Fact about Autism
There is no blood test, no scan, and no image that can detect autism. Diagnosis relies on behavioral observation and screening
As an educator, I have come into contact with autism in all of its multiple forms. In fact, I love the term "spectrum" which is used to describe the wide variety of degree and impact this condition has on the individuals affected. Students diagnosed with autism generally receive special education services and have Individualized Educational Plans (IEPs as they are called in schools). Like any child with special needs, there are multiple hurdles which must be overcome in order for a person to reach their full potential. Some of those hurdles are addressed by professionals who are trained in supporting people with autism, but other obstacles can only be overcome if people change their views on what it means to have "special needs".
Just about every group of people who deal with people with special needs, have misconceptions about what that actually means. Students fear being labeled and parents fear their students will lose self-esteem or get stuck in a track that will hold them back from achieving their full potential. Unfortunately, even some teachers hold different standards and expectations for children with special needs. I can't tell you how many times I've heard, "Well, that would probably be okay work in this class, but this is really good work since it was the special ed class who did it."
People with special needs can achieve everything that people without special needs can achieve, they just require modifications to how material is presented because they learn differently. My experience with autistic people is they can fall between the cracks because they are quiet and don't draw attention to themselves. On the opposite end of the spectrum, they can be highly functional academically, outperforming students at their grade level or even in higher grade levels, but who act out due to a different sense of socially acceptable behavior. These kids get labels as quiet and average or smart and trouble-makers. But if a person has autism, they are neither. Instead, they require the correct set of supports to adequately challenge them and to present material in a manner which suits their personalities and needs.
If I could impart one message to everyone, it is to remember that if someone has special needs, whether that classification is given due to autism or any other condition or diagnosis, it doesn't equate to lesser abilities. So when you hear people holding lower expectations for people with special needs, even if they are doing so with good intentions at heart, speak up, educate people and let them know that we all have special needs from time to time. Heck, I'm a bitch at least once a day so, when that happens, people need to adjust their approach with me or risk getting their heads snapped off. I may not have an IEP, but that doesn't mean I don't have specific needs at different times.
My two protagonists in my newest novel, Feed, Prey, Love which is now available through Ai Press, amazon.com, All Romance, and Barnes & Nobles, are very similar to people with autism, actually. Talib, a two hundred year old vampire has isolated himself from society, not feeling like he belongs and feeling misunderstood by both humans and other paranormals. Conley, an understated human, wants to find someone to accept him for all his quirks, but has learned that men only see him for his beautifully sculpted outer shell. Once they get a glimpse at his peculiar intellect, they run for the hills. It isn't until these two men meet that they find the person who provides what the other needs and then both are able to flourish. Of course, I had to throw a villain into the mix to threaten their happiness, but what fun would a romance novel be without that kind of tension?
For more information about my new release and other books I have written, you can visit my website at www.dhstarr.com. If you would like to purchase Feed, Prey, Love, you can purchase a copy at www.ai-press.net, at amazon.com, All Romance, or Barnes and Noble.
I will give a free copy of Feed, Prey, Love to someone who responds to this blog. I'm interested to hear what your experiences have been with people who have special needs.
Thanks for taking the time to read this.
- DH Starr
- D. H. Starr is a clean-cut guy with a wickedly naughty mind. He grew up in Boston and loves the city for its history and beauty. Also, having lived in NYC, he enjoys the fast pace and the availability of anything and everything. He first became interested in reading from his mother who always had a stack of books piled next to her bed. Family is important to D. H. and his stories center around the intricate and complex dynamics of relationships and working through problems while maintaining respect and love. His favorite books tend to fall in the genres of science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, and coming of age. To learn more about D. H. Starr and his books, please visit his website at www.dhstarr.com if you are 18+. To view his young adult work and resources, visit www.dhstarrYAbooks.com.