...and poor parenting skills.
An article on the so-called Autism Epidemic.
This is exactly what happens when someone manages to evoke political action, and get excessive taxpayer funding, and mobilize it in the "fight" against a perceived-but-not-all-that-prevalent a problem: you suddenly get more of it.
Let’s face it: probably somewhere in the area of 70% (the article says half, but I think that’s conservative) of the kids diagnosed with autism these days (including the more-nebulous diagnosis of “autism spectrum syndromes” -- we’ve diagnosed autism “down”, nowadays, so to speak) are probably just fine, if stupid, or just obsessed over by nervous parents with no common sense. Usually the sort of parents who find it strange that their three-year old isn’t speaking fluent French and splitting atoms using common household appliances in his spare time.
You know the type; They’re usually a mated pair of clueless douchebags with Master’s Degrees, and a rather all-too-high opinion of themselves.
The problem isn’t always autism: it’s the often unrealistic expectations sometimes put on children by parents who value them more for their trophy qualities than they do their humanity.
There’s also plenty of self-interested people in the medical and educational realm who are quick to label a kid “autistic” because there’s a great deal of money involved, regardless of whether or not there is any autism to be found. In my opinion, these people are no better – and often a fair sight worse – than those ambulance chasing attorneys who insist that obstetricians “give” children Cerebral Palsy at birth. Add to this mix a parent who couldn’t find her own ass (it’s usually a “her”) with both hands and a compass, eager to be absolved of all responsibility for having raised a “slow” child (or a complete idiot), a politician who has to "do something" in order to remind people s/he is alive without snagging a corruption charge, and a cottage industry is born.
In the meantime, people who really are autistic get the short end of the stick, because money that could be going to treat them, or help their families, is instead going to the preternaturally dumb-as-a-fucking-stump progeny of your typical, clueless, suburban hausfrau -- who worries her son’s chronic nosepicking and inability to color inside the lines is the harbinger of some deadly malady. It has to be: she couldn’t possibly have bad parenting skills and unrealistic expectations for a child she spends as little time with as possible, could she?
And it’s become a malady for which she -- not the child, mind you -- somehow gets beatified for “dealing” with, and held in higher esteem by this piss-poor, drooling moron, victimhood society of ours.
What a load of bullshit.
I happen to know actual, real-life autistic folks -- both children and adults -- and the fact of the matter is every last one of them is probably smarter than any woman who watches The View, believes Oprah is the patron saint of conspicuous consumption, and who drags her kid off for mental health and genetic testing the second the little bastard doesn’t excel at something he really shouldn’t excel at.
I am a firm believer in the maxim that we’d still be living in caves and gathering fallen fruit if it hadn’t been for some autistic dude sitting in the back of that cave for hours on end obsessively trying to flake a piece of flint just so. They’re just different than we are, not sick.
Of the four “autistic” people that I know personally, one has a Master’s Degree in Chemistry and teaches the same, another has a PhD in Mathematics, the third runs a successful Real Estate business (is married and has children of her own, too, and they're all in college) and the fourth is a 7-year-old boy who seems perfectly capable of doing anything he wishes to, except speak. Probably because he doesn’t want to, and if you knew his parents you might agree with his point of view.
Then again, that child never had to speak: Mommy always completed his sentences and more-or-less correctly divined the gestures and grunts of his toddler years for him, anyway. He's always gotten his way from an easy-to-manipulate set of parents without ever having to speak a word.
Parents, and other adults, who behave in this fashion and then impose the consequences of their panicked behavior upon their children when there is no legitimate reason to do so, are doing those children grave harm. At the same time, they're also hurting people who really could use some help. This is child abuse, and it needs to stop.