• Understanding Autism from the Inside

    “Academics came easily to me. The rest of life—not so much.”
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So Many People are Touched by Autism

I owe you all many blog posts about our weekend in Miami at the Reader’s Favorites awards—interesting little tid bits that I learned along the way. I met many wonderful people, and incredible authors.  I know I have said this before, but EVERYWHERE I GO, I MEET SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN TOUCHED IN SOMEWAY BY AUTISM.

I met an author, whose daughter has autism, which is the subject of her book.  Another author, adopted a boy with autism. Yet another, (one who you will hear from in my next post) recently attended an event for autism. The CEO of reader’s favorites, has a friend with an autistic child. AND—when I was roaming the Miami Book Fair with Aspie Teen, he drifted into a publisher’s booth to look at a new superhero book. The publisher gave me a card, and I handed her mine. (Look at me doing the networking thing LOL) She stared at the card, and told me the story of her nephew (her sister’s son) with—your guessed it—AUTISM!

In every class, supermarket, book store, school event I attend there is someone present who has been affected by autism in some way.  It is actually mind-blowing.

The Sad Truth

It is awesome to meet so many people that I can share my story with, and to always find those who can relate. However, what has saddened me over this past weekend is how many people I ran into that are so utterly clueless when it comes to autism.  I mean archaically clueless. I do not say this to be mean—but so many people just do not know.

The craziness ran the gamut of people who truly wanted to know more about autism, to those who wanted to comb my hair for me like I was a china doll that couldn’t care for herself, to those whose comments left me speechless.


“You should be so proud of yourself, you came out of it.”—um, thank you.

“You’ve recovered, how did you do that?”—I have?

“Oh dear, I am so sorry!”—why? I have super-powers!

“Do you think there is a reason you were born like that?”—hmmmm

“You got married and had children, too?”—yes…


None of these comments were meant to be demeaning, or cruel, but they showed the degree of ignorance there still is where autism is concerned.  Of most concerning to me personally, is the assumption I keep running into that autistic children do not grow up to get married, have children, or have a good, or “normal” life.  Well—yes I did get married, AND I had children! No one told me I couldn’t!

The idea that these things are impossible for us bothers me because I fear this misconception is being branded and stamped upon or children’s psyche.  Would I have married, and had children if throughout my whole life everyone thought I could not? Would I have been convinced that this kind of life was out of my reach because of my autism? Would I have just given up and not fought for it? I don’t know—but this perception scares me.

Jeannie Davide-Rivera

Jeannie is an award-winning author, the Answers.com Autism Category Expert, contributes to Autism Parenting Magazine, and the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. She lives in New York with her husband and four sons, on the autism spectrum.