One of the people in this picture is living with an autism spectrum disorder and the other loves him deeply. Together they make a life. If you observed Brandon, you would realize after a while that there was something unusual about him. We made certain accommodations for him to eat in this restaurant, The shiny silverware attracting his attention, so we switched to plastic for him. He sat at the end of the table and he communicated a lot with his cousin. He liked telling her hello and she always responded to him. He was included and appreciated and loved.
And that’s the way life should be. We are at a very early stage in Brandon’s life And we don’t have any idea of predicting what he will be able to learn. We can predict with greater certainty what could happen if he feels excluded and shunned because we know how we would feel. Resentful, depreciated, and considered a burden. There is probably a team of scientists out there looking for genetic markers that could tell parents whether their unborn child may or may not have a spectrum disorder. I am equally certain that other scientists are looking for the “schizophrenia gene” or the “bipolar maker” and others that could be excluded. They would like to shun those people from the society.
The picture above is called scream and it depicts a person who may be experiencing extreme states. Their hands are covering their ears, and there are beings in the distance and maybe they could be welcoming or rejecting this person. This could be our our choice whether to approach someone and have him or her as a co-worker, a friend, a patron at our restaurant. Or a worker at the business we are patronizing.
Think of it. Which approach makes the most sense to you as the way we should use our resources? As for me, as a certified peer specialist, I have chosen the path of inclusion.