First of all, a dire warning… this is gonna be a political post!
That’s right folks, sharpen your pitchforks, and call that one guy with the wheelbarrow full of tomatoes who somehow makes it to every political rally. And now, a word from our sponsor:
To market to market went my brother Jim,
Somebody chucked a tomato at him,
Tomatoes are soft and they don’t bruise the skin,
But this one killed Jim,
It was wrapped in a tin.
And we’re back! I shall endeavor to keep this from getting as dry as a camel’s scrotum, but with politics, that’s a tall order, so
Within the sphere of autism advocacy there’s a lot of conflicting views; the most notable is perhaps one I’ve alluded to many times, the issue of whether it should be treated as a disability. This branches off into a wide array of touchy issues, that tend to polarize people; pre-natal testing, medication, etc.
Healthy discussion of these issues is a good thing. It gets a bit thorny, however, when lines in the sand start being drawn in the sand; you’re with us or against us, it’s us vs them. This approach tends to drown out nuance beneath generalizations and absolutes.
Many people who are on the spectrum find it insulting to be referred to as disabled, yet many others feel that their difficulties should be acknowledged, that it is unfair to ignore the challenges they face. Similarly, while some oppose medication and other forms of therapy because it implies curing a disease, for others medicinal assistance allows them to function at school or in the workplace where they might otherwise be overwhelmed.
Here’s my issue; why the need for mutual exclusivity? Why can’t we acknowledge that many people with autism have it tough, but at the same time highlight the condition’s many positive attributes? Why can’t be explore both medical and sociological solutions to the challenges that can come with autism? Why can’t we help people with autism to adapt to society, and help society to accommodate people with autism?
I think some people are too eager to turn this into an ideological war when it doesn’t have to be.
Personally, as I’ve said countless times, I believe that autism is a matter of being differently abled, rather than disabled. But at the same time, I think medical intervention can be an invaluable aid in coping with its more difficult aspects. I don’t see this as hypocrisy, because I don’t see why I should have to “pick a side”.
I don’t see it as sitting on the fence either; my goal is to tear the fence down.