Monday, October 22, 2007

Whole Picture Autism Acceptance

Parents and other autism advocates seeking to help autistic children and adults face many obstacles, not the least of which is a distorted "autism acceptance" movement. This distorted version of autism acceptance promotes the view that autism is a good thing. While persons with this perspective may pay lip service to the fact that autism is a neurological disorder, a disability, most members of this movement will not talk about the harsher realities of autism, particularly classic autism disorder. They will disparage in the harshest terms persons who talk about these realities. Whether it is called "natural variation" "neurodiversity" or "joy of autism" the autism acceptance advocates do anything but accept autism. What they do is tear the autism picture in half and accept and embrace the pretty parts of the autism picture and attack and disparage anyone who talks about the negative realities of autism. The self proclaimed autism acceptance advocates are deceiving themselves when they talk about accepting autism. They are really accepting only the pretty half of the picture not the whole picture of autism.

Most parental autism advocates yearn for whole picture autism acceptance by society. They wish they could take their children into public venues without stares and rude remarks when their children, overwhelmed by the environment around them, suffer meltdowns. They fight for autism specific health and education interventions for their children. They fight for treatment and cure for their children because they refuse to delude themselves about the nature of their children's neurological disorder. They accept their children's autism ... the whole picture and they refuse to be passive about the negative parts of the picture. These whole picture autism acceptance parents fight to help their autistic children that they love so dearly. They do not surrender to the lure of sweet surrender. They stand up and fight for their children.

Parents who accept the whole picture of their children's autism do not let a very high functioning autistic stranger tell them over the internet how they should raise, care for and ... help their autistic children. They seek to help their children overcome their deficits and for this they are reviled by self proclaimed autism acceptance advocates. They are fighting for their children because they love them ... and they accept their children's autism ... not part of the autism picture ... not just the pretty parts ... but the whole picture. Accepting autism means accepting the whole picture of autism .. including the parts that aren't so pretty.. the parts that don't get mentioned by anti-ABA crusaders in their Supreme Court of Canada and CBC Radio appearances.


Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more. Thank you for putting my thoughts into words. It is the first time I visited your blog but I think I'll stick around.

Unknown said...

Thank you Athina. I look forward to your visits.

Anonymous said...

Could you please cite your sources? If you've ever cared to read my posts - particularly the ones in the "Behavior, Communication, Social Interaction" category -, you would know that I don't think all good of autism or of my own difficulties. Still, no matter how severe a child's or adult's behaviors, that doesn't mean that child or adult loses human and civil rights. Some ND people do have a certain "conditionality" in their viewpoint that I disagree with. Particularly, by presuming that autistics should be accepted cause their neurology is different from birth, they exclude people with acquired neurological disabilities and people with psychiatric disabilities from the community, while IMO these people share a lot with autistics in many respects, including civil rights. However, I never saw an ND activist deny that autistics may display severe behaviors - in fact, many of us, including myself, have these behaviors. If you'd point out where exactly an ND activist has said that autistics dont'have troubling behaviors, I'll be going over to their blog and correct them on this matter.