Once again, I read a news story with headlines like “WOW! Cure your kid with this hocus-pocus crap!“
Okay, so that’s not the real headline, but that’s what this headline says to me. “Nasal spray offers scent of autism remedy” (actual headline). I’m not linking to the article with that title because it’s an Examiner article, and well, we all know they just want the pageviews so they make up crazy stupid headlines like that to get clicks.
The ACTUAL story is this one – “Nasal spray may be able to help autistic children“ Funny how just the wording makes all the difference as to my emotions towards the article and whether or not I’ll get pissy and turn to the interwebz.
Here is the deal. I don’t want to “cure” my child of autism.
What I do want is for society in general to stop labeling kids/people because of their differences.
Hey, a girl can dream right?!
Take me, for example. I have flaming red hair. I got teased and mocked as a child to the point I was dying my hair in high school to cover up the fact I was “different”. Now? I love it. Embrace it! My middle son has hair that, he says, isn’t even red, it’s Orange! He’s proud of it! Loves it! Then we watch an old episode of Scrubs (LOVE, btw) and the main girl, Elliot, has a fear of red-headed boys and I now have to explain to my son that it was just a joke, but he doesn’t get it and is saddened someone would be fearful of him just because of his hair color.
Just the other night on a new show The New Normal (also love!) they are trying to have a baby and worried about spina bifida and other genetic issues and one of their fears for the child is that it will have red hair and go on to say red heads are the devil. Now I’ll still watch the show, but comments like that hurt.
Back to autism…
So now it apparently is “all the rage” to be autistic. I have had some people say it’s “The new ADHD, every kid will get diagnosed with it.” Wow. Really? Every kid? Huh. Now that you say that, I hope it’s true, because only then will people become more accepting of it.
I’ve had people tell me, “But he doesn’t LOOK autistic.” Again, wow. What does an autistic kid look like then?
“But he makes eye contact, so he must have something else.” Well, eye contact is only one of the many markers of autism and he makes eye contact because he’s been getting 20+ hours of therapy a week since he was 14 months old. We’ve worked damn hard for that eye contact thankyouverymuch.
“Hey, did you see the study of [insert crappy viral article here] that will cure your kid of his autism?!” Thanks, but no thanks. Again, I don’t want to “cure” him. He’s perfect the way he is. Yes, we are doing therapy to help him function more “normally” but for my son that means teaching how to talk or go down stairs unassisted or run without falling or even as simple as to how to chew and swallow food.
Not every autistic kid is the same. Nor should they be.
So please, if you are talking to a family of a kid who you perceive as “awkward” or “not normal”, don’t be so quick to label them. I’m sure their parents love that child wholeheartedly and don’t really care what you think of him/her.