There are so many ignorant comments on here with regard to autism, it staggers the mind. Autism is a very real neurological disorder, not a behavior issue. It affects many parts of a person's life from speech, to fine and gross motor abilities, to cognitive delays and difficulties, to anxiety and depressive disorders. Anyone who thinks it is an exaggerated or invented "category" in which to place kids who are a disappointment to parents is an absolute idiot. Sorry for the candor, but no other words that are publishable will suffice. My daughter, who has autism, is a joy to me and all around her. She is the farthest thing from a disappointment. However, she has many very real challenges with which to contend. The responses to this ill-conceived column reveal how great the need for autism awareness and understanding really is. The need is tremendous. What do you think now Mat Catastrophe?????
I understand your position on poverty and the way we as a society ignore it. However, to take issue with Autism Awareness is just plain mean-spirited. People with autism are some of the most vulnerable in society throughout their lives. Historically they have been institutionalized, marginalized, abused, and seen as less than fully human. It serves no purpose to pit one cause against another, other than to undermine the cause you are critiquing as less worthy. The number of people affected is not the issue; it is the tremendous pain and discrimination those with autism face that matters. That is why people want to raise awareness and help destroy harmful stereotypes. By the way, many families who have children with autism are poor because caring for a disabled child is expensive, exhausting, and time-consuming, and the programs that were once available to help are rapidly disappearing. The two issues are quite linked, if you look at them realistically. I see no benefit to your position, other than to provoke resentment against those with autism and their families.
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