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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Writer/Curator/Founder of The Autism Acceptance Project. Contributing Author to Between Interruptions: Thirty Women Tell the Truth About Motherhood, and Concepts of Normality by Wendy Lawson, and soon to be published Gravity Pulls You In. Writing my own book. Lecturer on autism and the media and parenting. Current graduate student Critical Disability Studies and most importantly, mother of Adam -- a new and emerging writer.

“There is no hope unmingled with fear, and no fear unmingled with hope.” -- Baruch Spinoza

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


We Are All People First

A Credo For Suppport (Spoken Version)

An Excerpt of a story written by a father of a Down's Syndrome girl:

[at the birth of their child]"The masked pediatrician finished his sentence. Abruptly, he turned and left the room. Two nurses began to sob. I looked at Jonna. She looked at me.

Thus began our wrenching, happy, challenging, humanizing, angry, crusading, broadening, rejoicing, proud adventure in parenting a child with a developmental disability. Over the past then years, we have learned that there is very little wrong with our daughter. but a great deal wrong with the culture into which she was born.

As for so many other families of children with disabilities, our first experience was in 'medical' enviornment. It took us a while to realize that the 'medical' environment thinks about children with disabilities using a 'medical' model -- a model that teaches parents to think of their child as sick. Subtle and not-so-subtle messages tell parents to do everything they can to make their child more 'normal.'

Several years ago, on the advice of a medical professional, we went to see a specialist who dealt with issues of growth. We were concerned that Elenor was too small, and we wanted to know what we could do to make her taller. In other words we wanted to subject her to growth hormones in an effort to make her look more 'normal.'

What we learned was that she is in the fiftieth percentile for girls her age with Down Syndrome. How much more normal could she be?" --From The Perfect Daughter, by Michael T. Baily, from anthology: You Will Dream New Dreams: Inspiring Personal Stories by Parents of Children with Disabilities.

Autism has been around for hundreds of years. Only since 1943, and then again, not until 1980, did we pay attention to this "new" diagnosis, which is really just a better awareness. Luckily, as more children and adults become identified, we CAN produce better opportunities that understand the learning potential and abilities of every autistic person. Horrifically, society and parents who continue to insist their children are terribly ill, can continue to propulgate the fate that was once bestowed upon people with disabilities in the past: stigma, segregation and stereotyping and worse.


If Dr.Wendy Roberts, the very person some of you stake your cures on says, "we will never find a cure for autism," then we should listen. There is no cure for many differences of the human condition. We must cure society of it's naivite and help our children get the supports and opportunities they deserve. We must invest in learning to understand autism even better than we do today, and we must consider how much society can drive science to appease our desperation.


Blogger mcewen said...

Don't be desperate. People are listening.

11:13 AM  

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