From Barrie, Ontario, the Toronto Sun reports the conviction of Joseph Cross, 37, for molesting and raping 11 children in in group homes run by the Barrie and District Association for People with Special Needs. One of the victims was an autistic boy whose mother was heart broken when she had to leave the boy in a group home and who was crushed when she found out later that he was sexually molested at the home. Sentencing is scheduled for December 10.
This story and others should be a wake up call for the people in the Neurodiversity movement who argue on the internet, publish books and establish "acceptance projects" proclaiming that autism is not a disability, that we should find joy in autism. These people pontificate on such important issues as whether the puzzle piece image is offensive as a symbol for autism and whether it is more appropriate to refer to someone with an autism disorder as an autistic person or as a person with autism. Some Neurodiversity ideologues talk about the superiority of autistic intelligence and attack anyone who advocates a theory of autism, or autism cause or treatment inconsistent with their ideology. And almost all like to downplay some of the harsher realities of life confronting the many severely autistic persons who lack the ability to engage in internet debates. Truth talking parents like those in the Autism Every Day video are vilified by these ideologues.
But each day the news brings us back to reality - an autistic child is sexually molested in a group home in Barrie, Ontario, an autistic boy is killed by a motor vehicle after he snuck out of his home clad in pyjamas to run in traffic in New Zealand, a middle aged autistic woman with no communication ability is repeatedly assaulted by attendants in a Long Island residential care facility, an autistic boy is left locked on a hot school bus for hours in Kansas.
These are ugly realities but they are realities that parents and other caregivers of severely autistic children and adults can not, should not, must not ignore.