This is why no autism story or program will ever be perfect

Julia is a new character on the children's show Photo: Sesame Street

Julia is a new character on the children’s show
Photo: Sesame Street

So the Sesame Street #SeeTheAmazing autism program was launched and shared and talked about like mad and of course, torn to shreds and judged and attacked.

Why? Well, I could go into the details but honestly, the details don’t really matter. This has happened with every program and story ever created and will continue to happen.

No one autism story takes every single perspective into account. They just can’t. Many of the perspectives conflict, making it very difficult to include together and there are just so many that it’s nearly impossible to remember to include them all.

Personally, I’m attacked every single time I talk about how great a person with autism can be, because I’m not talking about how disabling autism can be. Then I write about how disabling autism can be and I’m attacked because I’m not making autism sound like the best gift ever.

This happens every single time.

Cure vs acceptance
Parent vs autistic
Person first vs Identity first
Children vs adults
Independent vs dependent
Verbal vs non-verbal
Boys vs girls
Toxins vs genetics

It really doesn’t matter to whom you are talking or whom you’re talking about or what position you take or how much good you do. None of that matters.

You will be hated for it.

Sesame Street’s program isn’t perfect because I didn’t create it. Even if I did, it would only be perfect for me. Not for everyone else. Lots of people would hate it.

That’s the whole point.

This is why we don’t only have one company doing one program or one person telling one story.

Parents will reach other parents. Autistics will reach other autistics. Somewhere in the middle of it all, we’ll all reach each other. But not everyone will like it.

There’s 2 things we should work on in this regard:

1. Don’t attack each other. Constructive criticism is educational. Hateful attacks create closed minds. Show people how your story is different. I’m sure they’d even appreciate that. Just don’t attack them because their story doesn’t align with yours.

2. Don’t take the criticism personally. Some people are not going to like what you say because it’s not what they wanted you to say. So long as you have something to say, there will always be people who will want you to say what they want said. It’s personal for them, it’s not personal against you. They’re allowed to wish you said what they wanted to hear.

If you are doing good work and making a positive impact and changing lives, keep going. Let other people worry about their own programs and their own stories.

There’s more than enough room for everyone and there is more than enough stories.

That’s where real autism understanding and acceptance comes from.

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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6 Responses to This is why no autism story or program will ever be perfect

  1. Sarah October 26, 2015 at 10:45 pm #

    I disagree that “it’s not perfect, so it is hated,”. I don’t expect “perfection,”. But what I *do* expect is a media that doesn’t treat autism as a disorder in which the afflicted must only be understood. That they’re just “a little different,” and should be accepted by society, no questions asked. The struggles of so many parents of autistic children don’t matter when the rest of the world (who see Sesame Street and this is their only interaction with someone who is autistic) think that the worst struggles that parents of kids with ASD face is that their kid echoes sometimes and doesn’t have good eye contact. Only about 10% of ASD kids are this high-functioning. The other 90% have potty-training issues, cannot talk, and more than likely have issues feeding themselves. The portrayal on Sesame Street is a joke.

  2. Kjersten October 27, 2015 at 8:38 pm #

    And I think the previous poster has just proven your point.

  3. Tammy Vice October 28, 2015 at 6:59 am #

    Well said Stuart. Appreciate you continuing to creating awareness, and support of others who do the same.

  4. Full Spectrum Mama October 28, 2015 at 10:43 am #

    We don’t have tv so I’ve not seen it. But I agree with your central point – and that is as it should be. We autistic people are as diverse as…people.

  5. Aspecialist February 8, 2016 at 3:58 am #

    People do not accept autism as a normal part of life. People with autism usually become so pity with themselves, which they should not be. There are doctors like Naturopathy expert that will help people with autism like your kid. They use natural solutions that are proven and safe. Body Composition Analysis is one of the assessment that they use.

  6. Ettina September 11, 2016 at 5:51 pm #

    Sarah, your stats are backward. Actual research shows the exact opposite percentage breakdown to what you claim – 90% of 8 year old autistic kids have a normal IQ.

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