Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Drafted or Volunteered

I must admit, I have never been much of a humanitarian. People with disabilities were never far from just a mild curiosity of a combination of pity and a little bit of awe. Awe in that, despite the challenges they face, they manage to get along just fine without me. I never expected that I would have my perceptions and my life turned completely around in a matter of two years.

Since my indoctrination of the world of autism, I had and still today do not consider the probability that my autistic children, my NT children and my wife and I will be met with some kind of discrimination. Aside from the obvious discrimination regarding education and the disinformation about the disorder in the medical community, I can honestly say that I have encountered little more that a somewhat piteous inquiring glance at myself and Liv in shopping areas that I might have given just a few short years ago.

I am not prepared for the day when my children might be denied extra educational concessions, whether Liv will be judged by her lack of linguistic skills and have her intellect overlooked or belittled. I am not prepared for anything but compassion from her schoolmates and her teachers. I am not prepared for the probability that Grace might be prejudged as a problem child and not a child with a challenge to overcome. I'm an idealist at heart and I can't prepare for things that I would now consider unfathomable. Someone or something is bound to burst my bubble though.

I expect that the next 10 years will be momentous for the autistic movement. We will have the DSM IV generation come of age, invade the school system, and despite my blogs somewhat to the contrary, will strain educational resources perhaps to the limit. But the strain will be more a shift of resources from that of maintaining existence of what was probably considered an unable individual, to that of an individual who is able to contribute to society. How far that goes is anybody's guess. Will we be able to have autistics achieve more than they have in the past because of better educational strategies, or will autistics be forever branded as anti-social outcasts that will not be able to achieve as much because of society's impressions? I guess that last sentence sums up my hopes and fears for my children.

To all of those fighting the disabilism fight, I have become a draftee. I hope that I can help in any way I can...

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