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.
Beautiful (But Not Fantastic) Son