I have a close friend with a son who is autistic. He and his wife took two years to finally find a doctor who understood and could give them the correct diagnosis.
Then, the questioning was done and real work began. How can we help this child we love navigate through life and maximize their happiness?
I don’t think that’s their real agenda, or their idea of how to accomplish that agenda is extremely counterproductive.
The obstacles of having an autistic child are infinite and mercurial. It started early with my friend and his wife coming to terms with understanding that their child may not be as affectionate or appreciative as their other children. They had to learn not to take it personally when their child seemed indifferent to the Herculean efforts each parent made.
Next, it was explaining to relatives, classmates and friends that their son was not being rude, not intentionally, when their son did not react to social cues. He could say “thank you” and “goodbye,” but had to be reminded. At first this was uncomfortable and eventually my friend explained his discomfort was replaced by a desire to educate — to educate those who came into contact with his son that his child was good and kind and not always attuned to those around him.
Define “affectionate.” Maybe the kid doesn’t want physically overwhelming hugs and kisses, attacking him at random. This might be an example of normal people being unable to read the body language of any sentient being not like themselves. I think we’ve all seen people who claim to looooove their dogs and cats and clearly make the animals uncomfortable by restraining and squeezing them.
Maybe the parents have sucked at connecting with the kid, so the touch feels forced and artificial. Maybe we have a higher intimacy threshold for wanting people touching us.
Either way, Rosen can go fuck himself for implying that autistic children are rude ingrates who don’t love you.
The whole idea is that we’re awkward as fuck and struggle to communicate with normal people. That definitely includes tender feelings. Maybe the child doesn’t appreciate being made to feel like a “Herculean” burden by parents who are ashamed of him.
I’d bet anything that the kid is overwhelmed and under a lot of pressure and just trying to keep up and hasn’t caught up before people jump down his throat again for being rude. The kid knows his very presence is making his dad uncomfortable, anxious, longing to be rid of him. If he hasn’t already started to regret being born, more than likely he will.
Most likely, nobody is even trying to be attuned to the kid because he’s autistic and therefore his preferences in all matters are less legitimte than theirs.
As their son grew and entered high school, it became evident he had few if any friends. Getting a girlfriend was remote but this child persevered, did well in school and was for the most part happy. My friend and his wife would talk, late at night between themselves, about what would happen when they were gone. Would their son be able to get a job, keep a job, take care of himself?
I’m pretty sure both my parents had undiagnosed autism. My mom noticed I was weird about playing with other kids and put me in daycare to acclimate me at one point. How can they wait until the kid is 14 or 15 before it’s “evident” he doesn’t have friends?
OF COURSE getting a girlfriend was remote, no thanks to asshats like Mitchell Rosen. True story: I seemed to be hitting it off with someone on OkCupid. It got all weird and she canceled our date after asking me questions out of nowhere about whether I like to be touched. Where do you think she got the idea that that’d be a problem, huh? Certainly not from autistic people, among whose chief documented complaints are that we’re suffering from suicidal loneliness.
They joined parents’ and support groups. They went to Riverside County, Orange County and San Diego County in search of answers they may have overlooked. What they discovered is each family in these groups had their own unique child, not quite like any other. That was both encouraging and discouraging. It was heartening to hear the autism did not automatically mean dependence but it also did not mean independence. The groups taught them helping their son meant being part educator, part insurance fighter, part psychologist — but mostly a parent and advocate.
As I write this, my friend as his wife are continuing to look at and reevaluate every avenue, any direction possible for their son. If they are getting tired, as I know they must, they don’t complain. They wanted me to know their situation is not unique. It is their hope to continue to fight for their son and educate as many people as will listen.
Exactly. The parents are disappointed that they couldn’t just use a lazy, dehumanizing stereotype to feel like they knew everything about us. Oh gawd if outcomes vary they have to bear some of that great existential burden. I sure feel bad that those dependent autistic people are fucking that up for them. As if everybody isn’t highly dependent on others for their survival. We just choose to punish autistic people for it and give them crappier deals.
Alarming indications that autistic people might be real people after all. The implications are disturbing.
If they loved their son instead of trying to fix him, I’m sure things would go better. It’s impossible to form a healthy self-concept as an autistic person if all you have to go by are the demeaning things said about you by mental health professionals who don’t know what they’re talking about.
Fuck Mitchell Rosen for taking it upon himself to undermine all the work autistic adults have done to destigmatize ourselves.
If you have a child on purpose, you assume moral responsibility for taking care of them no matter how they come out. Autism Warrior Parents are just narcissists who resent their children for being weird, exemplified by Jenny McCarthy.
Being casually dehumanized all the time is the worst part of autism, hands down. Note that that’s a moral failure of normal people, not a biological feature of autism.