Unless you’re ready for six paragraphs of semi-eloquent rage, don’t read this one.
While doing research for my paper on Autism in the mainstream media, I skimmed a few articles on the Wakefield-based site ‘Age of Autism.’ I haven’t been this well and truly infuriated for months, years even.
Some slithering, sliding, two-bit snake-oil salesman has labeled me, labeled Autistics as a whole, as ‘diseased’- and not only that, his followers have reduced it from a neurological condition with many symptoms to ‘when your tummy hurts and you can’t talk.’ The kind of gutter research I’d expect from a shifty drug dealer arguing for the health benefits of Cocaine is still, fifteen years later, fueling a hideous misunderstanding of what it means to be Autistic.
This is much worse than just a few misguided people. By treating a hereditary difference in personality and thought processes as an infectious disease, these gibbering drooling imbeciles are simultaneously allowing Measles to make a comeback and making the already painful struggle to help younger Autistics manage their symptoms into a full-blown war. Well, if it’s war they want it’s war they’ll get. I’m sick and tired of a core part of who I am being used as a banner for their twisted, tiny-minded agenda. They think they can reduce Autism to one sentence? I’ll reduce them to a single word if that’s the game we’re playing.
To tell a child that they are diseased and to manipulate that child into believing it- there is no word that comes to my mind as readily as scum. They make a big stink, they’re slimy as can be and they make everyone dirty by association. If this is what passes for advocacy, I think I preferred blind ignorance. We can advocate for ourselves, and by God I’ll damn well advocate for any who asks me.
But I won’t step in and speak for people I haven’t met, telling them that their children have been struck with some terrible blight–not that I think that in any case. But I will tell them this: it is your responsibility as parents, as citizens of the U.S., as simple human beings, to be far better educated on this issue than to rely purely on one bigoted, misbegotten and miserable little website. Do your own damn research. Find out what’s really going on, and look for sources outside anything Wakefield’s blinded little lackeys are sewing together and spewing out. If you don’t care about your own children enough to do that, then understand me on this: one day your lack of care may threaten my own kids,, and if that ever happens this won’t be just a war of words anymore.
Now go arm yourselves with the realization that you are as fallible as anyone else, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Once you accept that again–and don’t file it away this time– reexamine your old views, and I hope you’ll find some better ones. Autism’s not the disease, but there is one you should be worrying about. That’s hubris in case you’re wondering.
For those of you who have a more moderated understanding of Asperger’s in particular and Autism as a whole, I apologize if you ever felt like I was attacking you personally. The second-person colloquial’s a bit hazardous that way, isn’t it?