Thursday, October 23, 2008

Age of Autism

Age of Autism. It's an interesting read. Some good stuff, some bad stuff. A few dramatic folks who post things in the comments like "HOW MANNY OF OUR CHILDREN WILL YOU KILL!!!111!!!" But for the most part, an intelligent and decent group as far as Anti-Vaccine/Biomed sites seem to be these days.I'm not impressed with their ridiculous attack on Squid, which had very few actual criticisms of her post, but instead went with petty insults about the color of her hair and the way she is parenting her little boy. Overall, I go there to read the articles and sometimes find wonderful, intelligent comments like this one:

I don't think that bio-med approaches and supporting neuro-diversity should be mutually exclusive.
I think that as a parent you got to follow your guts, and stick with whatever make your child gain skills and progress. I also think that what works for one kid may not work for another and no one-way approach should be advocated. I also think we should be supportive and accepting of one another as a community.
I do shudder in front of the US magazine hinting about a cure for autism, because it is not true. Not every child with autism can be recovered, for once we don't even know what are the causes of this condition, let alone a cure. Bio med works for some but not everybody.

Now that Ms. McCarthy has announced through a huge media splash that autism is curable, where does leave the cause of Autism? Where does it leave that mom with the quirky kid at the park, the one that inadvertantly pushes other kids off the play structure, and spends most his time stimming on running water? If in the eye of the general public, autism is now curable, why little Jimmy is yet to be "fixed"? If the reactions expressed on this thread give us a clue we may have a new "freak": little Jimmy's mom, who will be now judged either too lazy, or in denial, or having a "guilt projection". (to mention a few of the comments). Great, now the already stressed, overly tired, overwhelmed and already somewhat ostracized moms of the tantrum-prone, hitting, bolting and head banging children cannot even feel supported within their own community.

When public figures, such as Jenny McCarthy, take on causes as urgent and important as Autism, they owe to its community to educate the public, and be a model of tolerance by using moderation, and restraint toward the Amanda Peets and Dennis Leary of the world. I feel that Ms. McCarthy has lost valuable opportunities to bring to the national attention crucial issues such as the importance of funding research, and bringing to the attention of the general public how every child in the school system would benefit from congress fully funding IDEA, or pressing to pass law to make insurances to pay for ABA interventions.

Posted by: LCD on Age of Autism

I think that was beautifully said. There is so much tension between "sides" here in our little online Autism community... One side laughing at the other side or expressing their disgust that the other side is vaccinating their children, not doing DAN! or chelation..etc... And the other side is angry that those children who are not vaccinated, are not vaccinated. They worry that those unvaccinated children will cause an epidemic of some long gone diseases due to the lack of vaccination. They criticise the biomed parents for often not doing proven therapies (OT, Speech, ABA) and only doing the invasive things like chelation and jamming pills and powders and supplements down their kids throats. If you don't think there are sides, you need only to email me and I'll link you to dozens of examples. Sure, there are a lot of parents who do a both- DAN! and therapy. There are parents who do neither. But the majority of us belong to one of the aforementioned two sides.

I am just as guilty and anyone else of taking "sides" and bashing on the one I'm not on. I won't pretend I'm unbiased and balanced in my opinions (my website is/will be, to the best of my ability). But I find that listening to the Kim Staglianos of the world (read her comments on AOA, they're usually very well written and not nasty) gives me a much less disturbing image of "that side" than does reading John Bests bizarre blog, or reading the comments about parents killing their children with those evil vaccines. Likewise, I will be editing my comments in previous posts to be less disrespectful to those of the AOA crowd who are intelligent, educated, and just trying to do their best to help their kids.

We need to work past this rift between sides. it's not easy, the vaccine debate is a huge deal. It gets nasty very, very easily, but it is a topic that needs to be discussed. If we could just find a way to sort out of differences, bite our tongues, and get along, I think we could learn from one another. And that could only benefit our kids.

For my part, I will be more civil in the future. I will not call the Anti-Vaccine folks nuts/crazy/whacko.It's disrespectful, and I apologize for my use of those terms in the past. I will, however, stick to my beliefs, and say what I think. I won't censor my blog to please others, but I will take that first step in bridging the gap between the two sides. Decency isn't unreasonable, and I think I can manage it- how about you?

To end on a super positive note, look! Jaymes can draw a circle and a line when asked now. How terrific is that?!

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