Since the autism diagnosis was first introduced* by Dr. Leo Kanner in 1943, the deficit-based model has been used to identify what people on the autism spectrum have difficulty with and how they are different from their “typical” peers.
Today we understand that autism is a spectrum disorder and the effects of the disability and the challenges and strengths it brings are different for each autistic person.
Adelphi University professor Stephen Shore, who himself was diagnosed with autism as a child, applies an “abilities-based model,” built on understanding the strengths of a person with autism. “More people are asking themselves, ‘What can a person with autism do?’ first,” says Dr. Shore. He refers to "the three ‘A’s” of autism: awareness, acceptance, and appreciation."
Throughout the month of April - previously designated as Autism Awareness Month and now also called Autism Acceptance Month - Yes She Can is featuring many expressions of autism represented by our program participants. We hope you will gain awareness, acceptance, and appreciation of the disability and of the abilities of individuals on the spectrum.
*Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurological condition that involves varying but persistent challenges in social interaction, speech, and nonverbal communication, repetitive patterns of thought and behavior, and intense passion for special interests.
Learn more about the history of Autism. Keep a lookout for the film In A Different Key, based on the award-winning book by John Donvan and Caren Zucker.