Whose Planet Is It Anyway?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Why God Made Me Autistic

Sometimes when I'm browsing the Web, I come across a navel-gazing essay by an autistic writer who declares that there must be some profound cosmic reason why he was born with a mental disability that restricts his opportunities in life—that God must have intended for him to learn humility and courage by struggling with his affliction.

Yecch. Pick the lint out already, pal.

And sometimes I find saccharine-sweet articles by parents who write that God chose them to raise a sweet, innocent little angel who probably will never hold a job or live independently, but whose existence will teach the world to show compassion toward those poor souls who are tragically abnormal.

Double yecch.

They've fallen for the propaganda that anyone who has a disability label is a damaged second-class citizen with only limited ability to achieve. That's wrong. When you think about it, every human being has limitations of one sort or another. Nobody on the planet is above average in all possible measures of ability. Who gets called "normal" and who gets called "disabled" is purely arbitrary. Most of the restrictions on autistic people's opportunities are the result of stereotypes, discrimination, inadequate education, and lack of reasonable accommodations.

You want to know my take on why God, or whoever's in charge of the universe, made me autistic?

So that I could use my gifts of creative energy, determination, perseverance, perfectionism, sense of justice, ability to recognize cultural and historical patterns, and analytical and written language skills—to kick our prejudiced society's ass.



  • Puts me in mind of 'Minnesota - where all the children are above average' but that's probably just what happens if NPR and A Prairie Home Companion comes over the airwaves.

    By Blogger mcewen, at 11:00 AM  

  • Eli Lilly made you autistic, don't blame God. God's not that cruel that he would do this to millions of babies.

    By Blogger Fore Sam, at 12:04 PM  

  • Great post, I especially love the "kick...ass" part! (Could you start with FS, please? What a schmuck!) I hope my kid grows up to feel the same way!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:08 PM  

  • I totally agree with you abfh. Regarding the sterotyped reasons of why God made them or their child autistic (defective, etc), I think that view of thinking is flawed, as it may perceive that autistics are mistakes in God's plan, but for me at least, God doesn't make mistakes. We are all valued by God and all have a role to play, with each one of us, autistic or not, having unique strengths. Most of my friends are unable to fix a simple software problem on their computer for example, while I can do it in five minutes. I can visualize many things just by hearing or thinking about them, which is good for on the spot planning. This is just two examples of things I can do. He made me to have these unique skills for a purpose, and to look at some people as purely pity objects seems dirty.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:26 PM  

  • McEwen: Yes, now that you mention it, that's a good satire because it is so uncomfortably true to life.

    Fore Sam: You and the other antivax diehards have only a few more weeks before your vaccine lawsuit goes poof. I already have a nice comfy spot picked out for it in my graveyard, right next to Don Imus.

    Anon 1: Thanks much, and feel free to kick him some more if you want...

    Anon 2: Very well said. Nobody should ever be looked upon as just a pity object.

    By Blogger abfh, at 3:33 PM  

  • ABFH, I'm not involved in that lawsuit. If I cure my son, I'll win in court easily no matter what happens with that.

    By Blogger Fore Sam, at 4:30 PM  

  • FS: "I'm not involved in that lawsuit. If I cure my son, I'll win in court easily no matter what happens with that."


    Used to be 'when', not it's 'if'... the man's faith in this 'theory' is so on the wane now!

    FS, you haven't a prayer, man. And I can guarantee that you turning up with a boy you claim to have cured of his autism without a seriously undertaken case study to demonstrate what you have done in order to do that... every judge in the US will be pissing him/herself laughing at your pathetic attempt to extort money from a drug company (and, yes, that story would go right the way round!).

    By Blogger David N. Andrews MEd (Distinction), at 6:57 PM  

  • David, That's not very nice. If I succeed, I'll pay the bills for you to use the same treatment on your kid. Your kid will thank you.

    By Blogger Fore Sam, at 10:01 PM  

  • Last time I heard Best state what he meant by "cure" and "success" it had to do with playing the ponies in lieu of a career, hustling golf and shagging Britney Spears.

    By Anonymous benhogansghost, at 10:17 PM  

  • You knew I was going to get a giggle out of this didn't you.

    Being that I consider myself an autism parent by the Grace of God, I must make a comment.

    I don't have any sugar or artificial sweetener for my posts but I do feel blessed to have Tiger. I don't know why I am chosen to raise this boy. But I figure I won't look a gifthorse in the mouth. I'll just be glad I have a son as great as him.

    The trouble is that some people form their own image of God. They actually think God is fair. And they are too busy hating disabilities. Sorry, God aint fair. He doesn't make us all the same.

    And for your information, I think your right. I think shaking things up is your God Given Duty. So maybe you should change your handle to Autistic Bitch From God.

    By Blogger bigwhitehat, at 10:40 PM  

  • Hmm. I must admit that while I understand the sentiment you are trying to express, the invocation of "God" as an explanation or justification for anyone's existence tends to make me somewhat uncomfortable.

    The way I see it, even in the absence of any supernatural superbeings, autistic people are still valuable as autistic people. Every person is valuable as themselves, regardless of how we got here.

    Diverse populations with an understanding of interdependence are always going to be healthier and more flexible than homogenous, rigid populations. And from a completely naturalistic standpoint, if you consider that people are a means for the universe to observe and "compute" itself, each person is utterly irreplaceable owing to having their individual perspective. By having different kinds of people everywhere, all noticing and responding to different things in different ways, the overall amount of joy and wonder in existence is heightened immensely.

