So as you can imagine we are all going to be inundated with discussions about Autism. Don’t get me wrong. This is good. I’ll cover it later but discussion is never bad. Discussion can be counter-productive at times but it’s never bad. That said, it’s that time of year so I have to get this off my chest.
So if you know me, you know I have 2 boys with autism. My younger son was diagnosed earlier (3 years old) and is what you would refer to as your “traditional autistic kid” on the higher functioning side. My older one was diagnosed recently (8 years old) and would fit more into what would have been Asperger’s. Now if you’re like me and you are either autistic or know someone with autism you’re aware of the changes they did with DSM-V. Autism is now a spectrum (good). Asperger’s is now non-existent (bad). Why bad you ask?
So this morning I’m on my way to work and listening to Metro Morning. They had a segment with an Autistic Advocate discussing how society interacts with him and he interacts with society.
So first off. I’m going to go back to Autism and when I started the journey 3 years ago with my youngest son. I was oblivious at the time during all the tests we did with professionals to get the official diagnosis. The professionals were telling us he was autistic. He was high-functioning autistic. Because DSM-V was new I asked about Asperger’s and they waffled and re-iterated. High-Functioning Autistic. As years go a few things become glaringly obvious.
- Autism != Asperger’s no matter what the professionals say
- All the Autistic people you see in the media discussing Autism are the outliers.
- The majority of the people you see in the media that are Autistic could actually be defined as Asperger’s.
So now, on the radio, I have this kid talking about how ABA is not beneficial and demeaning and how he wants to have society learn to just let him “be autistic” without changing him. As a father, fuck that noise. Hate to break it to you but you live in a goddamn world that isn’t autistic. You are the outlier to the norm. As such you need to learn to adapt and here’s the shitty part… Autistic people have a tough time adapting.
I mean just listen to the radio interview. This kid is great. He is having a great dialogue. He’s got his topics down. It was, for lack of a better explanation, a great conversation. That was not a conversation with my son.
Yes you can make the argument that my son is 6 years old. He’s 21. A lot of shit changes in 15 years. That said the palatable dismissiveness of the hard work that all we neurotypical adults are putting in to help you interact with society just rubs me the wrong way. There’s an article in The Economist that’s a few years old now and the picture is bleak. If you’re autistic you’re lucky if you finish grade 8. There’s a snowflakes chance in Hell you finish high school and you’re a goddamn unicorn if you make post-secondary. That’s “the norm” when it comes to Autism. There are no jobs for you. There is no life for you. As a parent there is going to come a day when I’m dead and gone and assuming my kids don’t kill themselves before then because suicide and depression is significantly higher they are going to be handed over to the state or another person who at the end of the day is not going to give a shit about them. Society is not bending to you no matter what you may think or want.
You may have learned to adjust and adapt. The majority of your peers have not and quite frankly can not.
So we’re back to the radio interview and undercutting your peers because “you” don’t like how society treats you. It’s a dangerous goddamn game to play.