The Headline

I’m obsessing about something.  What else is new?

I wish I knew how to turn off my brain when I get like this.  I’m likely to be up half the night stewing about this, thinking over and over (and over) about every detail of what was said, how I responded, what I could have said differently, what the person might have really meant by what they said, etc. etc.

You see, I’d found myself getting all bent out of shape about an article a friend had posted on facebook regarding a potential cause of the autism “epidemic.”  I debated for quite a long time before even commenting.  I knew it was a can of worms I probably should not open.  But I couldn’t help myself.  I started spouting off comments in my typical, perfectly worded, and precise manner.  I linked to relevant articles about why the autism epidemic is a fallacy, how the researcher’s conclusion about the cause of autism wasn’t based on actual science, and then touched on some other common myths about autism, including the idea that being autistic and being social are mutually exclusive: the single biggest misconception about autism, in my opinion (I should really write an entire blog post about this one of these days).  I felt compelled to keep coming back to comment again and offer additional information, even though nobody was really asking me.  Part of my own Asperger’s is that I have a hard time letting things go…

Later, as I was lying in bed, the computer long since shut down, I was still ruminating about this.

WHY had I gotten so upset about this article?  I must come across at least one flawed study correlating autism with various potential causes each day.  Usually I can just scroll past them without getting engaged in debates.  Why did I feel the need to say something this time?

Honestly….my intense reaction was simply because I read the headline and I got SCARED.  But not for the reason that the author intended to invoke fear.

I’m scared that my kids are going to grow up in a world where articles like this are everywhere, with headlines blaring a big WARNING that by 2025, there will be even more children like them.

How are they supposed to develop healthy self-esteem, being constantly bombarded with messages that they are part of a big, scary EPIDEMIC, something so horrible that people are using words like THE WAR ON AUTISM?  There are so-called charity groups pouring funding into researching prenatal testing aimed to eliminate autistic babies….beautiful babies like mine…before they can even be born.

We talk about autism openly in our household.  Lennon knows that he has it, that Juliette has it, that I have it, and that Daddy likely has it too (but he isn’t officially diagnosed, like we are).  Juliette has certainly heard the word many times, but I am not sure she really understands yet.

I see articles like this and I just want to scoop up my babies and hug them tightly and not let them see any of this.  But they WILL.  How are they going to sort out their emotions surrounding this?  I can barely wrap my own head around it, and I am an adult.

I feel like I spend a lot of energy trying to convince others of what I see in my children, how truly beautiful and bright and wonderfully different they are.

I’m beating my head against a brick wall.  I’m not making a difference.  I can’t convince the entire world.  Not when everywhere we turn, we are being told that autism is bad.  It’s basically the WORST thing that could happen to a child, right?

WRONG.  That’s so wrong.

Tonight, I am going to give my PERFECT babies an extra kiss on their soft little cheeks.  Tonight, they are still just babies.  Tonight, they don’t know yet that there are people who think this world would be better without people like us in it.

And tomorrow, or someday, when they figure this out for themselves, I will be there to wipe away their tears and tell them that they’ve always been perfect to me.  I guess that is all I can do.

But dammit.  I am so scared.

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