This post is from the AUTISM ONE newsletter. Thanks to Ed Arranga for allowing us to run it.
Dear Friends and Colleagues –
THE “DARK AGE OF AUTISM” IS DEAD
Looking back this year’s conference stood in sharp relief to previous years. Earlier years had an element of foreboding. In fact, for years the first night of the conference was reserved for a candlelight vigil with parents sharing their stories of suffering. It was the equivalent of the autism “wailing wall.” Words were not big enough to adequately articulate the enormity of our anguish.
This year the energy radiated from a different place. The focus was not on surviving the present, but on moving confidently into the future. Before, laughing was also taboo. This year a sense of humor was out and about in full force. From the bright eyes and smiling faces shone a confidence that was breathtaking in its redemption.
The Dark Age of Autism was as real and destructive as the epidemic itself. Parents lost their spouses, lost their jobs, lost their savings, lost their friends and lost their way. A diagnosis became an ongoing tragedy that fed on and consumed itself. Played out in thousands of doctors’ offices and picked up by the press a theme of blame, shame, and censure was waged against parents who refused to also lose their children.
Doubt and disbelief grew into defiance and then open rebellion. Asking for help from your school was seen as an act of civil disobedience. Asking certain questions of the medical establishment was akin to burning the flag. Asking government agencies to perform their duties was an exercise in futility.
Ironically, in the years of self-sacrifice and searching to save their children parents found themselves. The Dark Age of Autism forged a parental response more in keeping with a political revolution than a medical diagnosis.
Along the widening plane of engagement parents found their voice. If your background was medicine your voice was needed; law, information technology, administration, accounting, education, IS, public relations–every profession and every voice found a matching need along the spectrum.
Until finally it can be declared the “Dark Age of Autism” is Dead! Never again will our community suffer the same type of terror that tested our limits and tried to embargo our voice. Never again will asking for help be callously ignored and construed as a weakness. The open rebellion has grown into a revolution demanding change.
Welcome to the “Age of Freedom.” Previous obstacles become petty annoyances when our hard-won freedom from fear and faith in the future is measured against the puny and the wrong. Like bad actors in a canceled comedy the same talking heads appear on TV and in print spouting the same tired shtick, unaware the country has moved past them.
While we have moved past you, we have not forgotten you – government and industry enablers and apologists will be dealt with in due time.
A system that allowed this to occur, spinning numbers out of whole cloth to scare parents, which has created the single largest problem the world faces today will end. It will not be pretty, but in life there are prices to pay for your actions. In a poetic turn of justice The Dark Age of Autism is about to descend on its creators.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or ideas. Thank you.