Tuesday, October 23, 2012
The Epidemic of Autism
In general, I feel that I'm more "easy-going" than many of my colleagues on the spectrum in that the language of autism generally doesn't faze me.
There is however one phrase which really "gets my goat". It's "the epidemic of autism". There is so much fear, inaccuracy and segregation hidden in this phrase that it passes through all of my barriers and actually manages to offend me.
First of all, there's the negativity associated with comparing autism with a plague. An association which brings to mind words like; avoidance, quarantine, cure and eradication.
Then there's the concept of rapid and uncontrolled spread, suggesting that autism is a new "disease" which has only recently appeared and is "spreading like wildfire".
All of these concepts do damage to the work of autism advocacy and to the support networks of children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders. They build on the concept of fear and target those who need our help.
Unfortunately, fear is a common tactic employed by some "autism organisations" and political platforms as a means of increasing revenue or votes.
If you hear this language being used, please take steps to correct the speaker. After all, if autism is part of your world, you need to advocate as well as care.