These are my thoughts on Autism Speaks thinking they stand up for autism, and all the parents who think they have disabled and ruined children on their hands. I'm going to skip straight to the heart of what the emotional hangup is about.
Crying isn't the bad part. It's when they get quiet that's bad. We think it's good because we finally get relief from noise, but kids are supposed to cry out when they're in danger or uncomfortable or frightened. Teaching them to shut up when they most need protection or solace or understanding and comfort isn't any different from brainwashing adults to keep silent when they should most be speaking up. Children who go quiet isn't the answer to socialization and civilization.
Autie kids, while disruptive, can be the easiest kids in the world to shut up and shut down. They can easily be sexually taken advantage of because they learn very quickly to shut down on cue. I was not abused in this way, but I took loads of other tortures and abuses from people all around me dealing with social pressures, mental illnesses, and abusive situations themselves. Adults who want children to 'behave' and act 'normal' on cue need to take a good hard look at themselves and ask why it's so important to mold aberrant brain patterns into a standardized mold.
My generation (I'm the last of the baby boomers) has been fighting quid pro quo and assembly line humans since the mid 1900s, and the babies of our babies are growing up and not remembering or understanding how long, hard, and difficult that was. The freedoms and human dignity we have gained so far (and we're still a long way from the goal) are taken for granted now by the people who don't like having children who think and behave differently than they do. If we aren't careful, we will wind up on the cusp of flipping back into a militant society hellbent on standardization. Guys, my generation went through lobotomies. Your generation wants to wipe autism *out*. Is that any different from wanting to wipe a race of people off the planet?
The cure is kindness. The solution is embracing differences and variety as part of a holistic body and mind of souls.
The last great hurrah on this planet is up against filthied oceans, worldwide nuclear threats, and terrorists. I don't know about you all, but I think it's time y'all stepped aside and let us autistics get all over the problem solving. Because that's what we do. That's what our brains seem to be made for. And maybe, just maybe the reason a wave of us is washing over the planet right now is because this is our last chance to get things right before it all goes down the drain.
So you have a tough day/night, month, year with your kid. So life is hard. You might just have the next world leader or physicist on your hands. You might just be raising that person who figures out the problem with the education system, or at the very least, winds up being very useful in medical administration. You. Do. Not. Know. That. Your. Child. Is. Ruined. Do not decide that your child is a problem for you, because YOU ARE CHOOSING TO CREATE THAT IDEA.
We all want superheroes in our lives. Well, isn't that what parents ultimately are supposed to be? We are the ones who fight the fight and save the day for the helpless and weak. Making your child's life tougher when he/she is tiny just because that kid isn't what you expected won't help at all.
I know this is vague and agitating and you think I don't understand your special circumstances. What if you could hear what your child is thinking 30 or 40 years from now? What if you could jump forward in time and see how your kid turned out? Because I am that kid. I was a difficult child, and that's putting it pretty mildly. I don't recall a day of my entire childhood where I felt content and happy. Not one day. Not a single day. Because there wasn't anything I could do, even when I tried, to live up to the expectations around me. Because I lived with, every single day, the idea that there was something horribly wrong with me. Because every day I believed my parents didn't love me at all, and since that fed into a cycle of misinterpretations and drastic misunderstandings, they had no idea I even cared.
I can't be standardized. I'm one of those kids that could never stay out of trouble until I learned to simply just shut up and don't move around other people. That took a long time. And then it took an even longer time to learn how to start really talking to people again, how to trust someone to care, how to believe they actually really cared. Why? Because my life was such an epic fail at being human. Every single day of my childhood I was reminded that I wasn't doing something right, I wasn't thinking right, I wasn't behaving right, and I didn't look right. I spent an entire childhood stuffing down how ugly I felt all the time, how much I believed everyone hated me, and how angry and hurt I felt for years and years and years.
The way you 'stand up for' your autistic kid makes a huge difference. You wanna fix all these kids? Go. to. hell. If you can't love your child simply just to love it, the way people love dogs and cats no matter how messed up or ugly they are or how awful they behave, then you suck and deserve a child that at the very least doesn't just cave into playing dress up and dolly for you, smiling on cue to make you feel good, saying I love you to make you feel worth something. If that is why you feel like your child is ruined, maybe you need to take a long look inside your heart.
I understand special needs kids do need special considerations, and that this can be very exhausting for parents. I am an autistic person who raised a full blown ADHD step child with severe insomnia, audio processing problems, compulsive behaviors, and turns out to be the very model of work ethic and model parent, so chew on that one. Total opposite of me as a child and you know what? It was hard, but I've never regretted her existence in my life. I saw a tiny lonely person who kept getting in trouble and I stepped up as her human shield. I couldn't help it after the way I grew up.
I loathe that we feel the need to have awareness months. I think we need to have a humans need love in general awareness month. How about a 'mindfully kind' day where we focus on all the ways we rush past each other all pissed off. You wanna cure autism? Cure yourselves first.