Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Vancouver Sun's Faces of Autism: Still the Most Honest Media Presentation of Autism

Yesterday I commented on yet another media presentation of autism, in the Bloomington Alternative,  which focused almost entirely on Aspergers and ignored those most severely affected by autism ... those with Autistic Disorder.  Few, very, very few major media outlets want to present the realities of severe Autistic Disorder.  Who wants to show the world the harsh realities of severely autistic persons, the challenges they present to themselves, their families and other caregivers? Who wants to point out the restricted and dreary lives in the care of others that is the ultimate fate of so many with Autistic Disorder? Bummer man; don't ruin my vibe with that autism reality stuff.

There are few mainstream media sources that have presented autism fully and honestly to the world.  One that I have mentioned on this site in the past is the Vancouver Sun with its six part series Faces of Autism.  I mention it again because it is still one of the few sources that actually portrays severe Autistic Disorder reality to the world while discussing autism.  The series is the work of columnist Peter McMartin and photographer Glenn Baglo.

Part One of the series, Emotional Roller Coaster,  deals with the realities of life for, and with, a severely autistic 14 year old girl, Kristi, Jansen:

"14-year-old Kristi Jansen swings from crying to laughing to screaming in a matter of seconds. Her body, home and family members -- especially her mother -- bear the scars of her violent outbursts that have only been calmed through years of expensive therapy."

The feature, particularly the photos of Kristi smiling, also show the joy of this young woman  but it does not do so by hiding the truth about the serious challenges facing persons with severe autism disorders or the challenges facing the family members and others who care for and love them.  The Vancouver Sun, columnist Pete McMartin and photographer Glenn Baglo do what journalists are supposed to do ... tell the truth ... give us the whole picture about autism disorders.

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