Getting past the negative association with autism

“Autism-Awareness-Month-460×250” (CC BY 2.0) by Kentuckyguard

One student shares his personal experience with embracing his diagnosis

One in 68 children have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. The disorder affects the person’s ability to express themselves. This disability isn’t caused by vaccines, in spite of the news media’s ability to tell otherwise. Whenever I see that portrayed in the media, it upsets me to no end.

I’m Wes Huntington, and I have autism spectrum disorder. There are high-functioning people like me who can hold jobs and be productive members of society, and then there are people on the lower end who cannot function in society and have to be constantly monitored by medical personnel.

When I was diagnosed at the age of three, I didn’t know otherwise known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. I also tried to find out some information on some advocacy groups, and I came across Autism Speaks. From the time I was 18 until just last spring, I was in full support of Autism Speaks. Then I watched a documentary called Citizen Autistic where I found out what Autism Speaks does, and I immediately began to believe in the cause of boycotting Autism Speaks and all it stands for.

Autism Speaks’ budget in eugenics and genetic engineering and it sickens me to no end. Autism Speaks doesn’t speak for autistics; instead they answer to the anti-vaccination movement. This documentary needs to be shown and then people’s eyes can be opened up to what Autism Speaks truly represents.

Usually, people who are on the spectrum are relegated to technical or mathematical jobs. I’m not technical, and I’m certainly not mathematical. I’m glad that I’m able to express my love for broadcasting by doing KMSU’s Radio a La Carte program and being a reporter for this paper and The Southern Minnesota News Project also at KMSU.

One of my career goals is to go all over the country and maybe all over the world and express the positive message about autism. I really want to be an advocate and a crusader against social injustice when it comes to autistics. They’re a voice to be reckoned with, and need to have social acceptance. Groups like the Southern Minnesota Autism Coalition, who sponsored the ninth annual Walkdo to raise awareness, send a positive message to the public that autism isn’t a bad thing.

Wes Huntington

Wes Huntington is a senior mass media student. He is also the senior host of Radio a La Carte on KMSU-FM, which airs from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. every weekday. You can reach him by emailing him at wes.huntington@mnsu.edu.

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