Autism Reveals Problems in How We Measure Success


TIME

Eight-year-old Charlie has an infectious smile. He loves swimming, hiking, and skiing. And he’s smart, too. By the age of 2, he knew every letter, color, shape, and number. “He loved books and wanted us to read to him for hours,” his mom Tricia said.

A year later, Charlie was diagnosed with regressive autism. He struggled with motor skills and motor planning, and a school psychology test—a largely motor-based evaluation—labeled Charlie with an intellectual disability.

We have a bias in making collective assumptions about people. Whether it’s disability, age, or simply lack of experience, we rely on the tests and evaluations simply because that’s the process. We allow these tests to make decisions for us without considering the individual as a person. These decisions often affect how they do later in life. For example, from academic requirements to industry experience, companies put limits on people who could excel in jobs…

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