Whose Planet Is It Anyway?

Monday, August 20, 2007

More hate speech from Autism Speaks

You know that you're in for a long slog through the stinking muck when you start reading a news article that begins with medieval changeling nonsense like this:

"He's just not there, he's gone," Suzanne Wright said as she sat in her living room and gazed at a photograph of her 6-year-old grandson Christian.

The article (ack.net/Autism081607.html) was written to promote a fundraising walk on Nantucket this Saturday, August 25th. According to Ms. Wright, participating in Autism Speaks walks is the ideal family activity for the autistic community because "you can't take these children out to restaurants and movies."

Feh. Sounds like the Wrights never heard of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Every public establishment in the United States is required to serve autistic children by federal law, as well as whatever state and local laws against disability discrimination there may be.

Granted, some autistic kids get noisy and hyper if they have to sit and wait for their meal; but that is also true of many non-autistic kids, and that's why there are so many family-friendly restaurants with play yards, where the little ones can run around and shriek to their heart's content. It's not reasonable for a parent or grandparent to expect that a 6-year-old boy, of any neurology, will be perfectly quiet for an hour or more while eating dinner at an upscale steakhouse. (As a side note, I have an autistic brother who loved restaurants when he was a young child, was always impeccably behaved, and thought it was a great treat when he was allowed to go into the kitchen and compliment the chef.)

The way I see it, if you're a parent of an autistic child, you have a pretty stark choice when it comes to what kind of world you want. If you think it's normal to have a world where you can't take your child out to restaurants and movies because bigots will treat him like "he's just not there" and tell you to your face that they have a problem with his kind, then Autism Speaks is for you.

But if you want to change our society's prejudiced attitudes and to create a more understanding and accepting world for your child as he grows up, don't participate in those walks. Instead, support The Autism Acceptance Project (TAAP); there are many online retailers that will donate a percentage of your purchases to TAAP, at no cost to you, when you shop through the Give Back America website.

To put what's at stake here into even sharper focus, here's another quote from Suzanne Wright, in the same article, on the sort of future she envisions (presumably she is addressing today's non-autistic children, as she has consistently refused to acknowledge the fact that autistics are capable of marrying and raising families):

"This is an epidemic that has to be stopped," Wright said. "I don’t want you growing up, getting married and having a baby with autism."

We certainly do have an epidemic that has to be stopped—and it is Autism Speaks' epidemic of hateful propaganda and mass hysteria. Here are a few uncomfortable facts for you, Ms. Wright: You don't get to decide what sort of babies other people can have. Nobody appointed you the Holy Keeper of the One Pure Genome. There is a word for people like you who advocate exterminating minority groups, and it is a very ugly one.



  • We've had periods when we couldn't take Joey out to a restaurant. Not being able to take children to a restaurant is a multi-faceted problem- social problems, sensory integration issues, cost issues.

    People would cross dining rooms to tell us to discipline (or remove!) him or make other unpleasant comments about how rude we were to disturb everyone else's meal (and this was in "family" restaurants!). But by far more important, Joey was not happy. He needed to stand to eat, the lights and noise were too much, the smell of the food was overwhelming.

    But guess what? We worked on it. Like other children, he had to be taught to eat in a restaurant- he just needed a lot more teaching to get the idea. He needed to break the task into smaller bits, and work our way to the Big Day: last weekend, he went to a restaurant, ordered his own food, selected his own favorites from the salad bar, ate his food- even tried some new ones!- and got his own dessert. He enjoyed himself, and can hardly wait to go back!

    Our main problem now is the cost. When one has spent all their money on OT getting a child to expand their ability to integrate sensory information, there isn't much left over for a meal in a restaurant.

    So, let's support the Autism Acceptance Project. Let's get people to stop crossing the dining room to yell at me while I am teaching my child the joys of eating out.

    By Blogger Joeymom, at 1:23 PM  

  • I hate restaurants, my wife has to really be upset at me before I'll go. I just don't like them. I'm glad I can make that choice now as an adult.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:51 PM  

  • "This is an epidemic that has to be stopped," Wright said. "I don’t want you growing up, getting married and having a baby with autism.""

