Autistic Children are Brats

No, no that is not my opinion. Far from it, in fact.

But that is, indeed, the opinion of one of the top 3 radio men in the US, Michael Savage. He claims that the views he expressed were a way of waking up parents to help them see that far too many children are mis- or over-diagnosed with autism. And despite outrage, he is yet to offer any sort of apology for offending millions of Americans.

An MSNBC article about the whole ordeal is located here.

I understand, to a degree, what he is trying to get at. If what he's spinning after the fact is the truth, that is. Basically, to say that many children are misdiagnosed is probably true. To say that many children these days are being labeled as ill when really they're not, and they simply have behavioral problems is, I'm certain, true. To an extent, that is, and keep in mind that it happens not just with autism but with many other illnesses.

Case and point. My nephew was having some issues in the first grade. His teacher thought he could have ADD or ADHD. Instead of trying to see what the root of the problem was, she wanted to label him as ill, and push for medication and treatment. The reality was, he was talking too much in class. Not paying attention. Why? Well, he hadn't ever been in school before. Didn't quite understand the way things had to be. And he is 150% rambunctious boy. Run around until he's exhausted boy. With selective hearing. And really, the biggest problem was the school's unwillingness to punish a child. When we were in school and we were bad, we had to go in the hall, or had our desks pushed against the wall alone, or missed recess. Now, they are less likely to punish kids like that because no one wants to get sued. Jacob is not a kid with ADD. He's a kid who needed to get yelled at and told to behave. And once he did, what happened? Oh...he behaved! And no longer does he have "ADD." Now he's just a normal kid who doesn't want to sit still and would rather be on the playground. Isn't that how most boys under the age of about 16 act? They would rather be playing outside than sitting still? But 99% of them sit still when they're told they have to. Hence, no ADD.

So does this happen with autism? I'm certain of it. I'm certain there are cases of kids who misbehave and are incorrectly labeled as autistic. I'm certain there are doctors who are more inclined to do this because they get some sort of kick-back from pharmeceutical reps for prescribing more medications. I'm sure this happens. But is that to say that 99% of all autisic children are brats? I think he's going far overboard here. I'm beyond disgusted by his statements.

I'm sure you all remember when Imus was fired for his racial insult. He claims to have meant it in good fun and did not mean to offend. Now, I say things to my close friends that are offensive. I joke to Mark that he's chubby. I joke to my friend Justin about being Jewish. I've joked to Sara in the past about being pale-skinned or a dumb blonde. It happens, and they take it and they dish it right back out to me, and it's truly in good fun. Sara's coworkers years ago (who were primarily African American) joked that Sara and I were the whitest white chicks they had ever seen (we're both pale). It didn't offend me because it was in good fun, and I'm not easily offended and I surround myself around people who are the same way. I say these things to my friends because I love them, and I'm stereotyping them sarcastically, not really meaning it, and they know it. They know I'm not racist or cruel. Perhaps if Imus was alone with his good African American friend and he called her a knappy ho, and she called him a redneck cracker, that would be one thing. Friends joke like that, and don't mean harm. But in his case, I'm sure he was being pretty racist in his comments, or at the very least terribly ignorant and insensitive. Should he have been punished? Hell yes. He said something that was not appropriate to say on the radio and he got fired. As he should have. Now this guy,, this Michael Savage, is he going to get fired? Doubtful. He said something edgy, but not racist. Discriminatory, but not racist. Discriminatory against children. Are the autistic kids going to call in and complain so much that he is fired? No. If he said the same thing about, say, Catholic men, that 99% of them are brats, Catholics would call and scream. But he said something about children, who cannot and will not call and complain with huge public outcries. They're sort of defenseless here. Nothing is going to happen to this man.

Unless....

Unless the outraged adults complain in a public way. And I hope we all do. Because this is unacceptable. This is terrible, and I'm ashamed of him.

So, let's all stand up and shout that this is wrong. It's time to defend the children who have no voice, who have been wronged here.

If you would like to know what it is like to love and live with an autistic child, read this blog. She is a dear friend of mine, and I can only imagine how she and her husband feel right now. I'm sure they have heard about this. My heart breaks for them, and for all the other parents who go through this day in and day out. It's just not right, folks.

3 comments:

Lola said...
Tuesday, 22 July, 2008

To touch on the teacher/parent side of things, it really is a different world of teaching than when you and I were younger. While it seems so easy and natural for us to say, all he needed was discipline, from a teacher view point its not. SO many parents these days really don't parent. They'd rather try to be friends with their kids when in fact they NEED parents, not friends. I know plenty of parents who would have pitched a hissy fit at a teacher even trying to CLAIM their child had ADD. "oh no, not my little johnny" when in fact that's the case. Unfortunately its more the "norm" these days for teachers to automatically think ADD or something along those lines. To alot of teachers they feel they are doomed if they do, doomed if they don't.

April said...
Wednesday, 23 July, 2008

Good point indeed. I don't mean to solely harp on the school system here, I know it's hard on teachers. They are, in many ways, heroic in what they do. And they can't do it all. And you're right, too, criticism all around no matter what you do. (haha, I feel that way sometimes too!). I guess I find myself growing increasingly frustrated in general. It's not one link in the chain that can use improving, I think it's most links in the chain, from the parents to the teachers to the doctors, etc. etc. etc. When Mark and I have kids it will be interesting to see how my opinions change, but I hope and pray that I admit culpability when it is needed, and am not one of those parents you mnttion who would rather ignore that their kid has an issue.

I am rambling today!

Lizze said...
Friday, 25 July, 2008

I have heard about this. The station is not firing him because they feel he was right and justified in his comments (read that "opinions") and therefore why should they fire him. Truth be told, I know a few children who are labeled Aspergers/Autistic when in fact they are not. They are the very children he was referring to. The parents have checked out with no intention of ever checking back in. So poor little dictator is left on his own to grown, mature and survive. So why shouldn't he be a dictator and torture/torment those around him? If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Ya know? There are days when I feel like one of those parents. When I am so certain that it is my fault he is the way he is. I didn't punish him enough. I punished him too much. I didn't love him enough...you get the idea. Others assure me this isn't the case. I suppose we'll see. (Now who's rambling? lol) Long story not so short, I know what he said. It pisses me off. I just don't have the energy to be the voice of the revolution at the moment. Therefore, I wage my revolution within my own mind. So far, things are going our way. ;) lol

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