1 in 110

29 Apr

First, watch this PSA from Autism Speaks, which strongly advocates for an autism cure.  This ad created a lot of outrage from those of us who don’t see autism as a terminal illness.

Thanks, Autism Speaks.  I didn’t realize that my existence caused my family nothing but pain, suffering, and embarrassment.  It’s “too late” for me.  I guess I’m responsible for my parents’ divorce too.

Now, watch this PSA from ASAN, the Autism Self-advocacy Network, from people who have autism.

Just because we’re different doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be accepted the way we are, and provided with the assistance to live our lives in our own way.  We need more focus on education, acceptance, and support for autistics and their families.  If they find a “cure” someday then people can decide what to do when that happens.  But right now, we need people to embrace neurodiversity because our wiring may be different but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

Supposedly one in 110 children have autism (I love how adults are never included in these statistics).  And according to Autism Speaks, one in 70 boys have autism.  Think about that.  It’s an immense number of people.  How can that many people be “sick”?  If these numbers are true then autism starts to sound less like a disease and more like part of the natural spectrum of human existence.


2 Responses to “1 in 110”

  1. Robert April 29, 2010 at 23:59 #

    The first ad is a little creepy, but it’s certainly well-intentioned. I have a hard time getting angry at well-meaning people hoping to raise awareness about the serious challenges that autism causes their families, even if their message is poorly executed.

    The second ad is nice, but I think that there has to be a middle ground between “Austism = No Hope” and “Autism=Just Swell.” The first camp is clearly disrespectful to the people with autism who enjoy and value their lives. But I think that the second does serious violence to the people who suffer, terribly, from crippling low function autism. Neurodiversity is wonderful for the people who can say the word, but is little comfort to people who go through their lives unable to speak. There’s no upside to that.

    A person’s strengths and weaknesses often have a very serious impact on their life. Sometimes they make a person better, and sometimes worse. But I have to believe that a person is not merely their strengths or their weaknesses–that they are something else, something separate. If they are separate from those qualities, then they have the choice to be something different; to define themselves as something other than successes into which they were born or challenges that they cannot overcome. But this may be a belief supportable only because I’ve never had to face a situation so serious that it cuts to the core of who I am. If so, it is an ignorance that I hope never to have the misfortune to lose.

  2. blackbird3398 April 30, 2010 at 14:58 #


    Clearly I’m biased on the subject, but I feel that I sort of have a right to be under the circumstances.

    I don’t think the second ad does serious violence to anybody. I think the point is that particular group, made up of people that actually have autism, has been largely ignored in the autism debate and they feel like they need to be heard as well. I’m not trying to minimize the pain that people suffer from disability, but a lot of the time I think that suffering is magnified by parents being unable to accept that their child is different and not just like them. I don’t agree with the particular focus that many autism awareness groups are putting so much emphasis on, particularly when it comes to treatments that have no medical basis and are themselves dangerous.

    I strongly believe that behavioral therapy can vastly improve functionality and quality of life, and it has scientific proof of it’s efficacy. Kids have died from kooky autism treatments because desperate parents will try anything so that their child will be “normal.” If we focus more on acceptance and working with support systems this type of thing wouldn’t happen. People need to realize that autistic people may never be normal but in the vast majority of cases autistic people become functioning members of society, and a lot of us, even those who don’t speak without technological assistance, like our lives the way they are. Treating autism like a cancer that destroys peoples’ lives is not the answer to this problem.

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