Luis Suarez, an accomplished footballer who plays for Liverpool in the UK’s Premier League and for Uruguay’s National team is in the middle of yet another media storm because of his actions yesterday. In Uruguay’s World Cup match against Italy yesterday, Suarez bit Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini in the shoulder. Suarez has a terrible history of biting players during a football match. Today, the Mail Online reported that Suarez has been charged by FIFA for biting an opponent and could potentially be slapped with a two-year ban.
As if this story isn’t disturbing enough, I have found that my blog has been viewed hundreds of times yesterday when people entered the search terms, ‘Luis Suarez Autistic’. I find it offensive that some people would quickly assume that someone who displays inappropriate behaviours that Suarez did, is autistic.
Why would they? Is it because they have encountered someone with Autism who has the tendency to bite when they are angry? Yes, some people with Autism may have that tendency, but not everyone with Autism does so.
Is it because Suarez has been doing this exact same thing and he seems not to have learned? That’s not a sign of Autism.
Is it because he is unable to control his emotions whilst also not understanding social norms? Those may be signs of Autism but one needs to look at the whole picture and observe individuals in different contexts to see whether the behaviour and understanding are constant.
Even though I am extremely offended, I understand that I may be over-reacting. I am here to educate and not moan. A diagnosis of Autism requires a lot of tests, conversations and observations. Observing someone on a football field is not enough to warrant a diagnosis. Also, inappropriate behaviours are caused by a lot of factors, which makes it impossible to pin it down to a specific condition.
I hope this clears things up somehow.