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.

6/13/08

Days of Our Lives, With Autism

Yes, autism once again comes to daytime soaps. "Days of Our Lives" will have an autism story line, starting June 24.

BURBANK, CA (June 10, 2008) – The growing autism crisis – which has recently drawn increasing national attention -- is addressed in a personal manner beginning in the June 24 episode of NBC's daytime drama “Days of our Lives” in an insightful story based on the experiences of the series' head writer, Dena Higley...

...Dr. Lexie Carver (Renee Jones) and Commissioner Abe Carver (James Reynolds), are told their 3-year-old son, Theo, has autism. The news of Theo's diagnosis is understandably hard for the couple to comprehend, but through the love and support of family and friends, and the love for their son, they learn a lot about their family and how to cope with this tremendous, new challenge.

Higley is married to Mark, her husband of 21 years, and together they have raised four children -- two biological and two adopted. Their eldest, son Connor, was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3. Now 19, Connor drives his own Mustang, has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, recently graduated from high school and is preparing to go to college in Florida in the fall...

You can read the full story here. It's complete with words like "emotional trauma" and "autism crisis." Oh, they do mention "hope" and "achievement" as a "possibility." As if it's something that may happen. I think the story of Connor Higley (an autistic individual who has a black belt, drives, and is on his way to college) has potential to show the world another side of autism. But I won't hold my breath.

This may be the last happy family portrait for the Carvers, knowing Autism Speaks' record. The early days of diagnosis (and perhaps all of childhood) will be dark and depressing we can assume. I wonder if there will be any silver linings, if they'll show any good from Lexie and Abe's day with their autistic child. One has to hope that at the very least neither Abe nor Lexie say they are pondering driving off a bridge with their autistic child.

I guess we can breathe a sigh of relief, since Autism Speaks has yet to fall to Katie Wright's belief in that autism is caused by vaccines and that biomedical intervention is the only way to go. Phew. Could you imagine TACA or Safe Minds taking this on? You'd have a child who was talking, smiling, giggling on the day the receive their vaccines. The next morning, the child is "in his own world," and the mother cries out "somebody took my son!" They are angry and devastated. Doctors lie to them, say there is nothing wrong, then ultimately diagnosis this child with autism. Desperate, they find their way to a DAN! doctor, spent thousands on various tests, and have their answer. The story line could be "vaccine injury" or "mercury poisoning" etc. They would show the child's treatments: GFCF diet, 20+ supplements, B12 injections, and chelation. Over the weeks, the child would begin speaking and "coming back" to the family. Ah yes...what a soap opera that would be.

On a side note, there's this study using soap opera (yes, soap operas) as therapy for autistic individuals.

7 comments:

Sharon said...

Have you seen or heard of the sci fi show Eureka? They too had an autistic boy. It is a coincidence that he is also african american? But what I find truly odd is that Eureka was about a town of uber geniuses and there was only 1 autisitc?

Marla said...

Woah. I have not watched soaps in years. I don't know if I could get myself to watch even with your news. I hope it is done well. Ummm....if there is such a thing on a soap.

S.L. said...

Sharon,
I have not seen Eureka. Yeah, the writers didn't do their research on the community apparently (hello Silicon Valley!).

Marla,
LOL!! Great point. Have you noticed that you can turn the soaps back on, 10 years later, and almost pick up where you left off?? :) I remember watching Days as a kid (think a sitter must have watched it). A few months ago, I turned it on for old time's sake...Patch and Kayla were back, and all the other characters (half of which had died mind you!). Craziness! I may Tivo them, just to see. At least the first episode. I'll let ya know if I do!

Sam said...

I've seen Eureka (looking forward to the start of the new season on July 29). While there is only one character identified as having autism the rest of the town is, shall we say, full of characters. The portrayal of the kid is a bit stereotypical but not offensively so. Then again he hasn't really had all that much screen time.

geosaru said...

" Could you imagine TACA or Safe Minds taking this on? You'd have a child who was talking, smiling, giggling on the day the receive their vaccines. The next morning, the child is "in his own world," and the mother cries out "somebody took my son!" They are angry and devastated. ...
...
Over the weeks, the child would begin speaking and "coming back" to the family."

Not only would such a story line be factually abusive, but it would also be boring and trite. Shall we hope for better?

daysdenafan said...

What Days and Dena are doing for the cause is great for public awareness. I'll be telling everyone to watch Days for this storyline.

Anonymous said...

My mom watches days, I do not but I have an autistic son. She was not sure if he was acting or not, but I am assuming by the comments he is not acting. GOD BLESS DAYS FOR THE AWARENESS.

PAULA