What is Autism? Most of us, till date don’t even understand the meaning of this word. And even if someone does, they consider the person having this disorder as a mentally challenged human.
Well, I agree that Autism is a neurological disorder in which people have impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and restricted and repetitive behavior. But is it necessary that a person who is Autistic, cannot be considered to lead a normal life? Well, the answer is that a person having Autism, is a normal human being, capable of leading a normal and healthy life like an ordinary human being. He has the right to live, right to gain information and the most important, right to speech.
Some people tag these autistic people as ‘mad’. I remember an incident, where one of my friends commented on seeing an autistic kid, “Look at him! Look at the way he walks!! He is not even looking at anyone….Mad guy!!” The kid heard each and every word of the harsh words spoken by my friend. But the kid did not react to his statements. Maybe he had developed the habit of listening to cruel statements by the people around him. It is a sad truth that we all are judgemental in nature. We are not capable of understanding that they too have a heart and that heart is capable of breathing too. So what if they are weak in one sector of life? They might be better than all of us, in all the other fields of life.
Who has not heard about the great Albert Einstein and Newton? One of the biggest legends of history, the people known for their brilliant contributions to Physics and Science. Yes, according to some experts, they suffered from a type of Autism. But, frankly speaking, which human being in this whole world doesn't know them? They are the legendary heroes in the world of Physics and their contributions to science. The law of Gravity and the general theory of relativity, are the two pillars to modern Science.
Who has not heard about the famous movie – My name is Khan? Beautifully executed, this movie depicts the outstanding acting of Shah Rukh Khan, and the portrayal of an autistic person and his struggles in life. The movie having earned fame and recognition over the globe is known for being one of the biggest blockbusters of Indian Cinema. It was one of the few films, which received critical acclaim and also worldwide box office success. Barfi, another super hit movie showing the beautiful Priyanka Chopra portraying the role of an autistic girl, and her struggles to lead a happy life. These movies tend to spread awareness among people about the struggles faced by the Autistic people and also that we should consider them as one of our own. I respect these movies a lot, and specially the actors who portray these roles flawlessly.
It is not difficult to understand Autism. The main aim of this article of mine is to make the readers understand about the disrespect that people having autism face, and to garner respect for them in our society. Their communication style is different than the rest of us, and one should not get offended by when they repeatedly keep asking questions. They might feel offended, shy and also excluded from the rest of the world. No one in this world has the right to speak down on them. They deserve to be treated as equals. Not at all am I trying to say that they lack emotions and empathy.They are not comfortable in making eye contact, but that does not mean that they are ignorant. It is our responsibility to make them feel comfortable in this society.’ Treating them as equals’ will not make us look less in front of anyone. Instead we tend to gain their love and affection. They will feel secure with us.
So, finishing this article, I would like to say that when you respect someone, you will get their respect and love. Ridicule someone innocent, and God will not forgive those people. Making someone happy will not only make them feel loved, but it will also increase the self-respect in front of our own eyes. Let people become aware of this increasing need to respect and care for the autistic people, and make them feel loved and cared for in our society. Then only, our world will become a peaceful and happy place to live in!!
Stories by Arunima Mukhopadhyay