We don’t need to wipe out autism…we need to care more

Virginia and DannyI have berated the Mail in the past for their persistent espousal of Andrew Wakefiel, siezing on the flimsiest of evidence to publish scare stories about MMR and Autism. But credit where credit is due. Today they printed a commentary under the splendid headline

"We don't need to wipe out autism…we need to care more"

The article is written by Virginia Bovell. Her son is severely autistic. She helped to found the Treehouse School in London which is based on the principles of ABA. She is active within the National Autistic Society and has written an excellent article. You can add your comments to the online edition.
In the same issue, the Mail has published an article on the ethical issues raised by new developmenmts in genetic testing, including the use of sex testing to reduce autism that I referred to in my blog Autism Acceptance or Genetic Testing?

Ethical row erupts over designer babies breakthrough

This is also open to comments. I fully commend the response of fellow Autism Hub member Larry Arnold who wrote:

I am an autistic adult and a valid member of society. No one can tell how an autistic child will fare later in life, what they will grow to be. I am an example of a succesful adult (I will be studying for a degree in Autism next year), there are many others like me.

In fairness not every autistic person will end up at University anymore than every "neurotypical" child but even the severity of Autism during childhood is no indicator of how the child will grow into an adult and unlike some conditions, autism is not an invitation to an early grave. No one can tell before birth which child will be a future Prime Minister, or Wayne Rooney, or which will die in a car accident or from a drugs overdose during a life of Crime.

Every child has equal value whatever their future station in life.

9 thoughts on “We don’t need to wipe out autism…we need to care more

  1. “ALBANY, N.Y. — The state won’t stop funding a school for disabled youths despite finding “skin shocks” — sometimes administered while students bathed — for offenses as minor as nagging, swearing and sloppy appearance, the school reported Monday. ” – WNBC

    I’m a bit on the young side, but that’s still horrible. You don’t punish people by shocking them. Talk to them, they’ll listen. Plus, shocking someone while they’re in or near water, is twice as wrong. I don’t care that they’re disabled or whatever. I’ve worked with mentally handicapped people before, and you really don’t need to hurt them to get their attetion. All you need to do is speak kindly. -Liz, age 13

  2. Hi Liz…

    “I’ve worked with mentally handicapped people before, and you really don’t need to hurt them to get their attetion.”

    Funny that. I worked in a school for children with very profound multiple disabilities for a short while, as a non-teaching assistant. Some of these children could be quite a handful, and we were never really sure of how much we could enable them to learn. What we did know was that shouting and otherwise punishing them was not the way forward with them.

    The Judge Rotenberg Center has nothing going on there that in any way has standing as proper teaching practice. It is a truly evil place.

  3. I agree completely. I feel very strongly about the subject. I have not had very much experiance working with people who are autistic, but I have had 23 years of being a person who is autistic. The more I hear about this sort of thing going on the more disgusted I am with so called normal society.

  4. Thank you, Kelly.

    My folks were told I’d never make anything of myself.

    I’m autistic, you see.

    I’m an applied educational psychologist, doing a taught MEd by original research (and getting distinctions all the way!), specialising in autism, but being generally competent within the spheres of educational and applied developmental psychology.

    My disgust with society is really coming to the fore now…. genetics has gone the way of psychiatry… which is as a means by which society can get rid of anyone who is even slightly different.

    Making me sick, seeing how many everyday humans in western society think and feel aobut people like me. Hobbes’ philosophy used to scare me because it wa a very bleak picture of what people are like.

    Now it scares me because it looks like he was on the button.

    What’s my share of advantages in the social contract?

  5. With regard to the daily mail article, I registered a protest with the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority.

    The reply I got was to the effect that no application for a licence has been made to discard Male Embryos for families with an autistic member.

    Somebody somewhere is not telling the truth about this, so has the hospital applied or not, and if so for what has it applied?

    Well I shall have to wait till Monday to confront the hospital about this.

    Pity the NAS is being spineless over the issue, they could save me the bother.

  6. Well my folks generally weren’t told I wouldn’t make anything of myself as far as I know (there is a great deal they never shared with me) but one thing that was said is that I would never live a normal life (this was said by my pediatrician when I was four). Well, I have three years of college under my belt and am pushing for a few more (I start again in January) since I was at least a Masters…I also intend to double major in computer science and mathematics or computer science and engineering (I am trying to come to some informed decision regarding this). I finished the Spring 2005 semester at my previous college with around a 3.5 GPA. I live basically independently (I am mostly financially dependent on my boyfriend but I mean for that to change very soon). I have held a full time job in the past and am freelancing now as I am between regular jobs.

    Synopsis: Sometimes people are wrong about us.

  7. Hi Mike,

    I have finally found your blog and I do agree with the comments that we need to care a bit more about autism. A diverse society cannot afford to look at its people from the jam jar rather than beyond it.

    In 1980, I was regarded as “autistic” and “hyperactive”, and diagnosed six years later with Semantic Pragmatic Language Disorder.

    At the time, no one foresaw my ability to gain five good GCSEs, go on to further education or build my own website (http://www.stuartvallantine.co.uk). I have also written an article on SPLD which has been well received by an online support group. I have also done talks at Sunfield and two of Donna Williams’ lectures.

    In 2002, I read your book on high functioning autism and could relate to the scenarios with your lad, having trouble finding work, resulting in me gaining my first unsupported job at 23.

    Well, I’d better be going for now, bye.

    Stuart.

  8. Hi Stuart,
    thanks for dropping by. The picture at the top of my blog gives a clue to where I am in the North West. My son is doing well for himself at university now. I would like to read your article. Is it available online?

  9. Hi Mike,

    It is available online and here is the address of my article:

    http://www.spdsupport.org.uk/stuartsstory.html

    This was written nearly a year ago, following a request by the administrator of the SPD Support website. The result was ‘What SPLD Means to Me’, all 5,200 words and given pride of place via a link from their website. Other relatives and friends have enjoyed reading it. Besides writing the article, I even did the HTML coding and graphics.

    I do recognise the town view at the top of your blog. That is Barrow-in-Furness with the BAE shipyard. I’ve been there a few times to follow my underachieving football side.

    I also live in the North West too, near the place of a team who Barrow beat 2-1 at Holker Street.

    Good to hear about your son’s prowess at university.

    Take care,

    Stuart.

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