By Kim Stagliano
While the nation celebrated our 236th birthday, two families in Wisconsin faced the agony of having a child with autism who had wandered away from safety.
"The boys were both 5 years old, had limited communication skills..."
Jeremiah Conn (left) drowned.
Scott Meyer (right) survived.
I Tweeted that it was time for America to see autism as the scourge it is - for many families. Of course someone Tweeted back, "NT kids drown too." Talk about missing the point.
In a timely bit of juxtaposition, a report in Science Daily claimed that autistic cavemen may well have been capable hunter gatherers. "The autism spectrum may represent not disease, but an ancient way of life for a minority of ancestral humans, said Jared Reser, a brain science researcher and doctoral candidate in the USC Psychology Department."
An ancient way of life?
Some of the genes that contribute to autism may have been selected and maintained because they created beneficial behaviors in a solitary environment, amounting to an autism advantage, Reser said.
My girls are bright and beautiful - but I'm pretty sure a saber toothed tiger would have made a tasty meal of them in no time if left alone. The article goes on to say that perseveration would have been a plus when it came to hunger and the need to feed oneself - and that because we feed our kids, they now perseverate on things like blocks. Hungry people all work hard to find food - not just those with autism.
At the same time, it would be unfair not to acknowledge that there are successful men and women with autism and Asperger's. A certain Contributing Editor here at AofA comes to mind. But the "autism advantage?"
Where was young Jeremiah Conn's?
(We extend our condolences to the Conn family, and are relieved that Scott is OK.)
Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor of Age of Autism. Her new novel, House of Cards; A Kat Cavicchio romantic suspense is available from Amazon in all e-formats now. Her memoir, All I Can Handle I'm No Mother Teresa is available in hardcover, paperback and e-book.