My friend Trish recently posted this video link on her Facebook page:
Please watch it before you read my comments.
I personally was very effected by this video. Here's why.
I have an autistic granddaughter. She isn't a typical autistic child, in that the doctors are pretty sure that her autistic behaviors stem from her double-whammy: optic nerve hypoplasia/septic-optic dysplasia and brain complications from a metabolic disorder.
But she behaves like an autistic child, including extremely delayed verbal functioning, perseverating, melt-downs, etc. She is is a very wonderful special education program at a public school, and has lately been making strides with her verbal communication skills that are amazing us all. Not that she is anywhere near a typical seven year old. But we are thrilled with any progress that comes our way. And she is an amazing little person, full of the joy of life, excitement, enthusiasm, and energy.
I loved all of this video. I think that he did a great job making it. But I was, initially, put off my his last card. Because I don't think that there is a way to "fix" autism, as if it were an infection that needs an antibiotic, or some other quick fix.
Even if my granddaughter could wake up tomorrow morning with a completely normal functioning brain, she would still have the effects of all these years she has lost to her disability. I do hope that some day we will have a much much better understanding of autism, its causes and best treatments. But for those who have lost years to autism, there would be long lasting effects. Hopefully ones that could be overcome, but the struggle would not be over.
And in one sense, "fix" implies that they are broken, like a clock that has stopped working and can be repaired. Autistic people are certainly different, and they certainly have special needs. I just don't think they are broken. A disability that effects the brain just requires different accommodations and treatments than one that effects the joints, or the connective tissue. Many of us have a disability of one kind or another, to one degree or another. And often there is no cure, only treatments and work-arounds and dealing with what is.
I did take the time to check out the blog written by the video's creator, and after reading comments and responses, I understand that he doesn't mean to imply that autistic children are broken, either. Which is why he has it in quotes.
The video and the blog both brought up a lot of thinking and a lot of discussion about autism, and I think that's a very good thing.
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