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Diversity is beautiful: a way to tell a child they’re autistic


Posted on 31 August 2017 under News

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Erin Human _ yes, that is her real name _ says she subsists on coffee, chocolate, and pale ale.

She also says, “I read a lot of books and I’m super psyched that being an introvert is trendy now.

“I married a guy named Mike so I could get this cool last name and also because he is great. Now we have two beautiful children.

“In 2015 I found out that I am not ‘just an introvert’ after all: I’m also autistic. This discovery has enriched my life in numerous ways, providing me with better self-understanding and a passion for disability rights advocacy.”

Human draws comics, cartoons, and neurodiversity-themed designs and came up with the one illustrated below because so many parents ask her, “how do I tell them (child) they are autistic?”

The illustration reflects the desire of parents to explain autism to their child in a positive way; to frame the information as something that empowers.

Human offers the following insight into her work, explaining the use of the key theme, diversity.

“My favorite way to approach conversations about autism and other forms of disability, especially (but not only!) with children, is rather than singling out the autistic or otherwise disabled child, begin with the larger context of diversity.

Diversity is, after all, an essential ingredient in a thriving natural environment; it is valuable for its own sake.

 

 

What I love about this approach is that it de-centres any one ‘typical’ way of being, unlike the old way of explaining autism as a brain with a set of deficits that makes it something other than normal.

There is no one correct or even best kind of brain, any more than there is one correct or best kind of dog or bird.

I have this “Diversity is Beautiful” cartoon for sale in my shop, on posters and mugs and a bunch of other cool products.

I am also offering free printable PDFs (see below) so that anyone may use this information.

The simple version of Diversity is Beautiful gives you more space to create your own accessible explanations for the concepts in the image. I recommend this one for audiences with less complex receptive language and/or reading skills.

Printable PDF: Diversity is Beautiful (Simple)

The version called Diversity is Beautiful (above) has a more lengthy explanation for each form of diversity shown.

This is a nice choice for anyone who does not wish to create their own script, or would like people to be able to access the image’s concepts independently (for example, as a poster in a school classroom).

Printable PDF: Diversity is Beautiful (Explained)