... Arzu Forough of Washington Autism Alliance & Advocacy worries that the recent press coverage in Seattle could mislead the public about the nature of autism and obscure how serious the condition can be. Forough supported pulling the ad, and repeatedly calls for various autism groups to work together to advocate for support. But she says the points made by ASAN in many media over the last week are only part of the picture.
“A lot of people don’t understand what autism is, they don’t understand that it’s actually a disability,” says Forough, the Eastside mother of an autistic son. “Their perception is that these are individuals who may be quirky and they may just have some minor differences, and they really don’t understand the depth of support that some individuals with autism need.
“To that segment of the population, what played out with Seattle Children’s last week really won’t help them understand autism better.”
Back at Mary Gates Hall, the members of ASAN say they’ve heard it all before, and stick to their core message: If more thought was put toward accommodating autism rather than fixing it, autistic people would be far better off.
“People say ‘You’re too high-functioning to understand,’ ” Lyubov Steadman says. “You never met me when I was 10 years old. I was that kid.”