Update 04/22/2017 – Happy Autism Acceptance Month!
I’m collecting favorite quotes about autism from some of my favorite people. Please share your own in the comments and if I like it, I may add it to the list.
1. “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism,” Dr. Stephen Shore.
2. “What would happen if the autism gene was eliminated from the gene pool? You would have a bunch of people standing around in a cave, chatting and socializing and not getting anything done,” Dr. Temple Grandin
3. “It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a child with autism to raise the consciousness of the village,” Coach Elaine Hall
4. “And now I know it is perfectly natural for me not to look at someone when I talk. Those of us with Asperger’s are just not comfortable doing it. In fact, I don’t really understand why it’s considered normal to stare at someone’s eyeballs,” John Elder Robison
5. “Autism … offers a chance for us to glimpse an awe-filled vision of the world that might otherwise pass us by,” Dr. Colin Zimbleman, Ph.D.
6.“I’ve listened enough. It’s time for me to speak, however it may sound. Through an electronic device, my hands, or my mouth. Now it’s your time to listen. Are you ready?” Neal Katz, Self-advocate
7. “The most interesting people you’ll find are ones that don’t fit into your average cardboard box. They’ll make what they need, they’ll make their own boxes,” Dr. Temple Grandin
8. “This is a FOREVER journey with this creative, funny, highly intelligent, aggressive, impulsive, nonsocial, behavioral, often times loving individual. The nurse said to me after 6 hours with him ‘He is a gift’ INDEED he is,” Janet Frenchette Held, Parent
9. “Behavior is communication. Change the environment and behaviors will change,” Lana David
10. “I think when one becomes identified with a label that’ll become all anyone sees; the expansiveness and breadth of the all of who you are suddenly hidden from view. I look to the entire history of the label and how it came to be. Our Western world likes to compartmentalize putting everything into simplistic categories. Now they have such terms as “neurotypical” and “neurodivergent,” separating the entire human population on the planet into two categories. I would say that “neurotypical” is a diversity as well, Kurt Muzikar, Introduction to Bozo to Bosons (not yet published)
11. “For autistic individuals to succeed in this world, they need to find their strengths and the people that will help them get to their hopes and dreams. In order to do so, ability to make and keep friends is a must. Amongst those friends, there must be mentors to show them the way. A supportive environment where they can learn from their mistakes is what we as a society needs to create for them,” Bill Wong, Autistic Occupational Therapist
12. “Our wounds and hurts and fears are in our eyes. Humans think they build ‘walls’ for internal privacy. They think eye contact is about honesty but they mostly lie because they think they can hide their intent. Eye contact is invasive,” Carol Ann Edscorn
13. “Although people with autism look like other people physically, we are in fact very different…We are more like travelers from the distant, distant past. And if, by our being here, we could help the people of the world remember what truly matters for the Earth, that might give us quiet pleasure,” Naoki Higashida, The Reason I Jump
14. “Negative words carry negative vibration. Positive words carry positive vibration. What do you want your child to reflect back to you, the label of disordered or the label of gifted in a new way?” Suzy Miller, Awesomism
15. “I want Elijah to know that he is loved just the way he is,” Gee Vero.
16. “What makes a child gifted and talented may not always be good grades in school, but a different way of looking at the world and learning,” Chuck Grassley
17. “Parents have therapists come in their house and tell them what to do. They give their power away. Parents need to focus on healing and empowering themselves. They must shift their beliefs about autism. Once the parent knows who they are the child will respond,” Lori Shayew.
18. “Not everyone is perfect. There is always an imperfect side to everyone,” Finn Christie, Age 10, on making Perfect Babies.
