Monday, July 16, 2012

Person With Autism Manages to Do Something

Autism is a mysterious and puzzling disease, and children who suffer from having been diagnosed with autism are equally puzzling and mysterious. But the remarkable actions of Joe Autie can give us valuable insight into the mind with autism. Autie, 32, is a person who experiences a label of autism, but has overcome his disability and managed to do something.

Emily Expert, who has never met Autie but has met other people with autism, and knows countless people who know people with autism, runs an organization for family members of children with autism. According to Expert, “This really remarkable thing that Autie has done can help us all to understand what goes on inside the mind of a child with autism.”

Many people who make their living talking about autism agreed that it is extraordinary that Joe Autie has done something in spite of his handicaps. Experts also agreed that it was definitely Autie’s autism which caused him to do this particular thing. “We can assume that because one person with autism did this thing, all people with autism are also drawn to do this thing,” said Dr. Scientist, an autism researcher. “The question is – why?”

Of course, because autism is such a mysterious affliction, we may never know truly know why.

How does Joe Autie feel about his achievement? “We’re very proud of him,” said his mother.

Emily Expert agrees, but she also cautioned that even though Autie’s actions do, of course, give us universal insight into the inner worlds of people with autism, we must be careful that none of those insights are positive in nature.

“This is a very inspiring story and has a lot to teach us about people with autism,” said Expert, “but it’s important to bear in mind that the very fact that Autie managed to do something is evidence of how high-functioning he is. Many children with autism never manage to do anything. Autie’s actions are extraordinary and praiseworthy, but they are the exception, and they definitely don’t reflect well on autism or people with autism as a group.”


So yeah, that was my best shot at writing an article about autism! How do you think I did?

Here's why I'm attempting satire: this last week William LeFever, an autistic hiker who'd gotten lost in the desert, was found by a rescue team. Articles about this occurrence all featured a sentence like this: "Authorities credited autism training at least in part for helping them locate LeFever. One of the rescuers suggested searching near the river because he learned that those with autism are often drawn to water, reports The Salt Lake Tribune."

We can all spot the flaws in that logic, right? We all know that there's not actually any evidence that autistic people are "drawn to water," right? Everyone understands that LeFever was by the water not because he's autistic but because humans need water to survive, right?


The problem is that autistic people are considered so exotic and mysterious that you can say pretty much anything about autism in a news article and get away with it.

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