Autism: (n) a mental condition, present from early childhood, characterized by difficulty in communicating and forming relationships
I sit here this morning wondering if it is worse to be ignorant or stupid.
For I will tell you of a certainty that history is not a book. It is a look.
History is the expression on the face of the future generation peering back on our actions, wondering why we were either so ignorant, or pursued such stupidity.
With that in mind I approach the subject of autism.
Let’s start with a question: do I believe there are more autistic children today than when I was growing up?
I would have to say no. What would be the basis for it? Why would there be more autism today than in my youth?
So why didn’t I hear about autism as a kid? Why was it handled differently? And was the way it was handled in the past better than how we handle it today?
I’m happy to report, I don’t have any answers. But I will tell you this–merely having information about a problem and elaborating on it in great detail rarely solves the situation.
Likewise, ignoring a dilemma and pretending it doesn’t exist certainly does not cause it to vanish.
My contention would be that most things in our present health-conscious society are over-diagnosed. I do not know if the average American, if he or she were given a blood panel once a month, would be considered healthy when the work was analyzed, or whether they would be put on so much medication that they would get sick from the treatment.
Somewhere along the line you have to deal with the word “manageable.”
When I read the definition and the symptoms of autism, I can certainly remember kids in my class who would have fallen within the spectrum of this malady.
- But we did not call them autistic.
- We did not medicate them.
- Instead, we attempted to draw them out of their shells and include them–and rebuke those who ridiculed them for being dead-heads.
I’m not saying this was a good practice. I’m just saying that continuing to diagnose more people with autism does not give us the solution to autism.
Somewhere along the line we have to come up with a way of dealing with this problem that is manageable–which has enough science to be helpful, but also enough human commonsense to be practical.
Otherwise, future generations will deem us ignorant because we refused to deal with the problem, or stupid because we made too much of it.
Where’s the balance?
I think the balance is always achieved by giving our fellow human beings as much room to feel normal as possible. In doing so, we open the door to a more enriching life … instead of having our comrades identified by their ailment.
Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) — J.R. Practix
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