Uncharted Territory of Autism

interminable field of weedsWe all do it, to some extent anyway.  Whether we’re neurotypical or neurodiverse, we find it easier to say things that we’ve already said.  When President Obama gives a speech, I’m sure that he practices it, at least reads it out loud to himself once, so that when he actually gives the speech to an audience, it rolls trippingly off his tongue, instead of haltingly.  It’s the same sort of thing as when we “teach our fingers how to type”, or to paint the narrow sash of a window, or to play the piano, or to figure-skate, or any of the thousands of other things we teach our bodies to do.  With practice, with repetition, our bodies learn how to do any number of things, and we can go into that “mode” and just let our bodies take over with the doing of it, as an accomplished pianist might be performing a difficult piece, onstage, and also be thinking about her plans for tomorrow.

In the same way, we find it easier to think things that we’ve already thought.

We set up familiar thought patterns; we already know what we think about politics, religion, civil rights, disability, autism.  We have already cleared our own particular paths on those subjects, and arrived at the destinations we intended.  The fact that we’ve been influenced by information mainly from one “side” of the discussion escapes our notice.  We feel that we have adequately researched the subject, and have reached a conclusion that seems reasonable and desirable to us, and are satisfied.  A peculiar failure of mankind is that, in our desire for a particular outcome, we seek information from sources that we pretty much already know we’ll agree with, so as to avoid any cognitive dissonance.  We don’t like unanswered questions, we refuse to believe that to some questions … there is no answer.

When faced with such a situation, it feels as though we were standing in an interminable field of weeds, taller than we are, and we see no way out, no path to follow, and we need a machete to cut our way through.  I suppose that’s what it feels like when parents learn that their child has autism.  “Autism?  What’s that?  Isn’t that where a kid is lost in their own world, unable to speak, hear, think, do anything a regular child does?”  Their pediatrician has no answers for them, can offer no hope, and they find themselves stuck in that field of weeds.  It’s human nature, I suppose, to seek someone, or something to blame, but what?  All too often, the first source of information comes from some charlatan who says he “has the answer”, and promises a cure.

Oh, they gussy it up, come up with a theory that sounds all plausible and scientific, write pages and pages of fancy words designed to impress, show off their credentials, and make promises.  But you never see any “money-back guarantees.”  If it doesn’t work, they’ll claim that you didn’t follow the program correctly, it’s not their fault if your child didn’t become cured, and by the time that you realize that their system isn’t “the answer,” you’ve already spent thousands and thousands of dollars, but your child is the same as s/he would have been without the expensive effort or treatment.

Most likely, your child has improved, because autistic children will learn and grow anyway, just as other children learn and grow, though on their own schedule.  You might even credit the treatment you’ve chosen, and write a glowing testimonial to persuade other parents.  This will give you the satisfaction of having found “the answer”, and assuage the sinking feeling in the back of your mind that you’ve just been played for a sucker.  I wouldn’t blame you, because nobody, and I mean nobody ever wants to feel that way.  It’s human nature.  We all do it, to some extent anyway.

“Truths and roses have thorns about them.

Uncharted Territory of Autism first appeared at Comet’s Corner, and is reprinted here by permission of the author.

on 02/25/10 in Autism, featured | 1 Comment | Read More

Comments (1)


  1. vidhya says:

    thank u for sharing the valuble inforamation

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