College Professor With Autism Empowers Others

"No one character in a movie or other media can represent the entire spectrum — but they do teach us what some of the characteristics of autism are." This professor at Adelphi University spoke to Brut about promoting fulfilling, productive lives for people with autism.

People on the autism spectrum have similar characteristics no matter their nationality or race

Stephen Shore was diagnosed with autism when he was 18 months. Now aged 57, he’s a professor of special education at Adelphi University in New York State. His parents implemented an intervention program emphasizing music, movement, and imitation, so that he could open up to others. Shore was able to speak when he was 4. He later got into higher grades and got a master’s in music and a doctorate in education. Shore has written and co-authored books about autism, the books include: College for Students with Disabilities, Understanding Autism for Dummies, Ask and Tell, and Beyond the Wall. He’s noticed an evolution in the way people see autism, which he calls the “3 As of autism.”

“People on the autism spectrum have similar characteristics no matter their nationality or race. However, there are great differences in societal awareness, acceptance and appreciation of people on the autism spectrum throughout the world. For example, Finnish people with Asperger Syndrome are accepted into society without question. They are completing doctoral degrees and serving in influential fields like psychology. Not doing so because of Asperger Syndrome would be the same, in Finland, as being disqualified from an academic program because the applicant wears glasses. When I was diagnosed, there was just autism. In my situation, most people, and I consider myself to have Asperger syndrome.”

A current board member of Autism Speaks, president emeritus of the Asperger’s Association of New England, and advisory board member of the Autism Society, Dr. Shore serves on the boards of the Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism Association, The US Autism and Asperger Association, the Scientific Counsel of OAR, and other autism related organizations.
Shore is fighting for autistic self-advocacy. Because there's diversity within the spectrum, some autistic people can also be valued for their contributions to society.