Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Are autistics high functioning?

Over at the Asperger's syndrome website Wrong Planet, a blogger differed with a review on Huffington Post of Autism: The Musical that claimed that the majority of those with autism are low-functioning. The argument is a good one, and really questions the intentions of many organizations that we assume at face value are working on the side of the angels, so to speak.

This paragraph stood out:

The simple answer is that people such as Kirby and organizations such as Autism Speaks benefit from the public incorrectly believing in a picture of autism that is completely wrong. How do they benefit exactly? Think about how many people donate to autism organizations because they want to help the "poor autistic children." Granted, Asperger's Syndrome isn't the easiest thing to be diagnosed with. But would as many people donate money if they knew that more than half of the 1 in 150 'sufferers' are actually not suffering from anything other than social skill problems, sensory issues, and mainly being misunderstood by society?

This is very true. When someone sees a banner (similiar to the one above) that says 1 in 150 children have autism with a picture of a child with a vacant look on their eyes, they can be led to believe that 1 in 150 children is being born totally incapable of doing anything and set up for a life of not doing anything and leeching off the society. I doubt the average person connects autism with someone like myself, who is an enthusiastic writer, lives on his own in a different state from his parents and has a very well developed vocabulary, but has difficulties in physical coordination and in relating to other people that the average person never has to face. The ultimate goal should involve removing stigmas, and to simply reinstate "autism" as a word for "retarded" won't have accomplished very much.

I'm sure I could get in trouble for this next paragraph, but it doesn't surprise me that the misinformed article was on a liberal site like the Huffington Post. My first exposure to special education was through a program at a school in the Seattle School District headed by the demented bully Dennis Nusbaum, who years later I learned was a Democratic partisan who had been reprimanded for using public resources to promote political initiatives. Eugenics and programs of exterminating the disabled took hold on the Left, and that sort of the political divide has a very long history of committing horrors under the bravado of improving society.
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