I wanted to write about how Richard came home yesterday (Yay!) and how we took Emma to the Chelsea Market and how she insisted on wearing a pair of black patent leather shoes, turquoise tank top and pink terry cloth shorts with white hearts. I wanted to post a couple of photos of her so you could see for yourself how great she looks, but when I sat down to write I knew I had to write about something else.
I don’t want to talk about Joe Scarborough any more. Yet his unfortunate, ridiculous, careless and ignorant remarks, make it impossible not to mention him, because he has a huge following, because people imagine he knows something about Autism. Joe Scarborough’s remarks are indicative of a larger issue – ignorance and misinformation, which leads to opinions and a general consensus about Autism that is incorrect. One such commenter on an article about Joe Scarborough’s remarks, said he believed Joe Scarborough knew more about autism than he did because he has a son who is Autistic. And that is exactly why this is about more than just some asshole with a radio show. There are countless people spewing all kinds of venom on the radio and everywhere else. Much of it is dismissed. But when someone, whether it’s a pseudo celebrity or a talk show host with a large following says they have a child on the spectrum ears perk up. Forget that AUTISTICS are talking about what it’s like to be autistic ALL THE TIME and their words are almost never in accordance with what that parent with an Autistic child is saying.
So just to reiterate:
Autism is NOT a “mental health” issue. It is neurological, neither good nor bad, just DIFFERENT.
Joe Scarborough, (I know, there’s his name again) said in a statement he made yesterday, which was neither apologetic nor a retraction from his original inflammatory comments, “I look forward to continuing my work with wonderful organizations like Autism Speaks to provide badly needed support to millions of Americans who struggle with Autism every day.”
Autism Speaks does NOT provide badly needed support to Autistics. In fact Autism Speaks is uniformly HATED by a massive number of Autistics who speak to that fact on a daily basis. If you google “Autistics who hate Autism Speaks” you will see more than a dozen pages of links addressing why this is so. (Really, I just googled it.)
While I’m at it, let’s dispel a couple more myths, something Autistics are doing ALL the time on their blogs.
Autistic people are not inherently violent.
Autistic people do not LACK empathy.
Autistic people are not all loners sitting in a corner banging their heads against the wall (That would better describe me right about now) until they can no longer take it and go on a murderous rampage.
Autistic people are not all depressed and friendless.
I’m depressed right now. But this isn’t about me, or how I feel, or anything else that contains the word, me or I. This is about prejudices and prejudices are always negative, reinforced by ignorance, ingested by those who believe they are being told the truth by someone who is more knowledgable than they are about something they know nothing about. This is how it works. This is how it has always worked throughout history, the demonization of a group of people whose voices are drowned out by the larger roar of ignorance and stupidity.
I refuse to end on this note, however. So here. Here are a couple of photos of Emma in the outfit she threw on to go to Chelsea Market yesterday evening. Because Em is one more example of what Autism looks like. Emma is inherently HAPPY. Emma is inherently SOCIAL. Emma is inherently KIND. Emma is inherently EMPATHIC. I’m trying really hard to follow her lead.
This is Autism. This is Emma.
Loved that as I took this photo a woman wearing black patent leather pumps and turquoise dress walked toward her!
“I can’t reach!”