Thursday, August 12, 2010

Jabberwocky of the Day : Don't Speak Ill of Autism

A new blog/memorial site called Lives Lost to Autism was announced on Age of Autism yesterday. The new site is meant to "tell the stories of the precious lives cut short by autism".

While I understand why this site was created and why it is important to not overlook the problems that autism brings, I can honestly say that the site gives me the heebie-jeebies. I known that autism has caused many lives to be cut short but I don't really want a daily reminder of that fact.

However, be that as it may, this site has the potential to be an apt memorial of those who have passed.

But then, we have those who feel differently.  Those who feel that somehow this site is being unfair to autism itself. I am speaking of a response on Left Brain Right Brain entitled "Autism is not murderous" -
But the name ‘Lives lost to autism’, the strapline ‘For many, autism can be deadly.’ and most particularly the statement ‘This site tells the story of the precious lives cut short by autism.’ are very misleading. Blaming autism for murder is utterly misleading. Autism didn’t murder any of the children listed as murder victims – or the ones that haven’t been listed either.
The site seems to be set up and run by Ginger Taylor (left) who’s position on autism has grown more and more extreme over the years. It seems now she is happy to denigrate autism itself as a murderous entity.
That's right, the site is wrong because it unfairly criticizes autism the "entity". And here I was unaware that autism was it fact an entity -
1 a : being, existence; especially : independent, separate, or self-contained existence b : the existence of a thing as contrasted with its attributes
2 : something that has separate and distinct existence and objective or conceptual reality
I was under the impression that autism was a disease, disorder, or condition that people had, not some independent thing that had the person. I mean, if autism was an independent of separate thing that would mean it would have to somehow gain possession or infect someone before they could be said to "have" autism.  If autism were an infectious entity, that would go along way to explaining the increase in autism, wouldn't it?

But somehow I don't quite think that was what Kev meant.

Regardless, the suggestion that blaming a death on autism is somehow misleading or tarnishes autism's good name is just plain silly.  Autism is not a good thing and has in fact directly caused many deaths.

Let me put it this way, if someone dies as a direct result of being shot would you try to claim that it was the bullet and not the person pulling the trigger that is to blame?  In a similar fashion, autism robs people of abilities or facilities that they would normally be expected to have and it is this lack that can directly lead to death.

Autism can prevent children from understanding their environment and that lack of understanding can very easily be fatal. Autism can easily prevent people from being able to understand what effect their actions have on others and thus lead to their deaths. This likely happened in the case of Sky Walker - do you think he killed his mother or was it his autism that lead to her death?

I have seen many attempts to whitewash the spectrum but this one takes the cake.

1 comment:

  1. Hi AJ,

    I am with you on the heebie-jeebies thing. It is not really supposed to be a site that people ready daily. As a matter of fact, I would not recommending reading it regularly.

    It is really more of an archive and a memorial. To be there when people need it.

    I have written a discussion of the whys of the site in response to the blog posts about it.

    Thanks for posting on this.