Friday, January 20, 2012

A Rose by Any Other Name

The autism community is abuzz about this article from the NY Times today. 

Basically, a narrowing of what it means to have autism is being proposed.  Many who currently fall onto the autism spectrum due to their diagnosis of Asperger's or PDD-NOS could find themselves excluded.  The new criteria would greatly reduce the rate of autism, the "epidemic" would come to an end.

My child has officially had autism for three years now, but if these changes go through, he may no longer fit the bill.

My boy will remain the same boy he is now, nothing but the label would change.

But there is a lot more at stake here than a war of words.  We would lose our solidarity.  Being part of the autism community means something.  It means you know where to go to seek support or understanding.  It allows you to understand better your family member, your loved one, or even yourself.  For many, stripping away the label may mean a loss of services, supports, or understaning. 

Taking the label from a person will not strip them of their disability.

Taking away their access to services will not strip them from their needs.

Autism is real.  The surge of autism is real.  The needs of this group of individuals and their families are very real too.  Changing the criteria is not going to change reality.

Has the medical community lost hope?  Trying to diminish the truth of autism and its prevalance seems to me akin to sticking their head in the sand.  They`re confused by it, it is an enigma, but changing around words to make the √¨ssues seem less than they are isn`t going to change anything.

Accept it, we have.

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