I Will Not Cower In Fear, I Will Honor My Son by Speaking the Truth About His Autistic Disorder and His Intellectual Disabilit
Posted Jun 05 2010 6:36am
As expected I received more flak when I posted another comment about the CDC Autism Expert Dr. Yeargin-Allsopp's comments confirming that 40% of all persons on the entire autism spectrum also have an intellectual disability. Dr. Yeargin-Allsopp's comments also mentioned that an overwhelming majority of persons with an Autistic Disorder diagnosis also have an Intellectual Disability. Given the 40% figure for the entire spectrum, which includes all those persons with Aspergers who, by diagnostic definition are not intellectually disabled, the expert's comments confirmed my previous comments and sources that approximately 80% of persons with Autistic Disorder also have an Intellectual Disability. I am just a humble layperson but an 80% "co-morbidity" rate between two closely related conditions suggest to me very strongly hat they are in fact one condition which has been artificially separated. Also as I had expected farmwifetwo was particularly harsh in her comment in response. Speaking about her own child she finished with a shot at me
"But again Harold... What's the point to the rant...
Do you want those with Autistic disorder like my youngest to be written off from day 1 with "well he's just retarded anyways so why should we bother teaching him". That'll defeat all the work you've put in to push for ABA to be paid in full. The gov't's will say "why bother", let's just toss the money into facilities and raise them like animals... Which is what they use to do. Or do you rather listen to the Ped, the special ed dept, the Psychometrist and something the Teachers and children have all discovered... He's not "retarded", he's "autistic"... "retarded" only gets him funding and placements. Autistic, gets him educated. Unlike some... I'm not writing mine off at 8 as it's appeared you have at 13... There's a lot of living and learning still to do btwn now and the day we die." farmwifetwo, June 4, 2010,
Although she is harsh in her writing style I don't believe, from what I have read of FW2's comments here and elsewhere, that she intends to be hostile. I think she is passionate about fighting for her son and I respect that. She is welcome to post here and to continue doing so. On occasion when I think she has gone over the top I will not publish her comments but generally she does not go too far.
I believe that FW2's comments reflect fear, fear that her son will lose all if he is labelled as intellectually disabled or mentally retarded. I understand her fear but I believe nothing is gained in the long run by hiding the truth about our children's disabilities. I have no doubt about the severity of my son's autistic disorder and his intellectual disability. They are part and parcel of the same condition.
My son is now 14 but I realized long ago the full extent of his diagnosis. He was diagnosed at age 2 and he was also assessed shortly thereafter by New Brunswick's leading specialist in childhood autism, clinical psychologist Paul McDonnell. His full diagnostic assessment has, for many years, been "autistic disorder assessed with profound developmental delays". I am a lawyer but you don't have to be a lawyer to know what "profound" developmental delays means. As a father I have seen those profound development delays every day of my son's life. I have no choice but to speak the truth or forever cast myself as a liar. Acknowledging his intellectual disability has not kept me from fighting , at times ferociously, on his behalf and on behalf of other autistic children in New Brunswick. I do not write off my son or any other autistic child with, or without, intellectual disability. It is those who pretend that every autistic child is another Dr. Temple Grandin in waiting who write off our autistic children by creating a false public image of the challenges they face.
We do a disservice to our intellectually disabled children by recoiling in fear from speaking the truth, from telling the world the full extent of their challenges. I will not cower before the stigma that so wrongly accompanies intellectual disability. For me, that also means acknowledging that when 80% of persons with Autistic Disorder also have an Intellectual Disability that the two are not just related conditions. They are part and parcel of one neurological condition that has been artificially separated.
Autistic Disorder and Intellectual Disability separate disorders? Sell that bridge to nowhere to someone who hasn't already crossed the river and seen the truth.