On Tuesday a family in Ottawa, Ontario in Canada took their son to the local Social Development office and handed him over to the government because they were no longer able to care for him. Their son is autistic, is a huge flight risk, needing almost constant surveillance and functions on the level of a three year old.
Days later another mother from Ontario is suggesting she may be required to do the same thing with her autistic daughter who functions on the level of a two year old. Another mother is questioning what will happen when her son is no longer allowed to attend school because of his age.
This is the side of the Autistic Community that is unfortunately getting left out of many equations. With the increase in the number of diagnoses in the area of high functioning autism, many on the aspergers sector of the spectrum, those who are on the extreme low end of the autism spectrum are not getting the services they need.
There are deep divisions within the autistic community. Those divisions run along several lines. One of those lines is the question of vaccine damage vs no vaccine damage. Another one is along the lines of the need to cure autism. A further one is the neccessity of treating autism at all etc. And these are all taking place within the autistic community.
These divisions are largely created by the size and scope of the autistic spectrum, It is also caused by the fact that those on the spectrum themselves that actually can speak for themselves are generally quite happy with themselves as they are and do not see the need for any research into causes and cures, or even treatment feeling instead that to research into these areas implies that they are is some way damaged and need change. For themselves they are likely right. The problem is that the group who can not speak for themselves and require almost constant care to meet the daily requirements of daily living or even the basics of safety are drowned out because they can not speak for themselves and the parents and advocates for them are often dismissed because they do not have autism themselves.
I have often suggested that the best comparison to autism is cancer, not because of it’s fatality rate (autism itself is not fatal in any way) but in the vast differences that are seen in it’s various forms. Breast cancer, prostrate cancer, Leukemia, Lung Cancer, Skin Cancer and various other cancers are all researched and treated separately. This is done because they are all different, have different causes, and in many cases have different “cures” depending on the severity and type of cancer involved.
Until we within the autistic community start to realize that autism needs to be looked at completely and honestly from all perspectives, and that each segment of the autistic community needs to be researched separately, that there are likely far more then one single cause of autism and that there are likely far more then one single cure and/or treatment required we will not progress towards fixing what is starting to look like an epidemic that could slowly grow into uncontrollable levels.
We need to recognize that some need more care then others, that what helps one autistic individual may actually have an adverse affect on another and that we can not keep ignoring those who need the most help.
We as a community need to start to develop a single solid push to get things accomplished instead of pulling a half dozen different ways or more and not getting any attention because we are so easy to ignore simply by playing one group against another. Those who need treatment, help and longterm care deserve to be able to access it. Those who do not feel the need do not have to use those services if they are capable and happy in the level they function.