Having an autistic child wrecks your life, says a writer whose column on the Daily Mail is apparently “no longer accepting comments”.
Hard to say why. I mean, surely, there’s nothing wrong with an article in which a severe case of a disability is used as the categorical definition of every case ever of that disability. I mean, if someone said that we should test for a predisposition to depression, and preemptively abort all children with that predisposition, to spare the heartache of teen sucide, surely no one would object to that. And if I were to have some random person with no qualifications, no relevant experience, and a bone to pick with the world write an article advocating the elimination of an entire category of the human population, I would assume that I’d get only positive and constructive comments. (Trivia point: Autistics can learn to use sarcasm. NEAT, HUH?)
Part of the problem here is… well. Let’s look at a quote:
All three generations set off in a bold attempt at a holiday over Christmas. Not a resort, bustling with strangers; quite impossible. But a rented house, just the five of them, to let Tom feel the warm sun on his face. Well, it was a nice thought.
No, no it wasn’t. It was a stupid thought. It was “here is a thing I would like, I will impose it on my child without thinking about what his preferences are like”. And that kind of thing can easily turn a manageable problem into an unmanageable problem.
If people had persisted in ignoring my “special” needs when I was younger, I might have come out a lot more broken than I am. Instead, I got lucky; I got parents who were inclined to take me at my word and respect my preferences and needs, and the result is that I came out a lot healthier and happier. And more able to cope than I might otherwise have been.
I can only hope that the author of this story is never exposed to the harrowing experience of raising a non-autistic child. Why, I understand that from twelve to nineteen, they are frequently irrational! They will have problems, and choose to give only oblique hints rather than direct statements of what is bothering them. Needless to say, it’s impossible for parents to live through this onslaught. It’s sort of scary to me to see people who are so utterly wedded to the uniformity of the species that they simply can’t conceive of treating different people differently. And can’t imagine that treating a child in a way you know the child hates is likely to make things worse.
Yes, having a more-severely autistic child is worse than a less-severe one. However, when you show me parents who worried that the MMR vaccine might have been a contributor, you are showing me parents who have not made a reasonable effort to learn what they are dealing with and how to handle it. Education would help a lot more here than eugenics.
If you think having an autistic child wrecks your life, consider how much worse it is to have parents who refuse to learn what their child is actually like, and persist in trying to mold their child into something they wanted rather than what they got. That wrecks your life and all the lives around you.
DISCLAIMER: It is entirely possible that the writer of the article is misrepresenting the parents.