By Eve Reiland (nee Genevieve Choate) circa July 2008 | Links are original and mosT likely don’t work now.)
Filed under autism and aspergers, soapbox
There’s an epidemic in America. Today’s parents are labeling their brats as autistic and everyone’s buying it.
Instead of moms telling their kids to ‘cut the act out’ or dads telling their sons to ‘stop acting like a putz,’ these kids are getting diagnoses and extra support.
They’re sucking down the resources others could be using.
— Michael Savage 2008
Guess what, I’ll admit it. I’m a part of that money racket. It took me 13 years and two separate diagnoses to get my son tossed on the autism train.
Now, instead of addressing my bad parenting skills, I’m raking in taxpayer’s money and gloating.
Oh yes, Michael Savage … I think you’re on to something here. You busted me, and thousands of others like me.
I know … I know… I’m lazy. I refuse to step up to the parenting plate and whack my kid into submission.
If I just tried harder, I could punish the autism right out of him. And then, only then, he’ll quit acting like a brat.
Watching and listening to the video of Savage spout off about 99% of children diagnosed with autism were really just brats … was the equivalent of poking myself in the eye with a fork.
Frankly, I was tempted to ignore the whole ordeal. I didn’t value the opinion of a guy paid to behave like a brat, lamenting about who he perceived to be a brat.
That’s like one jackass calling someone else a jackass. Right?
Actually … with some further thought … no, it’s not.
If Savage was simply one bad driver flipping the bird to another bad driver … I’d leave it be.
However, he’s attacking innocent families with false allegations and fabricating issues that don’t exist. These are families that are already struggling for understanding and support. Why kick them while their down?
Unfortunately Savage has an incredibly loud voice that garners the attention of others on the national level. And — for whatever reason — many of his listeners will choose to soak up his prejudiced and angst-riddled statements and spew it, verbatim, back into their communities.
It sucks that he’s trying to make autism, or any of his special-needs issues du jour, Public Enemy Number One. It flames the existing prejudice and builds a steeper hill to hike towards awareness and tolerance.
So what can be done?
Ignore it was one suggestion. Focus the time and energy we would’ve put into this and spend it with our kids.
Hmmm, that may work for some and it would dampen his ratings spike — but that’s not a good enough answer for me.
I don’t want this guy to be the loudest voice out there. I’m not going to look at my feet and shuffle by in silence and hope to blend in and avoid the situation. I’m not going to stifle my anger and keep my opinion to myself.
Not anymore that is.
There have been shout-outs to boycott Savage. That’s well and good. Hit him where it hurts, the pocketbook.
However, what about the damage that has already been done? What about the families who may shy away from assessment and support because they don’t want to be a lemming?
What if they decide to avoid going out in public because of the stigma?
The autism community needs a Rosa Parks. We need someone who’s going to spark the civil rights movement for inclusion.
Maybe that someone is you.
Take your anger and turn it into action.
– Become an advocate in your community.
– Join a local autism organization or start your own.
– Create an ‘Autism Aware’ campaign and educate local businesses and people.
– Contact the Protection & Advocacy group (or an organization like them) and find how they can help.
– Connect with local families and exchange information about local services, supports and issues that need to be addressed.
– Start a listserv to share information to those who aren’t able to venture out often.
– Seek out families who are isolated and let them know they aren’t alone.
– Digg, kirtsy, stumble, blog, twitter, or plurk articles or sites like this, this, this, this, this, this, this or this.
There are a million ways you can use what you know to help.
So get out there and take a stand.
Act now.And by all means, don’t let this Weiner be the strongest voice.
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