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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Another Reaction to Wright Letter

Suzanne Wright's letter on autism continue to generate reactions. Canadian activist Linda Mastroianni writes at HuffPost Living:
Yes, autism is exhausting, worrying, heart-wrenching, but it is also about triumphs and milestones and making huge accomplishments when others (like Autism Speaks) have handed down a life sentence of despair, pain, financial and marital ruin. For a family who has just received a diagnosis of ASD, watching videos like this or listening to Autism Speaks is dangerous. It can have them quickly sinking into an abyss of desperation when in fact, this isn't the whole picture at all. Instead of instilling fear into families lets instill stories of hope and perseverance.
By no means do I want to diminish the struggles that many families deal with on a daily basis with their autistic child. I know what it's like having a nonverbal child with behavioral issues. I know what it feels like having a child that is constantly screaming all day. I know what it's like to have a child that wants to take off his clothes all day and just stay in the bathtub. I know what it's like having daycare call advising you that they can no longer care for your child because he is just "too much to handle".
But I also know what it feels like to see this child develop; to have been blessed with therapists that have helped him to ease down on the screaming until it was a thing of the past. I also know what it feels like to see this child go to school and play with friends. Yes, he is in a special school for special needs kids but that doesn't make the quality of his life any less than ours.
And that is where my issues with Autism Speaks resides. I take great offence that they label my son as a burden. And they do because their belief is that Autism is the reason why "families split up, go broke and struggle through their days and years".