By Michael Rock:

The latest news cycle has demonstrated how people with disabilities are more capable than many give them credit for.

Though people with autism have a reputation for struggling with theory of mind, or understanding what other people are thinking, a newly-released study found that their ability to do so does not deteriorate with age, as it does in neurotypical people.

Meanwhile, 29-year old advocate and Pittsburgh native Jessica Benham, who has autism, was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

In another milestone for the disability community, 21-year old Chris Nikic has become the first person with Down Syndrome to complete the Ironman Triathlon, considered one of the most exhausting athletic events ever. The triathlon begins with a 2.4-mile ocean swim, followed by a bike ride of 112 miles. It concludes with a full 26.2-mile marathon.

Such developments are crucial to achieving full acceptance, as they highlight not what they can’t do, but what they can do.

Michael Rock is a New York City-based reporter and self-advocate with autism. A graduate of Brandeis University, his work has appeared in Kings County Politics, Chelsea Now, Our Town, Queens County Politics, and WhoWhatWhy.