Having an autistic child is not the end of the world--far from it. It is my hope that through this blog, at least a handful of people will get to understand that. My child is amazing, she brings us tremendous joy. We have good days & bad days, but we CHOOSE to focus on the good. Our belief is that by loving our daughter, giving her the most comfortable environment we can, and by most of all accepting her differences, she will continue to blossom--in her OWN way.

9/6/06

Beautiful (But Not Fantastic) Son

I was reading mom26children's What Are They Thinking? blog (please check it out!!) & she mentioned the link for a new documentary, Beautiful Son. From what she wrote, I knew it was most likely not what I hoped it might be--you know, something positive about Autism. Being very curious though, I visited the site. It is, by the way, a wonderful name for a website & documentary about one's child. However, after visiting the site a bit longer, I realized that was one of the few wonderful things about all this.

I looked at their links, which included (surprise, surprise) DAN!, Cure Autism Now, Moms Against Mercury, & many more. Ah-huh...I pretty much got the idea of where this whole project was going. But, still being curious, I watched the trailer.

It was not entirely what I expected, in that they did not show any propagandistic tantrums, violence, chaos, etc. They showed an adorable boy & seemingly well-meaning family. Then came the interview with the father. He spoke of how bright his son seemed, how great his personality was, how he was" just going to grow up into a fantastic boy...and everything changed."

The trailer continues, showing the parents attending their first DAN! conference. The first person they met there was a mom who 'recovered' her daughter. My head was dizzy just watching this father walking down an aisle of vendors--infrared saunas, HBOT, supplements, therapy, books, and more. Cue the depressing music...

Later, the father is reading a report on thimerosal. We see these parents arguing over what meds were given & when, as well as them giving their son an injection. I was rather disturbed by that, I think part of it was that I'm not sure what they were injecting & of course, for the life of me, can't understand why. Well, I know why, but I cannot relate to injecting my kid with something other than say insulin if medically necessary (& proven!). But, that's just me.

Then comes the end of the trailer. It shows this boy, their beautiful son, swinging and he seems to be enjoying himself. They do some camera magic, some slow motion with trailing--rather eery & oh so tragic. You then hear the father say "they're like lost souls..."

The basic theme of the website is 'recovery.' I am betting the entire documentary is riddled with that word as well. I can only imagine how many quack 'cures' they offer & advise during the movie.

What's so sad, is again, these parents are so busy investing time and money into these cures & treatments, and are so devastated by the label "Autistic," that they are missing out on what is good. There is a scene where they are swimming in the ocean, it is beautiful. From the size of the boy, it appears it was filmed post-Autism diagnosis. That moment, that memory, seems entirely wonderful to me.

Yet, what I heard from the father was that his son was not & would never be (unless 'recovered') fantastic. Without curing Autism, his son would remain without a soul. My heart breaks for this child. I feel he is being used for propaganda. My belief is that you cannot 'cure' Autism, nor do I feel it is something that needs to be cured. What happens to this boy, this beautiful son, when a few years go by & he is not recovered? Or what happens if he appears to others to be 'recovered,' mostly because he is acting how they expect & what they deem as socially acceptable, what will become of him in his twenties & beyond?

Autistic children do have souls, they are fantastic, they are bright, and they are beautiful.

5 comments:

Mom26children said...

Hi,
If you want to go see what I think is a great website, go to
www.gettingthetruthout.org. It starts out tragic, you think, but then you see the truth. It is long, so get ready.

S.L. said...

Hi mom26children! I found that site from Autism Diva's blog. Finding both that blog & then Getting The Truth Out, that was a MAJOR turning point for me. I was lost in all the PR from the "CURE" campaigns & none of what they were saying felt right to me. Finding Autism Diva was major, & then all the subsequent links & info, it has changed our entire family's, but most importantly, our daughter's life! There is power in numbers. Thanks for sharing the link though, if someone is not changed after seeing it, then nothing will change their ignorance! Also, I'm editing my entry, to make sure I make it clear you were not endorsing Beautiful Son...I realized today after reading it again, that I needed to clarify that. Take care!!

Mom26children said...

s.l.
I am thankful that when our first was diagnosed the only remedies spoke of to "help" with autism was Dr. Rimland's concoction of a powder that did not dissolve in water. After spending our hard-earned money on that, Caitlin soon let us know that she was not to have any part of it.
She has taught us what she needs and we just followed with the others. Unfortunately, that is not good enough for some folk.
I too feel very sorry for the little boy in the documentary. He is being told he is worthless without given a chance to prove otherwise.

abfh said...

Hi & thanks for your comment on my blog. There's an article on the historical origins of the soulless child myth on the Autism Demonized blog, written by the same person who created Getting the Truth Out. Although she hasn't posted anything to that blog recently, it has several thoughtful articles discussing the use of dehumanizing language toward autistic people.

Mum is Thinking said...

Hi S.L. Thanks for the comment on my blog :-) I'm enjoying YOUR blog now, and glad to add it to my favourites folder...looking forward to reading more!