Although Daniel does not have Autism, he does have other hurdles to leap that are similar. When some people see Daniel, they first judge him because he is in a wheelchair, then because he is non-verbal. Many jump to the conclusion that he is mentally handicapped. In this case - they are judging him for his outward appearance. Many people won't give him to time to answer, or they don't talk "to him". They assume because he isn't looking at them, that he isn't listening.
I think they are wrong.
Watch this video. Sad but people judged this girl too and look where she is now.
Now, go over and check out her website "Carly's Voice", check around on there and see how smart this girl is. Heck, I would have to say she has some very profound things to say that we can learn from.
Then there is Chris, who is from Michigan also. I have had the privilege to "chat" with him a few times on FB. What an awesome guy. Very willing to help me get the AAC system for Daniel, and to hook me up with other people who can help. Chris is a graduate from college, knows a couple of languages, and accesses his AAC device with his feet. He also drives his power chair with his feet!
Here is another reason NOT to judge a book by its cover...
There are many of these stories I am sure that are out there, about people with disabilities being judged. And it makes me so sad that there are probably thousands of people out there with disabilities that don't have the opportunity to show what is stuck inside their bodies. I know people are probably sick of hearing me say this, but I'm going to say it again. I can look in Daniel's eyes, and I can see he is there, he is understanding me, he KNOWS. He is just stuck in a body that isn't working for him. But his mind, its whole, its there and its working.
I wish one day that people who look beyond the wheelchair, or the uncontrolled body movements and see what is really on the inside. Don't talk to him like he doesn't understand you. Just be accepting, that's all he wants. He just wants to be like every other little boy.