Surely, you’ve seen it, right? Gasp! Eek! Run for the hills! Half of all kids are going to have autism! Half, people, half! The horror!
First, let me just do a short comment on how discriminatory and bothersome that was, to see that in my feed for a few days, repeatedly. It’s the tone in which it was posted, right? Like this is such a horrible thing. Like a “Hey, if it’s 1:70, I’ll take my chances, but holy crap…one out of two!!! We’ve got to do something about this!” Let’s insert any other description of a person into that phrase. Instead of “half of all people will be autistic….” use: black, Indian, Jewish, Muslim, Hispanic, blind, deaf…doesn’t that seem wrong to you? To be fearful of people because of how they were born, something that they have no control over? Trust me, if the worst thing that happens to you is that you “end up like my kid” then you are doing fine. He’s wonderful, you could do much worse.
To my fellow special needs parents, I get it. We realize how completely inadequate the services available to us are…and if demand increases to that level, would be impossible. But, simmer down people, it’s NOT true. Despite the fancy-schmancy MIT credentials, it’s not true. Posting it over and over again on Facebook does not make it true. But what if it was true……….
Honestly, would it be so bad if half the people had autism? I don’t think so. In fact, I think that there are lots of ways our world would be more awesome.
- Half of your family would not complain if you served the same thing every night for dinner.
- Half of the toys in your house would be neatly arranged. You might even be able to get your pantry lined up neatly too.
- I bet that more people would learn to be on time for others and to stick to schedules. And we’d get better at preparing each other for transitions.
- Brutal honesty–everywhere. Imagine it, if half of our country was always honest and said what was on their mind.
- Toy obsessions-cool for adults too.
- Sweatpants….acceptable for any occasion!
- It wouldn’t be weird to ask for sensory breaks during the day at work.
- Much of our slang and colloquialisms would probably be lessened or possibly disappear, due to a greater need for literal language. And I don’t think that’s all bad. Face it, many of them are annoying.
- As a community, we would learn new and different ways to communicate. We all would learn to read non-verbal cues better. And patience.
- The movie Rainman would become a lot less interesting to people.
- “Self soothing” and/or “self regulating” would become a ‘thing.’
- The sensory/light play/fidget toy industry would skyrocket.
- There would group exercise classes to maximize the benefits of flapping, bouncing and rocking. (Check your local fitness center for details!)
- We would learn to be quieter and not have so much noise around us.
- Because everything is awesome when you’re part of a team. And imagine how big our team would be!
- We would be forced to focus on people’s strengths and how to best leverage those strengths for full participation in the community. You can’t just suddenly have half of everyone, stuck at home in parents’ basements playing video games!
Please note that this was written with a bit of sarcasm and isn’t intended to offend anyone. (Hey, sarcasm might disappear, another one!) My own child does many of these things…and it is what it is…and what it is is insulting, when you think that your child “might end up like him.” You know what, that’s not a bad thing. He’s awesome.