    I disagree. I wrote this a while back. My son is not just a bit quirky, he is almost functionally nonverbal, he is hyposensitive, he is in nappies day and night with no sign of being ready for toilet training (and yes, he does do the stereotype of playing with the contents of his nappy at times) we have been told he could not cope in a mainstream school setting. He is gorgeous and funny and bright, with his own set of strengths and weaknesses, both of which can be put down to him being autistic.
    Anyway, this is my response to those that believe that there is nowt good about being on the spectrum:
    Do not tell me that you hope he will be cured, because then you will tell me he will lose his fantastic memory, the way he can whizz through a jigsaw puzzle after only just seeing it, the way he can recite whole poems and stories, even if he hasn't heard them in a while.
    Do not tell me that he will grow out of it, because then he will lose the way he kisses with his forehead and plays with my hair and touches my face, not because he wants sweets, or to stay up for a bit longer, but because he loves me, nothing more complicated than that.
    Do not say he cannot learn, because he perceives the world in a different way to you. See him remember places he's not been to in months and watch him read numbers, know colours, shapes and letters and then dare to say he cannot learn, because he can't ask for a drink.
    Do not demand vocalised speech for him as the be all and end all, let it be his choice and give him other options. Do not presume that silence means compliance, that a failure to say if something is wrong means that everything is right. Let him sign, draw, write, talk, whatever he needs to get his point across and never, ever belittle him for not opening his mouth, or for opening his mouth and communicating in a way that may seem strange to you.
    Do not presume to think his worth can be measured on how social he is, how much peer pressure he succumbs to as he gets older, how much he is able to network. As he grows, let his worth be measured on the respect he gives others, on his sense of justice and mercy, on his willingness to help those in need if he is capable of that help.
    Do not take my smart, funny, affectionate little boy and try and mould him into your rigidly defined views of what is socially acceptable. Let him learn, let him develop and let him understand that his value in the world is as equal as yours.

    By Anonymous bullet, at 3:45 PM  

  • I'm glad she didn't get to choose what kind of child I have. Having children is hard work but I wouldn't trade either of my boys for anything.

    By Blogger mumkeepingsane, at 4:30 PM  

  • Another good stab at misdirection here, Bitch. You and I know it's not about any genome though, don't we.

    By Blogger Fore Sam, at 4:34 PM  

  • Oh dear, I've lost the thread after reading the comment above.

    Now where was I.

    Restaurants are a bit of a pain for all the reasons that other commentators have outlines.

    Whilst we wait for TGIF to have one of those specials locally, in the meantime we just try and take them regularly [once a week] to some kind of a 'food' place. Exposure helps a great deal.

    I think we're doing just fine when compared to the days when we would turn up with three jars of baby pureed sweet potatoes for a four year old. [and the restaurants never complained or made a fuss]


    By Anonymous mcewen, at 4:55 PM  

  • There appears to be a definite genetic link in my family. My parents are what might be termed quirky, not on the spectrum, but having a fair few traits that sometimes makes people erroneously think they could be.
    I am Aspergers (only got my diagnosis last year but my mum admitted that paediatricians, teachers and my dad had all wanted me assessed when I was a child. This was in England in the 1980's when unless you were markedly different you rarely got noticed enough to be suggested for referral. I have an odd way of walking (well, it's not odd to me :D), I look a lot younger than my age and sound a lot yougner as well. I have poor co-ordination, can talk but a lot of difficulties expressing myself and initiating talking (I'm not talking about social anxiety, I'm talking about being unable to tell someone I'm in pain, or that I'm thirsty) , poor motor planning (can't let go of things a lot of the time, or react quickly enough to things). I am married, but my husband is only the second person I've dated, the first lasting only 9 weeks and he readily admits he finds me very odd. I can't drive (it would be dangerous for me personally to do so). I have very little sense of hunger, various sensory difficulties that do impact on my life, but it never occurred to me to ask for help with them. Neither did it occur to ask for help with my very poor self help skills. At any rate my Aspergers goes beyond social anxiety (I like a lot of other people and will never use my being AS as an excuse, if I upset someone who has done nowt wrong I will apologise, but I'm not fussed about being social) and impacts upon all my life. Sometimes peopel refer to it as a trendy diagnosis, I could not care aless if I was the only person to be as I am, or if everyone was like me, what matters to me is that it is a good explanation for my communication, co-ordination, reaction to things and perceptions and that I can use it to explain when I might need to approach things a different way.
    My son I've explained briefly about in the other post. My older sister has some traits as well, though she is not on the spectrum either.
    There is a difference between someone who is just a bit quirky, or odd and someone who is on the spectrum, but both myself and my older son are clealy on the spectrum.

    By Anonymous bullet, at 5:10 PM  

  • The restaurant was one place we could take Ben. Since he was a baby, he always behaved there...I don't know why.

    Now, to go to the library reading group was another story...never even tried.

    By Blogger r.b., at 6:14 PM  

  • I've been reading too much Harry Potter, because when I read the part about "I don’t want you growing up, getting married and having a baby with autism." I thought of muggle-borns and mud-bloods. Sorry to all those non-wizarding folks for not getting the ref....

    By Blogger LIVSPARENTS, at 6:35 PM  

  • Suzie grew-up, got married and became
    embarrasingly nouveau riche.

    Please Suzie go back to your peacock brooches and leave the heavy thinking to the scientists and the like.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:29 PM  

  • Autism Speaks doesn't speak... it opens its collective arse....

    ... and shits all over the place.

    By Blogger David N. Andrews MEd (Distinction), at 1:11 AM  

  • Maybe grandma Suzie can hock some of her nouveau peacock broaches and peacock paintings on black velvet
    and buy herself a "real" boy for a grandson. Then maybe Christian can get himself a grandma who will love him for who he is and not denigrate him in the press.

