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Autism
Spectrum Disorder (a condition that impacts the brain development and how the
person perceives and socializes with others; which problems arise in social
interactions and communication) is on the rise in America and not many people
understand how and why children with Autism have the outburst they do. One of
the main functional domains in autism is social interaction. Without the
knowledge of autism spectrum disorder, many individuals pass judgment on
children that act out in public. Based on the video; “Autism in America” and
personal experiences as a child and working in the field, children diagnosed
with autism face more challenges than those diagnosed at early onset. The
purpose of this reflection paper is highlight obstacles that people living
autism encounter such as social interactions, education, and marriage. With
this video addressing many issues within the autism community and outside of
the community. Society needs to be educated on these main points in order to
see a change.

Documentary Content Summary, Review, and Discussion

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            Educating yourself and others on the Autism
Spectrum disorder (ASD) is not an easy task because of the stigmatism that goes
along with being autistic based on personal experience and speaking with members
of the autism community. As shown in the video, not many individuals want to be
talked to or interviewed as the woman had her face blocked to avoid any
conflict after the video was released. This should not be an issue when
learning about differences within the community and cultural backgrounds. As stated
in the video, 25 percent of people/children diagnosed with autism is
non-verbal. The school system is factor where bullying arises and with teachers
are not equipped to assists these students. 
This causes children with autism to feel more insolated and unable to
cope with the issues that arise in their lives.

As women in the video mentioned about her high
school experience stating she only wanted to make friends. She said, “All I
wanted to do was make friends. Although some of her classmates were nice to
her, she was still unable to build a connection with others due to her issues
with communication skills and social interactions. It seemed like being
autistic hinder her from enjoying her high school experience. The teenager only
wanted to feel that acceptance and have someone to make her feel, as they were
equals. Communicating these wants/needs was hard for her as it is for many
individuals with autism. Due to this, a majority of autistic children are misunderstood
and presumed as awkward to society. Another child/ family struggling with
communication is; Mother- “Nicole Stags” talked about her son not being able to
communicate his wants and needs effectively to others. This being a main point
for generalization and maintenance in society for children with autism to
become socially accepted.

Many individuals who work with children/ adults
with autism have to build communication and social interactions through rapport
and other supported treatments. For example, I am currently working with a
client who is non-vocal and uses a communicative device to address his
wants/needs. As the mother in the video, I have seen this type of communicative
barrier with the family. With his parents providing him with what they “feel”
he wants due to his unbearable screams, he is being reinforced negatively which
doesn’t socially help him communicate and can cause problems in society as he
progressively gets older. Living/ working with a child with these types of conditions
have a much harder time being social with others and especially their parents
or other siblings.

Families with an autistic child have a high
probability of divorce because of how the individual reacts based on society
reactions. 90% of marriages in the autism community end in divorce, which is
sad and does not help the situation/circumstances of the child with autism (Lauritsen
& Ewald, 2001; Nicolson. & Szatmari, 2003). Mother P.J. Smith states
that finding out her child had autism was a breaking point and how if help is
not provided between both parents, then, results breaking apart if the other
parent does not equally provide the assistance needed. The average marriage in
America last about 8 years and the approximate marriage for a family with an
autistic child last between 2-3 years (Freedman, B. H., Kalb, L. G., Zablotsky,
B., & Stuart, E. A. (2012). The stress of maintaining a career,
supporting your child, and other domestic necesities as well as view points of
individuals in society who judge without knowing becomes unbearable to parents.
This becomes an issue in marriages and the parents aren’t able to stay in a
commitment that they worked so hard to get together. Even though it’s difficult
for many parents to stay together when their child has autism, this doesn’t
mean that all parents are like this. For example, I have asked parents before,
“How did you two maintain a healthy relationship?” The mother replied and
stated that it was not hard and it was not easy but the bond we have supports
our children and that’s what we strive from. If most families with a child with
autism thought like this, there would be more support in the autism community.

In conclusion, living with an individual with autism
rather it being in your immediate family or in your outer family is a difficult
circumstance. Once society grasps a better understanding on what individuals
with autism face on a daily or parents of individuals with autism face, society
would do more to help and accept these individuals that are presumed as
different. I look at the statistics and barriers of the Autism Spectrum
disorder as a way to bond and knock down societal walls. Change the negativity
and making a positive impact on lives within our community, culture, and world
as a whole. Society can come together by joining and being apart of the autism
community, taking time to ask questions and being able to come together as one
and help integrate and not separate individuals because of differences.

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