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Everyday Terror

Posted Jan 16 2009 3:41am
Why can't we face the truth? Having an autistic child wrecks your life. The title of Carol Sarler's article in today's Mail Online pretty much tells the story. It has all the drama you would expect from the title--a child who "screams like a banshee," moments of "everyday terror," parents who will never work full time again, an entire family ruined by the presence of an autistic child. Even the grandparents are starting to have disagreements over finances!
Sarler concludes her sad tale with her unsolicited opinion (it would be "impertinent," you see, to bring this up to the mother, yet not so much to broadcast it to all of cyberspace) that life would have been better for this family, for all concerned, had "Tom" never been born.
Yes, seriously.
I scrolled through the story as quickly as possible, reaching for the comments section where surely these hateful statements would be soundly refuted. There were some comments rejecting Sarler's conclusion, but quite a few agreed with her completely. I didn't get far before I found these:
I have no doubt that Tom is, through no fault of this own, a tremendous burden.
Oooh, you're going to have all the dogooders at your throat, but yes, his life should have been one unlived, sad but true.
Amen, no one is brave enough to say it but we all think it. What misery for all involved.
This is a very brave article. And very true. My twelve year old nephew is severely autistic. Needless to say, my sister and brother-in-law have a miserable marriage
Finally, someone with the spine to state the obvious. Thank you Carol Sarler.
Madam, you are very right. Something else, probably never thought of - the poor neighbours suffer as well.. their quality of life is also changed for the worse if they have the misfortune to live above, below or next to a family with such a child.
A very moving and thought-provoking article. I think many more people than are willing to let on would abort an autistic child if they knew.
Yes, there are more, feel free to look it up if you feel like taking a few punches to the gut.
Yes, I know that the Daily Mail is not to be taken seriously as a newspaper. But the number of people writing in agreement with Sarler is hard to take.
I have surrounded myself with people who agree that disability is not a tragedy, parents who treasure their autistic children. People who don't assign ultimate value based on what someone can or cannot do. Some call this "burying one's head in the sand," I suppose. I see it as a necessity. The will to go on can be fragile.
Do these commenters not even stop to think how this reporting of wrecked lives might affect their autistic family members? Or do they seriously believe that autistics are not aware of their openly expressed opinions?
Yet of the three generations, it is Tom who suffers most. And he's getting worse. As Helen [Tom's grandmother] said, only last week: 'We used to have a little autistic boy who was often happy. Now we have one who never is.'
Does anyone wonder?
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