19. “Life is… not about counting the losses and the lost expectations, but rather swimming, with as much grace as can be mustered, in the joy of all of it,” Leisa Hammett
20. “For every 3 years your child is in public school, you can expect one exceptional teacher, one mediocre teacher, and one teacher who makes your life miserable,” Rick Seward, disability advocate for Alpha Resource Center in Santa Barbara, 2002
21. “The labeling undermines us in so many levels! But people don’t know, they need to be reminded that we too are God’s children. People don’t mean harm because they too are God’s children. Love heals lots of wounds. Love is patient, love is kind; my motto in life. You are loving. Mom has healed her consciousness to allow me to truly reflect my real identity as God’s perfect child. Just don’t let your senses get you fooled, we are more than our bodies. Find the truth so you can reflect your real being,” Nicole (13 years old, non-verbal, labeled autistic.. typed independently on her iPad)
22. “Music therapy, equine therapy, and art therapy are all ‘therapeutic’ because they are a vibrational match. They have elements to them that your child can use at his current level of high-vibrational function to make sense of this lower vibrating world,” Suzy Miller, Awesomenism
23. “Stop thinking about normal…You don’t have a big enough imagination for what your child can become,” Johnny Seitz, autistic tightrope artists in the movie Loving Lamposts.
24. “The way we look at our children and their limitations is precisely the way they will feel about themselves. We set the examples, and they learn by taking our cue from us,” Amalia Starr
25. “English is my 2nd language. Autism is my first,” Dani Bowman
26. “We are the doorway into a New World Order that is based on love and heart. We have the heart key. We only need the respect of others to learn how to serve wisely and kindly,” Lyrica, nonverbal, from the book Awetizm
27. “Rome was not built on the first day. I need time to build the Eiffel Tower of my life,” Jeremy Sicile-Kira
28. “Within every living child exists the most precious bud of self-identity. To search this out and foster it with loving care; that is the essence of educating an autistic child,” Dr. Kiyo Kitahara
29. “We contain the shapes of trees and the movement of rivers and stars within us,” Patrick Jasper Lee
30. “When doctors, parents, teachers, therapists, even television describe typical spectrum kids, without meaning to, they’re describing typically male spectrum traits — patterns first noticed by observing boys. Only boys. And we aren’t boys. So they miss and mislabel us,” Jennifer O’Toole, Asperkids
31. “Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine,” Alan Turing, creator of the first computer used to break codes during WW II.
32. “My autism is the reason I’m in college and successful. It’s the reason I’m good in math and science. It’s the reason I care,” Jacob Barnett, sixteen-year old math and physics prodigy.
33. “Think of it: a disability is usually defined in terms of what is missing. … But autism … is as much about what is abundant as what is missing, an over-expression of the very traits that make our species unique,” Paul Collins, Not Even Wrong: Adventures in Autism
34. “The concept of neurodiversity provides a paradigm shift in how we think about mental functioning. Instead of regarding large portions of the American public as suffering from deficit, disease, or dysfunction in their mental processing, neurodiversity suggests that we instead speak about differences in cognitive functioning,” Dr. Thomas Armstrong
35. “My autism makes things shine. Sometimes I think it is amazing but sometimes it is sad when I want to be the same and talk the same and I fail. Playing the piano makes me very happy. Playing Beethoven is like your feelings – all of them – exploding,” Mikey Allcock, 16-year old who was non-verbal until age 10
36. “By holding the highest vision for your child when they can not see it for themselves, you are lifting them up, elevating them and helping them to soar,” Megan Koufos
37. “There is no cure for being human,” Cheri Rauser, mom to Isabell
38. “I know of nobody who is purely autistic or purely neurotypical. Even God had some autistic moments, which is why the planets all spin,” Jerry Newport, Your Life is Not a Label
39. “The good and bad in a person, their potential for success or failure, their aptitudes and deficits – they are mutually conditional, arising from the same source. Our therapeutic goal must be to teach the person how to bear their difficulties. Not to eliminate them for him, but to train the person to cope with special challenges with special strategies; to make the person aware not that they are ill, but that they are responsible for their lives,” Hans Asperger
40. “Autism is really more of a difference to be worked with rather than a monolithic enemy that needs to be slain or destroyed,” Stephen Shore, PhD
41. “I view ‘autistic’ as a word for a part of how my brain works, not for a narrow set of behaviors and certainly not for a set of boundaries of a stereotype that I have to stay inside,” Amanda Baggs
42. “My autism is like the taste of tepid saké, different but interesting,” Sue Rubin
