I am having one of those days today where I don’t want to hear about Autism being ‘neurodiverse’ and needing acceptance. I don’t agree that society needs to change in all aspects in order to accommodate the needs of Autistic individuals – because those needs can be at odds with the needs of others and there is no way you can meet everyone’s needs at the same time. It’s impossible to provide personal playgrounds for every child – far enough away from anywhere that the noise sensitive individuals won’t get upset. Tax payers can’t afford to pay for inclusive classrooms with only two or three children and four or five specially trained teachers, being held at varying hours depending on the individual’s sleeping patterns. Freedom of personal expression for one person often involves curtailing someone else’s freedom.
My son (like many other autistic children) loves to strip his clothes off. The sight of him sitting buck naked on his swing, flying high up in the sky with everything flying free, is not for the faint of heart. Should I just tell the parents at the playground that they should accept my son’s autistic preferences and how dare they question his sensory issues? What about when he is 16 or 36 and still feels the same – is he allowed to lie face first on the swing while naked and yell happily at the top of his lungs as he goes as high as he can, doing his froggy kicks?
Should it be generally accepted that when he feels the need, he can grab a handful of his poo and smear it on the wall in the shopping centre? Or throw it against the glass window of the shop to watch is splatter and slide down? Am I supposed to rejoice when he comes running up to me and wipes his poo over my clothes?
I don’t think the visitors of our local cemetery were impressed with the destruction of their loved one’s mementos on their grave sites, when my son expressed his pleasure at smashing things into a million pieces on one of his many absconding episodes. He feels a deep seated need for chaos and destruction – should my neigbours accept that as just being part of his Autism and let him destroy their property in the name of neurodiversity?
Please don’t tell me that we need to accept and embrace Autism. Accept the autistic individual – yes. Love and care for them as we would any other human being – yes. Provide them with the opportunities to grow and flourish in our society – yes. But accept Autism and the way it limits our children – no, I can never do that.