Sunday, June 03, 2012

AOL Huffington Post Blogger Zurcher Promotes Autism Disorder Denial

I love and accept my son unconditionally. I  do not
 embrace the autism disorder that restricts his life.  I 
will speak honestly about autism disorders. 

Ariane Zurcher is a jeweler, author and mother of a child with autism.  Zurcher  though is tired of people talking about autism as though it were a disorder or group of disorders. In the AOL Huffington Post opinion piece The Depiction of Autism and Why It Matters Zurcher says she is tired of negative depictions of autism.  She criticizes those who do talk about the realities of autism disorders because ... well because in her view she has outgrown such views and so must we. No mention should be made of the deficits that led parents to seek medical advice in the first place, to find out what was wrong with their child.  No description should be made of the deficits that resulted in a medical diagnosis of autism in the first place.   Zurcher wants us all to talk about autism as though it were ... jewelry, pretty, sparkly jewelry.

The word disorder does not appear in Zurcher's opinion piece.  There is mention of deficits (without any description of those deficits) associated with autism but primarily for the purpose of chastising the media and anyone who uses negative imagery in talking about autism.   She does not describe in any detail the harsh realities facing those severely affected by autism disorders.  

Ariane Zurcher has tired of searching for treatment for her child's autism and doesn't want others to talk about autism as though it were a disorder.  Like other joy of autism authors before her Zurcher's solution to autism is simple: talk to some very high functioning celebrities with "autism" and talk about autism like it is not a disorder after all.  Embrace your child's autism and forget about the deficits your child displays which led you to seek medical advice for him or her in the first place.

I have always loved my son unconditionally and my blog is full of pictures of the many joyful times I have spent with him.  I find great joy in my son.  It is because of my love for my son that I will not walk the path of autism disorder denial that Zurcher and others before her have chosen.  I applaud the parents and organizations that stay strong and continue the efforts to fund research to find causes, treatments and cures for autism disorders.  

I will continue to speak honestly about autism disorders and the autism deficits that limit the lives of so many who suffer from them.  I hope that other parents stay strong and continue to support efforts to research and find the causes of, and treatments and cures for,  autism disorders.  


Shannon said...

This attitude of glorifying it as 'not a disorder, just different' disturbs me greatly. It makes me wonder if the children of parents who have decided to take this approach are receiving any kind of help or treatment. Why treat it if it's not a disorder?
On the other blog site I was using there is a section just for autistic people and their families. At first I thought this was a great thing, until it became clear that the majority of the articles glorify autism as if it really were a helpful, joyful part of people's lives. I was especially offended by one article there in which the author (who, like myself, has two autistic children) asserts that people who have one or more autistic child and are afraid to have more children because they could have autism as well do not truly love or accept their child(ren) for who he/she/they are.
I will not repeat here what I said to him.
I understand the need to protect one's self emotionally and spiritually by making the situation seem less hopeless, and I'm all for that. What I can not and will not support is the promotion of the disorder that is making it impossible for my children to live normal lives and has turned my marriage into a roommate type relationship as a positive thing. I invite people who think that to come spend the week at my house.

Anonymous said...

I'll say it again: there is a serious reality disconnect at work here. It is supported, in part, by the APA and their gaming the insurance system - presenting a completely useless understanding of "autism"; in part by "identity politics" constructs; and in part by people who just plain don't know what they're talking about, but recognize, and want to capitalize on, the latest "hot topic".

On a different note: your photos are wonderful - how do you manage to get such great shots? It seems I shoot about 400 for every single decent frame! Wulf has his own camera now; we are trying to create a book of "places" and "activities" so he can self-select. Opportunities for self-direction are so few and far between - adulthood puts this emphasis on "complaince" in stark relief.

Stranded said...

This kind of attitude causes much confusion among those who do not have the chance to be around a person with autism, which is a vast majority of the population. It makes people ignorant and does nothing for the hundreds of autistic individuals who need help NOW.