Support: What does it look like for a person with Autism?
The Art of Autism is a non-profit organization whose hope is to connect and empower individuals within the autism community through participation in the arts. Their mission is to foster independence, self-esteem, and artistic expression. The organization was created in the hopes of supporting artists, musicians, and creative writers on the autism spectrum, raising awareness about autism and the arts, and strengthening the broader autism community. Kaelynn Partlow wrote for the website's blog on the topic of support. Her article, "What does Supporting an Autistic Person Mean?" was written to shed some light on how to best support a person with autism and what those behaviors look like in real-life as well as why it is important. She starts her article by asking, what does it actually mean when people say "autistic people need support?" By definition, it means giving someone access to an item/activity/service/modification that gets rid of or decreases the challenges that are caused by their differing abilities. Partlow is on the autism spectrum herself and includes some example from her personal experience. Two examples of the accommodations she gets are her service dog that she gets to bring everywhere, which is specifically helpful in busy environments with a bunch of sensory challenges involved. She also gets a specific pass at amusement parks that allows for her to wait for attractions and rides outside of the crowd. She notes that some people believe that providing support and accommodations means that a person is getting "the easy way out," but this is not the case. "Giving someone support does not mean that tasks or activities are made easy;" all challenges are not eliminated. Take hikers for example...most people who like to go on long hikes are in decent physical shape and enjoy a challenge, and they also know how to prepare and pack the right clothing and tools that they need to succeed. Imagine if a person is naked; they are motivated to go on the hike, but they don't have the proper clothing and they didn't pack anything for the trip. The hiker is unsupported, they will face all the challenges of the hike, but with the added difficulty of having to do it without any essentials. "Receiving support as a disabled person is much like giving clothing and supplies to a hiker." This additional support does not eliminate the challenges, but it does make them more manageable. For people on the autism spectrum, having access to therapies, sensory tools, medical care, and modifications does not make things easy or eliminate the struggle involved, it just eases the additional and unnecessary difficulties. Providing support may come in a number of different ways and it may vary based on what a person needs, but it is still crucial that it is given to ensure that every person in this world, no matter their abilities, can succeed.