Sunday, November 28, 2010

"I hate your autism."

First,note the quotation marks. I don't actually hate anyone's autism, but you've heard this quote before perhaps. I know I have. It's a quote that reeks of intolerance and lack of education. It can also come from frustration and lack of understanding.

Those of you at my facebook page may remember a question I posted some time back. I asked what readers want to know about autism. One parent posted that he wanted to know how to get rid of autism as soon as possible. He hates his child's autism. Now, I'm trying to address his quote and this reaction in other was rather than be negative and I hope the rest of you take it the same. I believe this man and many parents like him are frustrated and at wits end. They are having a hard time understanding their child and how autism takes affect.

From this point of view, I want to remind you all that there is no cure for autism. Let me repeat that; there is no cure for autism. One more time, there is no cure for autism. At least, not yet.

That being said, the first thing you must understand is that autism is a biological condition, not a psychological one. It has psychological co-effects, not it is not psychological at it's source. Autism is caused by various connections in the brain that are not communicating properly if at all. That's how everything in your body works, you know. Your brain tells your heart to beat, your lungs to take in oxygen and controls how your senses take in information. That's the key here. How your senses take in information shapes how you interact with the world around you.

Some of this can be overcome with years of practice and support. However, autism will be with a person for the rest of their life. There will always be difficulties. The sooner you accept that as a parent, the sooner you can be your child's best coach in how to survive and live with autism. Without that support, especially without your support, your child's future is bound to be uncertain and random.

Another aspect to consider. When someone says to me, "I hate your autism" (and it's happened), it hurts. It hurts especially if this is someone I trusted and let close to me. What a terrible and unfair thing to say. It's even worse if you are a child and a parent says that to you. It's confusing enough to grow up with autism, trying to figure out how to work with the world when your brain won't process things normally. Add emotional turmoil with a parents disapproval and it's much worse. It's not the child's fault they have autism. They can't wad it up and toss it in the trash for you. As it is, children with autism have a tendency to take things very personally and literally. You may as well come right out and say you hate them personally. They are likely to take it that way.

It's important to learn all you can about autism and how to teach your child how to live with it. You have to know that this process will last their entire childhood to the rest of their natural life. Be part of their lives. Autism is not the end.


Jennifer said...

So what is your opinion on improving brain function? I agree with your statement that support and practice are key to making life easier and more manageable for those who don't process their world in a typical way. I've been reading what Brain Balance - - has to say about improving brain function and connections through targeted exercises, both physical and brain-based. Their site is worth a read.

David Wilde said...

Agreed, Jennifer. And there are a lot of life skills that can be improved with practice and the mentioned exercises. Often these things do need to be tailored to the individual so it's best to work with a professional who gets to know your child (or you).