By Kodey Toney
Friend Like Me
If you have been on Facebook lately you’ve likely seen an app, meme, survey…I’m not sure what it is, but if you push the button it gives you a little anecdote about your experiences on the app. It says something about how you push the like button, or don’t post pics of your food, etc. At the end it says “Be like Kodey.” These are amusing, but I found a meme related to this app and autism that I had to share, because I feel it sums up the disorder and what is necessary to help those on the spectrum. I would like to share it here, and break it down with my opinion.
Here is what it says, I’ve substituted the name Jim for Konner though:
“This is Konner,
Konner has autism,
Autism is incurable,
Konner will grow into an adult with autism,
With the right support Konner will grow into a fine young man,
Whatever his abilities may be,
Be Konner’s Friend”
I think this is great for parents, professionals, and any advocate to understand.
Let’s start with the fact that Konner has autism. That’s a fact. There is a piece of paper from a professional that states that based on tests and observations. This is something that you have to accept in order to help a person on the spectrum, whether you are a parent, educator, professional, or self-advocate. If you deny this then you are not helping.
Autism is incurable. It is treatable, but there are no cures. You can’t take a magic potion, alter a diet, or take a pill and it all goes away. The person will always have autism. They will find ways to cope with the symptoms, tolerate the issues involved, and have a better life, but it will always be a part of them. I like to think of this as a characteristic.
They will grow into an adult with autism. This is why it is so important to work with them early to get the therapies and supports they need to learn how to tolerate these issues. The faster we do this the better chance they have of being a productive part of society. With this they will grow into fine young people.
This is true no matter what their abilities may be. If they are high-functioning, moderate, classic symptoms, verbal, non-verbal, or limited communication they still can find something they can do to become productive. They just need the supports and people believing in them.
This is why it’s important to be Konner’s, or anyone else on the spectrum’s friend. It is important for people to care enough to take those on the spectrum under their wing, help mentor them, show them the direction they need to go, and just be a friend. We as a society perform better when someone believes in us, and help us.