Attacking the child went beyond the pale-- he is not a public figure, and does not deserve public ridicule, especially in wild speculation. This did not come off as funny or intelligent-- just low brow and nasty.
Autism awareness efforts are much of the reason my son will be unlikely to end up in poverty. Because of the greater understanding of "The Spectrum" by the general public and our social institutions in the past two decades, attitudes and practices have changed-- from "weirdo" to "just needs a little patience and understanding", from unteachable to mainstreamed, from isolated to included.
Just sharing the diagnosis caused an instant change in the way my son was received-- from rolled eyes to caring smile, from avoidance to embracing acceptance. People believe in his potential, and give him a chance to prove it. He has a checking account, a driver's permit, and every intention to attend college after graduation, which is two years away for him. Every summer, he goes on mission trips to help those less fortunate(!) than he. Because of autism awareness, NO ONE believes he can't or shouldn't do any of these things. He is currently seeking employment, and has every reason to be optimistic-- autism awareness gives him a chance to demonstrate what a loyal, hard-working team player he can be.
My child's autism is not something he can rise above or pull himself out of. There is no choice he can make that will release him from it. he must work within its confines every day, but at least those confines are no longer a reason for others to marginalize him. Because of autism awareness, hands reach out to help him instead of push him away. His opportunities and future are limited only by his willingness and capabilities, just like anyone else.
Autism awareness is just about all those "on the spectrum" have in the way of aid, and many live in single-income families precisely because of their special needs. That is the case in our family. There was very little help from insurance to pay for much needed therapy, and many hoops to jump through to receive non-profit help,
so we learned to do it ourselves. Living "on the spectrum" doesn't qualify for special housing rates, or food stamps, or Medicaid, so the budget has to be very tight. I'm not insinuating that the government should be responsible for these things-- I am responsible for the children I bring into this world. All I ask is that they be treated fairly, and autism awareness increases the likelihood of that happening. Think of it as welfare that actually effects positive change, and doesn't cost the taxpayer one red cent.
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