occasion, some parents have tried to tell me that it’s not “there could be brilliance”… it’s “there is brilliance”.

Let’s be fair

The truth is, I am an optimist and believe that anything is possible, anyone is capable of anything but I’m also very grounded in reality. The reality is that not everyone is brilliant… Autism or not.

Now, some Autistics discover a powerful strength in one specific field, whether it be music, math, art… what ever. Some are so amazing that they are classified as a savant.

The fact is, most Autistics are not savants though.

I realize that it’s going to sound harsh (see post title) but in reality it’s not. Not every single person with Autism is brilliant. It’s just not any more likely than it is for any other people.

As I said, it’s not to say that they can’t be brilliant at something, or work really hard to become brilliant… but the fact is just that, not everyone is brilliant.

My answer to those who correct me

My answer to those people is: “I said what I meant and I meant what I said.

no labelsI can’t, in good conscience, refuse to label all Autistics as disabled or slow or having a low IQ and then turn around and label them all as brilliant. If I am expected to avoid labeling all Autistics to the negative, then I must also avoid labeling all Autistics to the positive as well.

Instead, I’ll focus on potential because everyone has potential. I’ll focus on possibilities because anything is possible. 

But I will not place unrealistic expectations or insinuations on anyone in an attempt to be overly optimistic and happy sounding.

I’m sorry if this post sounds a bit like a rant or if it sounds a little more negative than I usually am, but the next time someone corrects something I say in such a manner, it’ll be far easier to point them to this thread than it is to try to explain it all over again in 140 characters or less.

Don’t put a label on Autistics that you wouldn’t put on anyone else. Not everyone is brilliant. Not everyone is dumb. But everyone has the potential to be great.

About Stuart Duncan

My name is Stuart Duncan, creator of http://www.stuartduncan.name. My oldest son (Cameron) has Autism while my younger son (Tyler) does not. I am a work from home web developer with a background in radio. I do my very best to stay educated and do what ever is necessary to ensure my children have the tools they need to thrive. I share my stories and experiences in an effort to further grow and strengthen the online Autism community and to promote Autism Understanding and Acceptance.

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3 Responses to Sometimes being fair and honest can seem a little harsh

  1. Angel G July 9, 2011 at 8:31 pm #

    a) doesn’t the person have more to do with their time than to try and correct other peoples’ quotes?

    b) if said person doesn’t like it verbatim, there is an easy solution for them – change it. Yes it’s your quote, but most quotes get misquoted daily. If they want to say “is” instead of “could be”, then do it.

    By the way, I’m really liking this line:

    But everyone has the potential to be great.

  2. Rob Gorski July 9, 2011 at 8:48 pm #

    Stuart my friend, this is one of those things where you can’t win for trying. You will never make everyone happy and someone will always be offended.

    One of the things I try to stress is just how differently Autism affects each person and each family. For many people Autism is a nightmare and a heartache. For others it’s more positive. I have found that by speaking more about my own kids, based on my personal experience tends to “offend” fewer people.

    I wish people would stop with all the nit picking and worry about the bigger picture. This is like when I get corrected for saying my kids are Autistic instead children with Autism or some nonsense.

    People we have much bigger things to worry about. You do a great job Stu. You just can’t please everyone.

  3. Forgotten July 10, 2011 at 6:44 pm #

    I agree and disagree with this. I love that you are trying to be fair but can I point out one thing?

    The word brilliant is also used to describe a cut of diamond and it’s level of sparkle. No matter what the cut, every diamond has some level of sparkle. Could the people correcting your quote, not also mean it in this way? If you limit brilliant to only intellect, your evaluation of how others are correcting you is entirely correct…but as we know, many words have more than one meaning. 🙂

    I consider my son brilliant. He’s 4 years old, Autistic, and amazes me each and every day. Though he has never invented anything that could be found “brilliant” to the world, he has opened my eyes to a whole new way of seeing things. He’s added sparkle to my world and to me that’s where his brilliance is most important. 🙂

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