Dan Childs of ABC News has run a piece about Michael Savage and his diatribe against people with autism. Savage called those of us with autistic children "frauds" and suggested that we covet the autism label so that we can bilk the government for special services and money. You can read the ABC piece HERE. I'm kind of proud of the last line in the piece (thanks, Dan!) where I'm quoted giving the monster charity Autism Speaks a bit of advice. (They took Mr. Savage to task with a silk glove on their website, which angered many of their supporters, who expected Autism Speaks to have a stronger voice.)
Who declared open season on people with autism? Last week it was a dingbat radio host from Cincinnati (that bastion of liberalism) agreeing that our kids shouldn't be in restaurants as they are prone to tantrums. This week it's nationally known Michael Savage.
Autism ain't for wimps. Whether you're a pre-verbal toddler or a high functioning forty year old, autism has challenges most folks can not fathom. How about a little compassion? The autism parents I know work tirelessly to teach their children how to navigate the world appropriately. We don't have just to instill right from wrong in our kids, we have to break down the steps of almost everything they do, from morning until night. We teach in our sleep, for crying out loud.
My Lord, are there really so many people angry at our unruly, poorly raised, undisciplined children? The comment trail on the ABC article was disheartening.
Here's a gem from a reader who is likely busy touching up his "Dubya" sticker on the back of his Mercury Grand Marquis.
here, here for savage. if you don't like what he is saying, change the frigin' station!!!! he has his right to voice his opinion. and he is right to a certain degree. his percentages may be way off, but he is right. when parents lost the right to disciplining a child, they ran-a-muck. then parents concentrated on the careers. the kids were lost to do what they wanted. instead of a "time out" these kids need a good crack on the behind and told to sit down and read the book and explain it to me when you are done. instead, doctors would rather label them adhd or autistic and make it easier on the parents to deal with. just give them a pill and everything will be all right. bull crap!! discipline is the key word
Ah yes, more discipline is always the answer. Right now, I look like a heroin addict. My arms are covered in tiny dotted scabs. Why? I don't ride "the white horse" (although autism has driven more than a few of us to a not-quite-5 o'clock glass of Chardonnay) my youngest daughter has taken to pinching when she's stressed. I could take her out to the shed and tan her fanny until it was raw. She would still pinch me, until I figure out how to re-direct her behavior to a more acceptable and less painful tap on my shoulder. We're working on it. She pinches because she does not speak, not because she's a brat.
Here's an erudite comment from a person I suspect has a banjo and a tin of Skoal in the back of his F150:
Most of you people are morons. If you don't like what you hear, then change the radio station, or switch the television channel. NO one is forcing you to listen. It is such a shame that we live in a society where one statement that offends people is enough to cost a man his job... FREE SOCIETY anyone? FREEDOM OF SPEECH? Ever heard of it? Oh wait... sorry, I forgot we're turning into a society that is trying to govern everyone's actions.. Grow some thicker skin people and move on. You have WAY too much time on your hands if you let someone's opinion ruin your day.
So that's all I need to do? Grow some thicker skin so that Michael Savage's telling millions of Wyler's swilling (I liked Goofy Grape best, you?) followers that my kids are frauds won't have an impact on public perception of them? I'm trying! Just look at these scabs! Grow skin, grow! And I'm a moron with too much time on my hands? Three kids with autism, a writing career and two sparkling clean toilets in my house. I think I'm quite busy enough. But not too busy to fight tooth and nail against loudmouths who do not walk in my shoes, or the shoes of thousands of families trying to help a loved one with autism through the day.
Sure, Savage has the right to say what he wants on his program. Just don't expect me to sit on the sidelines and let him run over my kids (and yours.) I'm just not that disciplined...
Thanks again, Dan Childs for a good article. I hope you HuffPo readers will take a moment to read it yourself. And add your own comments. Thanks.
(PS) If you drive an F150 and/or chew Skoal but would never speak so angrily about people with autism, please accept my apology for painting a picture of some of Savage's listeners that doesn't represent all of you. I'm going to duck and run for cover now before someone in a Grand Marquis runs me over.