43. “Like Asperger, I too would sometimes like to claim a dash of autism for myself. A dash of autism is not a bad way to characterize the apparent detachment and unworldliness of the scientist who is obsessed with one seemingly all-important problem and temporarily forgets the time of day, not to mention family and friends,” Uta Frith
44. “Even for parents of children who are not on the spectrum, there is no such thing as a normal child.” Violet Stevens
45. “Our duty in autism is not to cure but to relieve suffering and to maximize each person’s potential,” John Elder Robison
46. “Disability doesn’t make you exceptional, but questioning what you think you know about it does,” Stella Young
47. “Being autistic is not about living in a vacuum, sucking in everything around you, living in an existence shutout from your environment. If anything, the environment becomes more real, more painful, more evident,” Jocelyn Eastman
48. “Vibrant waves of sequenced patterns emerged in my head whenever I looked at musical notes and scores. Like pieces of a mysterious puzzle solved, it was natural for me to see music and its many facets as pictures in my head. It never occurred to me that others couldn’t see what I saw,” Dr. Stephen Shore
49. “We need to embrace those who are different and the bullies need to be the ones who get off the bus,” Caren Zucker, co-author of “In a Different Key”
50. “I don’t want my thoughts to die with me, I want to have done something. I’m not interested in power, or piles of money. I want to leave something behind. I want to make a positive contribution – know that my life has meaning,” Temple Grandin
51. “Autists are the ultimate square pegs, and the problem with pounding a square peg into a round hole is not that the hammering is hard work. It’s that you’re destroying the peg.”- Paul Collins
52. “Don’t think that there’s a different, better child ‘hiding’ behind the autism. This is your child. Love the child in front of you. Encourage his strengths, celebrate his quirks, and improve his weaknesses, the way you would with any child. You may have to work harder on some of this, but that’s the goal.” – Claire Scovell LaZebnik
53. Do not fear people with Autism, embrace them. Do not spite people with Autism, unite them. Do not deny people with Autism, accept them for then their abilities will shine.” – Paul Isaacs
54. “I see people with Asperger’s syndrome as a bright thread in the rich tapestry of life.” – Tony Attwood
55. “Autism is as much a part of humanity as is the capacity to dream.”-Kathleen Seidel
56. “I looked up to the stars and wondered which one I was from,” James McCue
57. “I see everything in color. I have synesthesia, which means that the part of my brain – that controls the senses – sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste – are wired differently,” Jeremy Sicile-Kira
58. “Connection is what moves this world forward. Connection is a profound human experience,” Jenny Palmiotto, The Therapist Shift
59. “By separating the autism from the person, are we encouraging our patients’ family members to love an imagined nonautistic child that was never born, forgetting about the real person who exists in front of us,” Christina Nicolaidis, A Physician Speaks
60. “Blue sky may be beautiful but lighting the tall buildings blue is autism-awareness,” Tito Mukhopadhyay
61. “Autism makes you listen louder. It makes you pay attention on an emotional level as well as an intellectual level,” Jace King, brother to Taylor Cross, Normal People Scare Me Too.
62. “Presume intelligence with all children with autism. Presume all of them are hearing you,” Lori Shayew, The Gifts of Autism
63. “Autism is about having a pure heart and being very sensitive… It is about finding a way to survive in an overwhelming, confusing world… It is about developing differently, in a different pace and with different leaps,” Trisha Van Berkel
64. “Until we create a nation that regularly wants to employ a person with autism, assure for a quality education for each person with autism, and eliminates the far too many unnecessary obstacles placed in the way of success for a person with autism, we really won’t be as successful as we must. We need to get all in our nation to embrace the belief that each person with autism is valued, respected and held to the highest level of dignity and must be provided every opportunity for the highest quality of life each and every day.” ASA President Scott Badesch
65. “Showing kindness towards those who are different and embracing our imperfections as proof of our humanness is the remedy for fear,” Emma Zurcher-Long of Emma’s Hope Book
66. “Nowhere am I so desperately needed as among a shipload of illogical humans,” Mr.Spock
67. “…I don’t need to apologize for Reid as much as interpret his behavior for the uninitiated. His actions aren’t immoral or wrong; they just get misconstrued or misinterpreted,” Andrea Moriarity, One Track Mind: 15 Ways to Amplify Your Child’s Special Interest
68. “…autistic people are people: they’re not puzzle pieces or baffling enigmas or medical mysteries to be solved or ‘normal’ people ‘trapped’ in the bodies of autistics or any of that crap that infects so many portrayals of autistic people in both the clinical literature and the popular media. At the same time, I think it’s equally important to celebrate the differences between autistic people and typical people, and to recognize the need for accommodating autism as a significant disability…” Steve Silberman, an Interview with Steve Silberman author of Neurotribes.
