Okay, so I got a bunch of e-mails yesterday (I can't reproduce many of them) about my post on Autism. Most of the responders were frightened by my stunning ignorance on the subject. How dare I say that some diagnoses of Autism are fake? How dare I say that the recent upsurge in the number of cases are really not indicative of a rise in numbers of actual Autistics? How dare I say that if you have an Autistic child that you are a bad parent?
Hey, slow down. First, I never claimed to be an expert. I'm only telling you what I have seen, witnessed and experienced, personally, and that is;
a) There are people who are truly autistic, they need help and support that comes from loving parents, families and healthcare providers who see them as people first, not guinea pigs for supposed Wonder Cures based on faulty science, and of questionable value. They are people, too, you know.
b) There are far more ignorant people claiming their child is autistic because they are poor parents, or they can't bring themselves to face the (personal) shame and embarrassment of having given birth to a genetic mess (why this should be an embarrassment is beyond me), or, they simply can't face the fact that their child may, indeed, have issues; but correcting those issues requires an effort on their part. They'd rather just spend money, and wear the badge of courage (and get the pass) that having a hopelessly 'afflicted' child is supposed to bring you in our greater society. In the meantime, the children suffer horribly, both the truly autistic and those only deemed slightly-autistic-like.
c) There is a tendency, because the problem is more prevalent than it previously was, to diagnose autism in people who show some symptoms (like late talkers, preference for solitude, in some cases seizures or reactions to light) which might appear to be Autism, but in many cases, are indicative of another illness entirely. Because Autism is front-and-center in every one's mind, when a child displays one or more of these symptoms, they are more likely to be labeled Autistic without a more thorough examination, or without eliminating other possibilities before making that diagnosis.
d) The Medical Establishment has a vested interest in finding autism everywhere...ever since the "Awareness" crowd brought it to the government's attention and there's scads of taxpayer money being thrown at it. That's the one problem I have always had with "Awareness" groups; I can promise you that people who have the affliction are aware of it, their families are aware of it, too. So are the physicians and scientists who treat them. The illnesses you champion are not secrets. All you do with your so-called advocacy is to attract the attention of Congress, and all they ever do is throw money at problems. When that much money is floating around devoted to a specific problem, then guess what? That specific problem turns out to be more widespread than was previously know. Why? Because who wants to work for money when you can just get a federal grant that has no strings attached, no oversight, no enforcement provisions, and with no requirement for an actual result to be achieved?
And in the meantime, people who are in need get shafted, and people who aren't afflicted are treated as if they are, and their lives are often irrevocably fucked up because of it.
No, I'm not an expert on Autism, but I do know what I have read and experienced.
And some of you need to work on your reading comprehension.