    By Blogger AnneC, at 12:16 AM  

  • great post and sentiment, abfh! We all are in the midst of learning to kick ass. And take names, too...

    By Anonymous Aspie Dad, at 4:05 AM  

  • FS: "David, That's not very nice."

    So what? You're not very nice either...

    You have no clue how silly you look saying all this stuff.

    You claim a BA or a BSc in Psychology and a MPA in Public Administration and you have no clue how science works, and how knowledge is developed. And you expect a court to believe you cured your son when you offer absolutely no evidence that you have even tried to do so?!

    You need help, man. Seriously. You need some help. That stuff's pure delusion.

    By Blogger David N. Andrews MEd (Distinction), at 4:06 AM  

  • http://www.bloggerview.net/2007/04/john-best-hating-autism.html

    Fore Sam on why God made his lad autistic... or not... or... who knows? The man's not well....

    By Blogger David N. Andrews MEd (Distinction), at 5:36 AM  

  • I am loving that last sentence!

    By Blogger Sharon, at 8:53 AM  

  • Big White Hat, I wasn't talking about you when I mentioned parents who believe that God chose them to raise a child with a disability, but about those who see their child as a pity object.

    Thanks for the "Autistic Bitch from God" suggestion -- you gave me a giggle, too! I don't belong to any organized religion, though, and I don't have any firm convictions on what makes the universe tick. Although I'd like to think that I've been chosen to accomplish a particular purpose, sometimes I wonder if that isn't just something humans tell ourselves so that we can feel more important...

    AnneC, I love your last sentence. Diversity indeed has value in far more ways than just the economic aspects.

    By Blogger abfh, at 10:08 AM  

  • Ain't that like society? You think you have it all figured out, then someone throws a big "but" in the conversation...keep kickin'...

    "Autistic children could never be missed. Parents will know. Asperger's is more difficult to diagnose but I don't care about that so I won't get into it."

    Great advise for those parents worried if their child is autistic John, informative AND insightful...

    By Blogger LIVSPARENTS, at 12:52 PM  

  • I'm sorry if I'm misinterpreting your point, but isn't this related to the idea that undesirable people exist for the benefit of the desirable power class? Undesirables exist to "teach" desirable people life lessons, as in the common theme in movies of the privileged protagonist having his soul saved by the child, racial minority, disabled person, etc.?

    By Blogger lily_in_revolt, at 8:29 PM  

  • isn't this related to the idea that undesirable people exist for the benefit of the desirable power class?

    That wasn't what I had in mind when I wrote the post, but yes, that attitude does seem to be related. Good point.

    By Blogger abfh, at 9:12 AM  

  • I don't really believe in much religion, however, i do believe there is a hyper-spatial being that is beyond anything our universe can imagine. that is who God is.

    God made some people autistic, because he wants diversity in the human race. People who can think outside of the box and open more doors to math, science and art. These people must become strong while having to mingle with discrimination, learning to overcome their limitations. But if everyone thought the exact same way, we'd still be living in the BC way of life. Sure, we can live without gas guzzling cars and airplanes, but guess who's trying to make these luxurious things more efficient? Autistics again! (probably; or at least i would try to)

    Whoever neglects autism and autistics will become autistic in the next life (like in the Buddhist principle). So yeah, Foresam, wait until you reincarnate into an autistic child with parents who want nothing out of you but normality. You cannot have special interests or stim, you must be very social and keep eye contact. If you don't comply, you get punished. Your parents chelate you day and night, and fight with the next generation of neurodiversity, just like you did in your previous life. They claim that all their doing is "helping" you become independent. Trust me, you won't like it.

    By Blogger BigTimeSynesthete, at 7:08 PM  

  • "So yeah, Foresam, wait until you reincarnate into an autistic child with parents who want nothing out of you but normality."

    Holy shit... now THAT would really piss the guy off .... :P

    By Blogger David N. Andrews MEd (Distinction), at 7:41 PM  

  • Holy shit... now THAT would really piss the guy off .... :P

    That's great, because he deserves it. At least i didn't post this on his blog, otherwise he'll post something like "Big Time Nitwit......(neglecting buhhdism because he doesn't believe in it).....i'm going straight to heaven because i'm helping my son...go have fun without the tasty hamburgers and die from lack of protein, because your religion tells you that cows are "gods."

    I'm not buhhdist but i am a vegetarian. I would not be suprised at all if Foresam was against vegetarianism, after seeing Joseph's blog containing "john best's greatest hits."

    By Blogger BigTimeSynesthete, at 10:08 PM  

  • BTS: "That's great, because he deserves it."


    There's a lot that he deserves, lemme tell ya!

    Yeh, he'd be anti-ANYthing-that-he-can't-get-a-handle-on.

    You know for a man with two degrees and a military commission (which he has claimed), Capt. J. F. Best BA., MPA. doesn't come across as the most deep of thinkers, does he?

    Do I think God made me autistic? Hell, no! I don't have a God-concept. I developed autistically.

    By Blogger David N. Andrews MEd (Distinction), at 7:12 AM  

  • And you do it so well!

    Great post!

    By Blogger Attila The Mom, at 8:51 AM  

  • but john best jr. is autistic. you can tell by the way he perseverates on the rest of us.

    ok just a supposition here. but i am not the only one who noticed.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:56 PM  

  • PS: talk about instant karma...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:57 PM  

  • If it aren't broken don't fix it!

    Autisim is not a disorder. Sometimes I think it's us NT people that need fixing. We think we are so 'normal' and want to make everyone just like us! That's a serious disorder!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:01 PM  

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