From the infamous-in-neurodiversity-circles group Autism Speaks: a video showing shot after shot of autistic children on their own, while a sinister voice-over purporting to be an anthropomorphised Autism Entity talks about how he will take great glee in stealing your children away from you to hide them behind a wall, churning through your finances, breaking up your marriage, and making you cry every morning with worry for your child’s future after you die. Then the families appear and [a multi-voice-over] talks about fighting the Autism Entity as if it has kidnapped their “real” children and left them with some changeling who doesn’t have “real” feelings.
So, here’s their Major Message: Kids with Autism are just so Difficult to Know and Understand, and such a Huge Burden to Real People. Secondary Message: supporting Autistic people here and now to live happily and productively is not nearly as important as raising money for cure/prevention some many years in the future.
FFS. And after all that representation of Auties as difficult and embarrassing people to be around, do they wonder why other people don’t want their kids to play with the Autistic kids, or that employers don’t want to give Auties jobs? Probably not. Because it appears to be all about Them. Autistic kids have no voice in Autism Speaks, and adult Autistics who criticise them? Oh well, they must be High Functioning or have Asperger’s Syndrome and are therefore not even Really Autistic appears to be the party line, and they can thus be ignored, because it is Different for Them and they Don’t Really Understand. Even though HFAs and Aspies are included in the “1 in 150″ statistic that Autism Speaks loves to use for fear-mongering.
Link round-up here. It has been suggested that the families of autistic kids shown in the video may well have not been aware of the slant that the video was going to take when they sent in footage of their kids first on their own and then surrounded by loving family and friends for the second part of the video. They were just following instructions for volunteer families from the group’s website, and were probably excited that the video was going to be directed by Alphonse Cuaron (he has a child on the spectrum). I really hope they were deceived rather than willingly demonising their own children. And I really hope none of their kids are devastated from watching themselves portrayed as bogeymen who are ruining their family’s life.
SotBO: obviously, the most disabling manifestations of autism, just like any other severe disability, do constitute a very difficult emotional and financial situation for a family to manage. I don’t want to minimise the challenges that places on families.
But that doesn’t make the kids with severe autism monstrous, and just because the neuro-diverse have difficulty expressing their emotions in ways to which neurotypical people accustomed doesn’t mean that they don’t have emotions. This shit about Autistics being hopelessly broken doesn’t do any Autistics any favours, and actively contributes to them being marginalised at at school and in the search for employment.