My Photo
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

Monday, December 17, 2007


Autism isn't holding us for ransom here

Thanks, Dinah Murray, for illustrating the hideous marketing from NYU Child Study Center in the video below.

Thank goodness I've got my son, and not them and not whatever they claim to have "kidnapped" him, cause it sure doesn't look like the Autism we know. You see, autism around here looks normal to us. It looks friendly, it still learns and grows, and it makes our family happy when it smiles. It's learning to type, it's learning to swim, it goes to school with other children and it seems quite happy there. It likes to travel and tends to speak more when relaxed and seeing new things. It likes to jump and likes to run and is just learning to ride a two-wheel bike. It likes to play musical instruments and likes to coordinate its beat with its music teacher. It reads signs well and is learning about dangerous things. It sure doesn't look like it's holding anyone for ransom here. Our son knows he's different, even if he doesn't know who your Autism is, and it's only what you make of it that he will be fully aware of. You can choose. You can tell my son that Autism is holding him for ransom or you can tell him that he's free to choose what he wants and he's alive, and beautiful and we are all here to help him succeed.

Please sign the petition Dinah makes reference to here.

Please read yesterday's post Pity: It's 100% Curable just previous to this post to contrast videos and campaigns.


Blogger farmwifetwo said...

My autism(s) plural had a wonderful time toboganning in the backyard today. Their Mother is exhausted... :)

Granted the elder.. is going batty and taking his Mother with him.. thank goodness school buses will run tomorrow.

My eldest zips on his 2-wheeler all over the farm and we're off to Scouts tonight.

The little one prefers the playground and won't even sit on a bike. But all the other accomplishments you mentioned.. he is learning as well. He starts gymnastics on Jan 5th. He's going to LOVE it. He's also going to start private speech therapy after Xmas... where am I to fit in the piano lessons...??? He loves his electronic piano.


3:30 PM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

I have signed the petition, but I want to thank you for writing this blog. I agree with you.

4:27 PM  
Anonymous -Brian- said...

This petition is is dire contrast (the worst I've seen in my life) with a message from a parent of an autistic kid, in the article: "I Don't Love You", in The Autism Perspective online magazine, P. 23:

"Well guess what, autism? I don't love you either. In fact, I hate you to the depths of my soul. How dare you take my child away from me, make his life so hard, make me the one who has to do things he hates, make him afraid of his world, take away his joy and mine? How dare you give those words ["I don't love you"] to my child? How dare you fog his mind so that he cannot understand what love really is? How dare you blurry his ability to see a person's reaction to his behavior? How dare you?"

It's as if everything in the world, today (and always) must be personified as a human. When a parent becomes depressed (as is bound to happen), does that parent speak such language towards depression, itself? And what about all the other health issues, including headaches or bruises that we all get? Are we to speak to that ache as though it was a person destroying our lives, and ask it "How dare you?".

That's were humility comes into play, and it appears that neither this parent (who wrote the article) nor Dr. Koplewicz have experienced what humility is, and have never had a very humbling experience in their personal lives; otherwise, they would not be addressing autism or any other disability with such vengeance and horror.

Once these individuals have had that humbling experience, they will see the "silver lining" in the "dark clouds", and come to realize what a blessing autism (and all the other phases of the autistic spectrum) really are to them, as humans, now and in the future...

5:34 PM  
Blogger farmwifetwo said...

There are days I'd LOVE to wish the "autism" and all it's mess away... the numerous appointments.. nagging at professionals and teachers... To wish I still didn't have to remind an 8 yr old to use the toilet or a 6 year old I wish that did...

That's human. Autism.. is exhausting on a parent. That is why you need to care for the caregiver as much as the one receiving care. "If Mama isn't happy, nobody is happy" is very true.

But to blame my children.. to wish them away or to be something they are not... That's selfish... they aren't to blame.

S. - who's going back to the living room to snuggle a little boy.. even if he doesn't say he loves me in words. The elder HATES to be helf - severe claustrophobia - just the way it is.

7:23 PM  
Anonymous -Brian- said...

No, children are not to blame, and neither are parents, but the same applies to autism--it is not, in any way, to "blame" for any event, occurance or whatever.

If a child was born black, and had problems falling asleep, the parent could say that it is exhausting, which is true, and that the child is not to blame, which, again would be true, but to blame the problem on the skin of the child is just trying to find a "scapegoat" to "blame" the problem on--i.e., to "vent". The same is true for people who blame "autism" for the problems before them--they are just looking for a scapegoat to blame for the problems before them.

Blame, itself, serves no useful purpose, despite those who defend it by saying that it is only "human", as blame is just an emotional response to an event by a person who demands that the "cause and effect" premise be used on everything.

According to that premise, if a child says to his mother, "I don't love you," there has to be a cause, whereas, if the child says, "I love you," the mother would never imagine herself searching for a "cause" of such a statement, and therefore, not in the mood of blaming something or someone for what occurred.

Why is "cause-and-effect" (and, likewise, blame) always brought up when there are problems, but not raised when people experience pure joy? That's what the joy of autism is all about--not trying to make autism the "cause" of the problems (i.e., the "effect"). When people perceive pure joy, there is no motivation to search for a "cause".

8:54 PM  
Blogger farmwifetwo said...

A child doesn't need to tell you he loves you... all he needs to do is learn that you love him....

Took me 6mths to get my little boy to let me read him a story... 6mths of me moving closer and closer to him when he had a toy/book in his hand.

Now I get "story time", "Mommy read" and he's snuggled in my lap. He's a lazy reader, like most children he'd rather be read too, so he reads one page and I read the next. He just turned 6.

Who needs the words??? Maybe a parent just needs to pay more attention to what isn't being said.

Casting blame, being upset makes you ill. I have been ill once, not out of blame of the Autism, but dealing with the system (trying to get my eldest properly dx'd, IBI/ABA, school - different administration etc)... I'm not going there again. I like my blood pressure where it is, without meds.

What is normal anyways???


9:12 AM  
Blogger Casdok said...

Well said! Lovely post.

11:47 AM  
Blogger Julee said...

I saw a comment post of yours on another blog talking about how you dropped ABA and moved to a different approach. I am the mother of a 2 year old boy who is getting overwhelmed learning in this drill type setting. He has come so far and I want to pull him out of ABA and let him enjoy life and learn in a more natural way. Do you have any advice? Is there a specific program or method you switched to?

2:35 AM  
Blogger Estee Klar-Wolfond said...


With all due respect, I don't give advice because I believe you will find your own way and that everyone has to. Lord knows there are enough "experts" out there vying for your money.

I will only speak for myself and our situation here, which is unique to us. Adam benefitted from a lot of play, music, going out a lot (keep at it even if transitions seem difficult at first). I think I took what I learned from various "methods" and culled from that what Adam enjoyed and learned from.

9:27 AM  
Blogger accwa said...

I'm starting this group to connect with other Toronto parents of children who are living with Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

If you are interested in joining, or if you know other Toronto parents and kids, please pass this along!

Toronto West ASD Parents Group -

10:16 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home