    Someone sent this to me. It relates to foresam, john beast jr.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:01 AM  

  • HI.

    Lots of comments.
    My Junior likes restaurants too.
    Some restaurants. He like pizza delivery the best.

    As for the "Autim speaks" lady. Well, I do not read her stuff. I do not relate to it at all.

    One day last week, we had lots to do. We had all gone shopping for shoes and school stuff. We were at Walmart, so we did some grocery shopping too. In line, junior just "zoned out". Over stimulated and tired, he had enough. He was stareing off.

    He was all there believe me. He was just tired. He had done more than he wanted to. I thought he handled it real well. He is a good boy.

    By Blogger A Bishops wife, at 9:13 AM  

  • Don't even get me started with the library groups. We've been tossed out of the library twice. :P

    By Blogger Joeymom, at 12:40 PM  

  • "Another good stab at misdirection here, Bitch. You and I know it's not about any genome though, don't we."

    So says the man whose frequent attempts at misdirection and abuse have landed him yet another ban from a forum!

    He's building up quite a collection.

    By Blogger David N. Andrews MEd (Distinction), at 1:21 PM  

  • Hi ABFH,

    I also want everyone to know that TAAProject, despite its seemingly quieter days online, is very busy strategically. Expect to see some new strides in the coming months.

    Thanks always for your support, and of course, TAAProject would not exist without the autistic people moving it along.

    By Blogger Estee Klar-Wolfond, at 1:28 PM  

  • Sanity Pending,
    Liars like to ban truth tellers. It makes it easier to perpetuate the lie.

    By Blogger Fore Sam, at 2:18 PM  

  • "Sanity Pending,
    Liars like to ban truth tellers. It makes it easier to perpetuate the lie."

    Or maybe they've just had enough of your hate speech/writing, Imbecile!

    By Blogger David N. Andrews MEd (Distinction), at 3:10 PM  

  • Sanity Pending,
    Maybe they have no answer for what I have to say, sorta like some ND bloggers.

    By Blogger Fore Sam, at 4:46 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Fore Sam, at 4:47 PM  

  • Granted, some autistic kids get noisy and hyper if they have to sit and wait for their meal

    That would be more of an issue at the movies. I don't take my son to the movies yet, because I know he'd be very disruptive and would not enjoy the movie.

    I do take him to restaurants often, though. If anyone complains, I just note he's autistic. If they don't like it, they can go screw themselves.

    By Blogger Joseph, at 8:57 PM  

  • "Sanity Pending,
    Maybe they have no answer for what I have to say, sorta like some ND bloggers."

    They did have an answer: they banned you.

    By Blogger David N. Andrews MEd (Distinction), at 9:47 PM  

  • The link to your blog in the "don't speak for me" petition isn't working.

    By Blogger Chasmatazz, at 8:30 AM  

  • Chasmatazz -- thanks for letting me know about the problem. Here's the link to the page you're looking for. I just sent an e-mail to Kevin Leitch to tell him about it.

    By Blogger abfh, at 11:13 AM  

  • ..."you can't take these children out to restaurants and movies."

    Yeah, its hard and it 'disturbs' others... so what. Sometimes people disturb me. Its just part of life. We got tired of people talking directly to our 5 yr old to "settle down" etc.

    So, we put on her 'Autism' t-shirt that reads: "I'm Autistic, what's your excuse". Works GREAT.

    By Blogger Dadof6Autistickids, at 3:06 AM  

  • http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/silencejohnbestjnr/signatures.html

    guess who signatory 26 is.

    By Blogger David N. Andrews MEd (Distinction), at 2:39 PM  

  • heh... it went :)

    Albert Einstein, my arse!!!!

    By Blogger David N. Andrews MEd (Distinction), at 9:44 AM  

  • I'd like all the people who see Autistic kids as being especially disruptive, or problematic to see this video:


    Neurotypicality Every Day. Goes to show you, you can put any small child in the light of being a major problem or disruption to others, if all you are willing to show is them screaming and throwing tantrums. Just as Autism Speaks did with their Autism Every Day propaganda peice.

    I am always, having to deal with issues involving NT children. It seems parents of NT children feel some entitlement. That it's ok to let their kid run around in a adult place, like a resturant screaming and carrying on. Yet if an Autistic child shows the same behaviour, it's a major issue.

    How about parents of NT children get off their high horse, and realize they have to teach their children to behave. Until they do that, they have absolutely no right to complain about someone else's child misbehaving.

    By Blogger violet_yoshi, at 5:51 AM  

  • i don't believe when "bullet" said that she wouldn't change her son being autistic, that's a bunch of bs. since there's isn't a cure she can say that. if there was a magic pill to cure autism whoever invented it would be rich. also it annoys me when anyone is obnoxious in a restaurant not just autistic kids.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:13 PM  

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