How can autism free you to be yourself?

Rosie King

Rosie King

In her TED Talk “How Autism Freed Me to Be Myself,” Rosie King provides an important perspective on her autism spectrum diagnosis. From the TED Talk website:

People are so afraid of variety that they try to fit everything into a tiny little box with a specific label, says 16-year-old Rosie King, who is bold, brash and autistic. She wants to know: Why is everyone so worried about being normal? She sounds a clarion call for every kid, parent, teacher and person to celebrate uniqueness. It’s a soaring testament to the potential of human diversity.

As a society, we are often most comfortable with stereotypes that allow us to “systemize” or make sense of the world. These stereotypes allow us to classify, organize and categorize people into neat little boxes, establishing expectations of what a person is and what they will become. All too often as we establish programming for any individual with a disability, our goal is to help them become “normal”…whatever that may mean.

Rosie King reminds us of the importance of creativity and non-conformity and of thinking outside the box. Her uniqueness has allowed her to have a refreshing and honest perspective of the world that has resulted in multiple creative outlets, including a book and lectures. Most important, it has allowed her to have a better understanding of her siblings – both are non-verbal and on the autism spectrum.

Several years ago, during a panel discussion of individuals on the autism spectrum, an audience member asked the group to name a key factor in their success. The overwhelming response from panelists was….acceptance.

That response continues to resonate with me and serves as an important reminder in the work I do. While I absolutely embrace the importance of good programming and ongoing supports, part of our efforts on behalf of individuals on the spectrum should also be in celebrating the strengths and unique qualities of each person and in interacting in a manner that demonstrates acceptance and appreciation of these differences.

Every person has something to contribute. Rosie King’s speech proves that to us.


Related Resources on

What’s it like to live with Autism Spectrum Disorder?


What’s it like to have Autism Spectrum Disorder as an adult? Aaron Likens shares with us in this blog post.


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  1. Alan Katzer Says:

    I have a high-function autistic personality because I’m sometimes smart but still have a lot of obsticles to go trough every day.

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