Sometimes it’s easiest to assume that what we see and hear (or don’t see and hear) about a person is all there is.
That is the experience for many who struggle with autism. Autism is a complicated development disorder that affects roughly 1 in 54 Americans. The spectrum ranges from very high-functioning individuals whom you may not even know are considered autistic, to very low-functioning persons who are nonverbal and physically challenged.
The Autism Site shares the story of a young man who at seven-years old could not communicate and whose body was not functional for easy tasks. It was assumed he didn’t understand people around him. That assumption was wrong.
The boy, Ido Kedar, learned to type on an iPad, and now at 23 years old, is the author of two books that describe his experience. “My autism was explained incorrectly in front of me a thousand times,” he writes.
At Flatrock, many of our residents are nonverbal and appear unable to understand or communicate. While we do not know everything, we do know that may not be true. The best assumption is to proceed as if they understand everything.