06 May 2011

Fuck You Friday

WARNING: I'm pissed off. My language will be saltier than usual. I do not intend to be particularly fair or nice. Deal with it or go away.

Today's Fuck You (tm) is going to the Neurodiversity crowd. The gist of this bullshit is that Autism is simply a natural difference in one's brain, and should be celebrated, not cured. "Autism is a gift". Yeah, and a shit sandwich is lunch. Listen, I get it, you're a happy camper with your excellent memory. You have no use for social norms and niceties. Fine. I'm ever so happy for you. But I have a kid who is five and can't talk, sign or otherwise communicate his basic needs. He can't go to the bathroom himself. He can't go to school because they won't be able to keep him safe (he wanders). My daughter is almost crippled by anxiety - she terribly wants this to go away. That is not a gift. It is not a gift when Pop refuses to eat because I haven't figured out that he wants a different bowl - he'd rather go hungry. He's a little guy and gets anemic. It is not a gift that he'd starve to death rather than eat off the white plate.

And you know what? My kids aren't nearly as badly affected as some others. My kids are doing okay. Snap will graduate from high school and probably get some sort of post-secondary education. Crackle's receptive language is pretty good all things considered (I asked him to put away the milk into the fridge for me today. He did it. I just about fell over from surprise). Pop is rocking his ABA therapy - he's learning words and signs and letters. It could be so much worse. I'm not cleaning shit smears off my walls. I'm not taking my kids to the hospital for the injuries they've caused themselves. Snap is a little bit self-injurious, but nothing I have to worry about. Only Pop is in diapers, and that's normal for his age.

I see this as somewhat analogous to the cochlear implant controversy. If you're happy being Deaf, and can manage just fine with sign language, lip reading or interpreters, great. I'm genuinely happy for you. But if you're going to scream that *other* people shouldn't have them either, you can join the Neurodiversity crowd in my Friday Fuck You. Especially if you're saying it to people without sight or hands. If you've got high-functioning Autism or Asperger Syndrome (but don't call it a syndrome!) and you can get by just fine without being able to read facial expressions or whatever your particular issues are, good for you. But STFU, because there are plenty of people who would really like a cure for themselves, and your constant "It's just a happy opportunity for butterflies and rainbows" crap isn't helping. Legislators are saying that it's not a disability and that they won't cover therapy for it because they keep hearing this shit. SHUT. UP. If they find a cure, I promise no one will make you take it.

Is Cancer just cellular diversity? Oh, but Cancer will kill you! Yeah, so will Autism if you wander off in the woods and are unable to respond to your name. So will Autism if you're unable to understand the inherent danger in a shallow lagoon. So will Autism if you wander into traffic.

So have a great big bowl of Fuck You Flakes and just be quiet and happy with how you are and stop trying to stop the rest of us from trying to get help for our kids.


Anonymous said...

Oh Hell yeah! Autism & Aspies are capable of great things when high functioning, but it's also a cross to bear, dammit. It is not merely a "difference". I think the neurodiversity crowd just want their brand of weird to be considered "normal". Fine, I understand the impulse. But there are a shitload of people on the spectrum who cannot "pass" for normal. If they come up with a cure, I'll get Lilo the pill. I would be okay with her being a little less smart to be a little more happy as an adult, thankyouverymuch!

Luna said...

Exactly. Differences are trivial. Autism impairs ones ability to function in society.

Oh, and did you know, the new DSM has removed Asperger's? It's all Autism now. Just high vs. low functioning. I'm not sure what I think of that.

Allie said...

I always think this debate is interesting. On the one hand, I understand the disability pride crowd as a reaction to people who think people who are, say, Deaf, are incapable of thought-- just because they can't hear. On the other hand, you're right; some of my own disabilities are disabilities, damn it. They genuinely cause me distress and I would like them to get better.

I think there must be a line somewhere between celebrating differences (which can include disabilities) and still acknowledging that disabilities are *disabling* and treatments are good as long as they come with the consent of the people being treated.