I was sitting in the speech therapist's waiting room, playing blocks with Andy, when a friend (who has an ASD child), came in with the words, "Did you hear what Michael Savage said???"
And honestly, my first response was, "Who?"
Since then, I've done some poking around. Listened to some sound bites. Now my question is, "what is he talking about?"
I'm in an odd position here. Since I am active in the special ed community, the local autism community, and am the chair of parent sped advisory committee, I have a fair grasp of the kids who have diagnoses of autism, and even a few who are probably autistic, but haven't been diagnosed. I spend a lot of time sitting around OT and SLP offices, and see a lot of kids with ASD diagnoses go through. I haven't met a single child with an autism diagnosis (including PDD-NOS and Asperger's Syndrome) who are not ASD. Not one.
And what money? Most of these kids are trying get through with what they can. The school tells them its a medical problem. The medical folks, especially insurance, say its an educational problem. There is no magic "autism pill" out there. Most of these kids muddle through attempts to gain skills with whatever the schools begrudgingly dole out to them, and I assure Mr. Savage, that ain't much.
You know, I have a lot of people who tell me Joey isn’t “truly” autistic. He can talk. He can display emotion and form relationships. He can do a whole myriad of things I am told autistic children don’t do. But guess what? He’s still autistic. Spend a whole day with him. Watch him in a room of non-autistic children. If he never screamed in frustration again, he'd still be autistic. Clearly, demonstrably autistic.
How many times have I seen him next to non-disabled peers and have it really hit me in the face, in the stomach, in the heart how disabled he really is? And it hits so hard because most time, I don't really think about it. I'm too busy enjoying and praising and seeing all the wonderful things he can and does do, all the ways he is beautiful and wonderful and able. Joey is smart, funny, loving, adorable, sweet, thoughtful, joyful, silly, talented... and autistic.