With fame comes great responsibility and this holds true for public figures across the world irrespective of the field they work in. From politicians to actors and musicians, renowned and popular personalities are always in the public eye and hence carry the baggage of being well-informed and conveying the right message to their followers. Pakistani actor Sonya Hussyn has received flak for one of her recent comments which showed her ignorance on many levels. As she recently unveiled her TV show Saraab on Instagram, she posted an image from the show, bringing the attention of her fans towards the subject of autism, while referring to it as a mental illness. Yes, you read that right!
A woman – one of Hussyn’s followers on the photo-sharing platform – replied instantly to the actor’s post and corrected her. The comment read, “Autism is NOT a mental illness. It is a disorder or call it a disability. I have MashaAllah two kids who both have autism, so I know what I am talking about. Otherwise, a great message and very important to highlight it and creating awareness about a very sensitive topic.” Hussyn responded with, “Yes, autism is a symptom of schizophrenia.” Unfortunately, her reply depicted her lack of understanding about the disorder which is quite absurd considering she is starring in a TV serial which centres on autism. Is it not important to do one’s research before weighing in on sensitive topics? While Hussyn was corrected by several people, she did not take down her comment or post. Another user commented saying, “2 minutes of Google Search helps @celebrities.”
2 minutes google search helps. @ celebrities. pic.twitter.com/hwBmbXAIu2
— خنشاء (@Khaaksaar__k) August 6, 2020
Hussyn’s recent episode reminds us of a Facebook video we recently stumbled upon, in which Psychologist Devon MacEachron sheds light on autism and the misunderstandings surrounding it. The starlet should have maybe watched this video before referring to autism as a ‘symptom of schizophrenia’ instead of embarrassing herself and unintentionally making a mockery out of the entire thing. In the clip, MacEachron shared it is about time that we stop thinking about conditions like ADHD and autism as “disabilities” and recognise them as valuable pieces of humanity’s neurodiversity.
“There is too little attention given to enabling people with neurologically different minds to be accepted for themselves, to discover and celebrate their strengths and to be accepted in society,” she added. MacEachron made another valid point which really put things into perspective. She noted that when one thinks about diversity, we think about things like race and sexual orientation but we tend to overlook neurodiversity which focuses on the neurological differences amongst people. She called for the need for a new social movement, the Neurodiversity Movement, which will help to educate people about conditions such as ADHD and autism.