70. “Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible,” Frank Zappa
71. “The teacher must have to become autistic,” Hans Asperger
72. “We have to do away with this nonsense there is a window of opportunity for a person with autism,” Barry Prizant, author Uniquely Human at the 2016 Love and Autism Conference
73. “I believe everyone on the planet has their thing and, especially in my experience, autistic people all have a tremendous gift. It’s a matter of finding that gift and nurturing it,” Edie Brannigan, mom to runner Mikey Brannigan
74. “As an autistic I can readily see environmental phenomena of sun particles interacting with moisture in the air and rising up from the ground. I thought of these things I could see as sun sparkles and world tails,” Judy Endow. Painted Words: Aspects of Autism Translated
75. “When I did stims such as dribbling sand through my fingers, it calmed me down. When I stimmed, sounds that hurt my ears stopped. Most kids with autism do these repetitive behaviors because it feels good in some way. It may counteract an overwhelming sensory environment…” Temple Grandin, Autism Asperger’s Digest, 2011
76. “The experience of many of us is not that ‘insistence on sameness’ jumps out unbidden and unwanted and makes our lives hard, but that ‘insistence on sameness’ is actually a way of adapting to a confusing and chaotic environment…” Dora Raymaker
77. “Autism is here to stay and may be considered a part of the diversity of the human gene pool,” Dr. Stephen Shore
78. “As soon as a child is capable of understanding, they will know they are different. Just as a diabetic needs insulin, an autistic child needs accommodations … The label gave me knowledge and self-awareness,” Steve Andrews, Platinum Bay Technologies.
79. “A person with autism hears every sound intensely magnified. Thus, if the tone of voice is harsh or strict, they will feel scared and threatened and, consequently, may inadvertently scream or even attack. Aggressive behaviour is brought on by fear.” Joao Carlos Costa, 21, non-vebal, autistic
80. “Therapists and educators have traditionally tried to suppress or modulate a child’s special interest, or use it as a tool for behavior modification: Keep your hands still and stop flapping, and you will get to watch a Star Wars clip; complete your homework or no Harry Potter. But what if these obsessions themselves can be turned into pathways to growth? What if these intellectual cul-de-sacs can open up worlds?” Scientific American article talking about the documentary Life, Animated
81. “To measure the success of our societies, we should examine how well those with different abilities, including persons with autism, are integrated as full and valued members,” Ban Ki-Moon, Former United Nations Secretary-General
82. “I need to see something to learn it, because spoken words are like steam to me; they evaporate in an instant, before I have a chance to make sense of them. I don’t have instant-processing skills. Instructions and information presented to me visually can stay in front of me for as long as I need, and will be just the same when I come back to them later. Without this, I live the constant frustration of knowing that I’m missing big blocks of information and expectations, and am helpless to do anything about it,” Ellen Notbohm, Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew
83. [So-called] Mild autism doesn’t mean one experiences autism mildly… It means YOU experience their autism mildy. You may not know how hard they’ve had to work to get to the level they are,” Adam Walton
84. “Are your eyes listening? That’s what needs to happen to hear my writing voice. Because of autism, the thief of politeness and friendship, I have no sounding voice. By typing words I can play with my life and stretch from my world to yours. I become a real person when my words try to reach out to you without my weird body scaring you away. Then I am alive.” Sarah Stup, Excerpted from “Are your eyes listening? Collected Works” by Sarah Stup
85. “When a family focuses on ability instead of disability, all things are possible…Love and acceptance is key. We need to interact with those with autism by taking an interest in their interests,” Amanda Rae Ross
86. “Art can permeate the very deepest part of us, where no words exist,” Eileen Miller, The Girl Who Spoke with Pictures: Autism Through Art
87. “Why should I cry for not being an apple, when I was born an orange, I’d be crying for an illusion, I may as well cry for not being a horse,” Donna Williams