There's been a lot of talk about acceptance lately. Let me just share something that really ticks me off. The magazine Scientific American Reports has a special issue on child development. In this edition, they discuss things like child development, Downs syndrome, and of course, Autism.
First, check out the titles of the Articles:
The Downs syndrome article is called Just a Bit Different.
The Autism article is called Broken Mirrors.
In the articles...
Downs syndrome is described: People with Down syndrome don't "suffer" from their disorder- only from bad treatment by others.
Autism: Some children may not be "doomed at birth"; some children have a genetic predisposition, and something in their environment triggers the disorder.
And we wonder why people are so afraid of Autism? Why they feel so sorry for our kids?
Well hey- didn't you know your kid is DOOMED?
Sorry, I didn't realize that. I wonder if Jaysen knows.
Should I tell him before or after dinner?
There was of course the overtone that these children are suffering, that they are empty, with no hope, and if you don't receive early intervention, your kid is doomed to a non fulfilling life-
"By the time a child is three or four, deficits can still be reduced, but fundamental changes are no longer possible, because the critical period during which speech develops, has passed by."
So which is it? Three or four? I need to know! What if I miss that opportunity? I want my kid to be smarter than mashed potatoes! What happens if I read this article, and my child is six? Crap! I missed it!
There were some other things in the article though, that of course I had a smart-assed laugh at-
Children's brain activity stayed the same when they were asked to perform an activity. Their brain activity increased when they observed another person doing the same activity on a video. I thought that was hysterical. Did you catch that? On a video! Hey- maybe brain activity increased because it was on a video?! If the kids were anything like Jaysen, video is the magic word! His brain activity would increase as soon as he saw the television, just in anticipation of a video.
I'm not downplaying Downs syndrome, I just find it interesting, the different exposures of the two disabilities. One definitely is presented in a light of hope and encouragement, of social acceptance and promise. The other is presented in a light of desperation, and inadequacy.
That's all for now, I have to go make a bunch of big black A's to sew on all of Jaysen's shirts.