“While I do love my son, I wish we hadn’t had him…. Autism is not a life, it is an existence that hurts everyone involved. I had a retirement to look forward to, now I have a child to take care of until I die and then the government will have him. How is that good for ANYONE.”
The above comment was left on my blog recently and has made my heart hurt so much.
Autism IS a life. We live it everyday. There are many challenges but LIFE is challenging in general. In fact, my life was pretty bleeping challenging way before my firstborn arrived and was diagnosed with autism. Alcoholism; OCD; Panic Attack Disorder; Agoraphobia; you could say I was pretty damn consumed with these challenges.
It was my children who brought clarity and purpose into my life, no matter what that purpose has looked like.
That above statement: “Autism is not a life, it is an existence that hurts everyone involved.” That’s bullshit. To say that we are merely existing is so far from the truth. We live and laugh and cry and learn and celebrate and crumble and pick ourselves back up again and just when we need it the most, an amazing and unique milestone is met or a new discovery is made (this week it’s my eyelashes, which would be fine if they weren’t attached to my eyes) and we feel more ALIVE than most people I know.
I don’t know this parent from Bob, but I feel incredibly sad for his son. How can you fully love someone if a part of you always wishes they didn’t exist?
I’m also getting pretty sick and tired of people blaming autism for everything. It makes a neat little scapegoat though, so everyone from doctors to teachers to parents to family and friends whip out those fingers and point. Aren’t you guys getting cramps from all that pointing?
It’s not autism’s fault kids get denied the supports they need.
It’s not autism’s fault children like my son are restrained, mistreated, and abused.
It’s not autism’s fault people use the r-word.
It’s not autism’s fault children are forced to spend an entire school day in soiled pull ups until they develop sores.
It’s not autism’s fault students are kept in seclusion rooms, locked for hours at a time, alone and helpless.
It’s not autism’s fault neighbors stare at your child like he’s growing a tail.
It’s not autism’s fault there aren’t nearly enough employment opportunities or transition programs for adults on the spectrum.
It’s not autism’s fault that in the year 2014, segregation is alive and well on public school campuses across the country, with so many of our special needs children kept in back buildings, far away from the general education population because, got forbid, the “normal” kids catch it (By the way, it’s also not autism’s fault that some people believe it’s contagious).
It’s not autism’s fault perfect strangers look at my son and believe he’s not worth the trouble.
Autism may be to blame for many things: Sleepless nights, financial woes, unique challenges which require unique and respectful interventions. I’m not saying it’s a walk in the park and that I bought a cake the day Andrew was diagnosed. But when it comes to so many of the hurdles our families face each day, let’s place the blame squarely where it belongs: On ignorance, prejudice, and a nation that has so much more work to do in order to provide support, services and continued legislation aimed at protecting our loved ones on the spectrum.
And the next time my son is ignored, disrespected, or failed by the system, I’m not going to blame autism.
My finger will be pointed directly at the source
which is most certainly not my autistic child.
Because it’s not autism’s fault, that other people suck.