Autism awareness should be a priority

Written by Jenna Mangold

April celebrates the importance of education for autism

Learning is something everyone can do, regardless of age, gender, class or any other difference. For this reason, I believe it is vital to know and understand those who may not look or act the same way as the majority. Some of the most prevalent types of differences which are often misunderstood or generalized are the autism spectrum disorders (ASD), which many students and adults around the globe may suffer from.

Because April marks Autism Awareness Month, individuals and organizations are working hard to inform the general population about the disorders and how they can affect the lifestyles of all people who are diagnosed. I hope to aid in this effort during the course of the month by better informing myself and those I know about the challenges faced by people every day.

Ever since my days of playing school with my stuffed animals, education has always been something that I am passionate about. With my elementary and special education certification which I will attain in a few short years, my excitement for teaching is only growing. Working with children has always been a dream of mine due to the fact that my own role models throughout the years have been my educators. I plan to achieve this dream no matter what. I am a firm believer that education has the power to change the world in unlimited ways and it is my hope that this stance holds true for autism as well.

In order to work towards all children accepting and loving those on the spectrum for who they are, they must first understand what this disorder means. It is therefore a teacher’s job to educate students on autism, its vast variations and most importantly, how to respect others, despite differences.

Children should be encouraged to get to know every person whom they encounter in school and to recognize that differences make humans incredible and interesting creatures. We must regard those on the spectrum as having a vital role in all classrooms and cherish the participation of all individuals in order to get the most out of our time in school.

It is my conviction that every child in this world needs to be cared for, appreciated, understood and loved for every aspect of who they are. For some children in our society, these aspects often include an autism spectrum disorder. These disorders are not to be looked upon by teachers as obstacles to instruction or flaws in children, but rather should be appreciated as small fractions of all that makes up the incredible child who sits before them.

For all of these reasons and more, I personally vow to spread this message to everyone I can during this amazing Autism Awareness Month.

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Jenna Mangold

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