It's taken me five years but I've come to the realization that I want you to ask me questions about Autism.
I want your inane, ill informed, insensitive and bizarre questions. BRING THEM ON. It's because, honestly, there is so much bad information out there, so much damned misunderstanding thanks to the media and the RAIN MAN and anything else you can think of, that I've decided I want to answer all of the questions. I'll tell you the truth. You might not like the truth, but unlike Jack Nicholson, I think you can handle it.
Some questions you should ask, if you don't know the answer:
- So how'd they get Autism? I don't really know. No one does. More and more it seems like it might be genetic but again, no one really knows.
- How long will they be like that? Forever. Or not. Again, no one knows.
- So how do they fix that? They don't. They don't fix it. They try to help us and them learn to work around it and work through it, but there's no fixing Autism, no matter what Jenny McCarthy says.
- I heard Jenny McCarthy say..... is that true?: To anything with her name on it, no she's an idiot. Even if she happened to be right, no she's an idiot.
- Do ya'll go to church and pray over it a lot? No. Next question.
- Why don't they know what causes it? It's probably because it's not just one thing, or because it doesn't act the same way person to person. It's similar, but not the same in each person. That's why it's referred to as a spectrum.
- Do you all do those special diets to cure it? No. Special diets don't cure Autism. What they can do is alleviate secondary side allergies, food sensitivities that go along WITH Autism. However, it also seems that these food allergies and sensitivities might be more common in the regular population than we realize and we simply have the luxury of communicating about it. Autistic children just eat what they are fed, if they like it, whether or not they should.
- Why are they both autistic? My guess? Genetics. But could've been something that happened in-utero, something poison and toxic to them I ate, or drank. No one knows.
- How do you do it? I could never deal with that. Of course you could. They hand you babies after hours of labor. You love them instantly and completely. That doesn't stop when you find out they aren't "right". That doesn't stop through the years before diagnosis that you have that nagging feeling something is off and you don't know what.
- Did you see this show/that show/the other show about person XYZ with Autism? The answer to this will almost always be no. And it's not that I don't appreciate you sharing with me, it's that Autism isn't something I want to watch shows about or movies about. I can't escape it, not at work, not when I travel, not when I'm at lunch alone - it's on my mind, if not being actively influential in everything in my world. It's 7:17 am and there is a 9 year old Autistic boy behind me singing 1-20, over and over and over. It's been going on since 6:50. So, no, I don't watch shows about it. If I am watching a show I want to be entertained or educated. I'm already educated as hell on Autism.
These are a short list of the few questions I've been asked recently. Everyone knows someone with an autistic kid. Everyone.
That should bother you. Does everyone know someone with a Down's Syndrome kid? Nope. One in 88 children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. 12 out of 10,000 are born with Down's Syndrome.
One in 88.
So please ask your questions. Ask them all. LEARN about it. Understand it. Because the only thing I can be pretty sure of, is that it's going to effect you in some way, you or someone you love. Do the math.