Weary of Lack of Acceptance
I started writing this as a comment to Soapbox Moms latest blog entry, http://soapboxmom.blogspot.com/2006/09/this-is-my-son.html and ended up tying in a few issues that have been weighing heavy on my mind lately. It grew to such monstrous length that I’m embarrassed to post it to her comments section, and hope she won't mind my publishing it here. It feels a bit embarressing to do this, but there are things I want to say here and some issues I think are important. So…here it is:
From someone who has to take an occasional break from blogging due to all the intensity...
To Soapbox Mom, I don't blame you for feeling frustrated and discouraged. It's hard to write about the things you love and care about most in the world knowing there are some people out there who will refuse to understand. The lack of respect and downright bile some parents show towards acceptance of autistic people can become disheartening. When you look in the face of your beloved child, it can also feel personal.
I find it especially hard to see autistic adults and parents who seek acceptance for their children ridiculed for speaking up about the things that really matter. They are brave to raise these important issues in the face of so much rabid opposition--and it's hard to see them slapped down time and again by militant biomed fanatics. When I see that it makes me feel a bit like watching someone ridicule my own son, because I know the issues important to autistic adults will one day be important to him. Seeing that can be very discouraging and more than a bit scary...I don't want to see him treated the way I've seen autistic adults treated recently. What makes the whole situation REALLY upsetting is that the very people who attack autistic adults and parents who speak out for acceptance on forums and blogs are also the parents of autistic children. They should KNOW BETTER for the sake of their own children, if for no other reason.
For my own sake (as an autistic adult) I don't care so much. I'm a crusty old gal and most of the time I can take it. But I don't want to see that sort of ridicule and dismissal in my SON'S future. And I especially don’t want to see that sort of treatment meted out by the very people who have the most reason to understand: parents of autistic children. I don’t care what their belief system is in terms of curing autism, they should show respect to all autistic people in the same proportion to the respect they would like given to their own children someday.
I cannot fathom why some people do not understand that very simple and basic point.
I also think it's unlikely that those very vocal biomed zealots are in the majority. There are probably more of us out there than there are of them. We are less visible simply because we are not fanatical.
For me personally, this is a long term labour of love, not a war campaign to be won in a quick short battle as it is for most fanatical biomed people. What I see with that crowd is the need to win as many people over to their side as quickly as possible to allay their own doubts about how they're handling their child's autism.
I think they know deep down in their hearts that the 'cures' of today will be one day be viewed in the same way as the ‘cures’ of yesterday...ineffective at best, abusive at worst. Theirs is a fanaticism of fear. What if they are wrong in their assumptions that autism is a horrible disease? What if the cures they espouse actually turn out to do more harm than good? Instead of contemplating those issues and thinking about the long term ramifications for their own children they turn to ‘faith’ in what they can not see and can not prove.
So there is a difference of tactics between us and them. I think we're in this for the long haul while they're in it for the quick victory. It’s frustrating and tiring to deal with people like that. So (to Soapbox Mom) yeah…I understand why you’d want a break.
But I do hope that as some point soon you'll return. There are many people who will be REALLY happy to see a new entry on your blog sometime in the future. Whenever you feel like writing...because even if you don't know we're here listening, we are.
And you ARE making a difference.
And to those parents of autistic children who think it’s great fun to disrespect autistic adults and parents who seek acceptance for ALL autistic people…look in the face of your own child, and remember this: those who fight for acceptance for autistics are paving the way towards a better future for your own child.
Mum Is Thinking