WHY DO WE STILL SEE THIS
There was apparently a recent letter to The Arizona Republic, in which some cranky individual decried the fact that disruptive children are seen in public. In response, Mr. David Cuddeby wrote the following response (go here to see the original post and comments):
The behavior of some children in the store where letter writer Cherie Anderson works describes the way my 3-year-old grandson occasionally acts ("Stores no place for unruly children," Letters, Friday). I guess we could get him a little T-shirt that says, "This is how autism looks."
Perhaps we will take her advice and just leave him at home. As she points out, it is our problem, not hers.
The sarcasm in Mr. Cuddeby's last sentence was lost on the folks around there. Here's one of the comments left at the on-line posting of the letter:
Mr. Cuddeby, you're quite correct in you last statement in your letter; it IS your problem, not anyone else's.
Is your child better served, during those periods of time his behavior becomes uncontrollable, in a public place, where he can - and does - become an object of ridicule by others unaware of his health condition or with his other parent, at home, in an environment he knows to be safe for him?
I want to be clear - I am not saying you should lock your child away at home. I'm suggesting that you, as a responsible parent, need to determine what lengths outside activity has a beneficial effect on your autistic child, and have an option available for those periods of time you child enters one of his autistic fugue states.
Actually, that was one of the nicer comments. Here's one that seem to lay the real feelings of some folks in Arizona on the line:
Okay, let's give a little of this unruly behavior to autistic children who represent 1 out of 150 kids. Now please explain away the other 149 brats screaming at the top of their lungs. God, we have become such wimps and seek to victimize every thing we do. Nipple sucking liberals always have a "reason" for why criminals committ [sic] crimes and how it;s [sic] not their fault and why kids act like brats. Sad.
The general tone of the more civilized comments was that parents of autistic children should not subject their kids to more than they can handle. Loosely translated, that means, "please don't bring your children anywhere where we might be reminded that this autism thing exists."
So despite our desire to move on, we still need autism awareness. We need for the world to be aware that this is not just our problem; it is everyone's. If we don't get help in determining cause and treatments, and if we don't get help in caring for our kids now, then the rest of society will become all-too-aware after we're gone that they have a problem.
Go here to read Mr. Cuddeby's letter and all the comments. Feel free to add to the comments yourselves. Spread a little awareness.
POSTSCRIPT: I went back and did a little editing on this post, realizing that was being a little too broad in my condemnation of folks in Arizona. There's too many good people there, and what we see in these comments may better be characterized as merely being an open and obvious example of attitudes we encounter too often everywhere.