Yesterday, I got rid of my son. After all, I need to devote my time and energy to raising my other child, who can benefit more to my devotion than a feeble-minded autistic child. I need to move on with my life and let someone else take care of him, so I took him to an institution, where he now has a more strictly regimented routine. Hopefully, now I can move past the shame of having a defective child and give more of my love to Big Guy, who shows much more promise in making in society. Having an autistic child is just too shameful, and I’m so glad I followed the doctor’s advice and gave him up. I am certain we will all be better off without him.
Disclosure: I received a copy of the book, In a Different Key: The Story of Autism, in exchange for my unbiased review. This post contains affiliate links and I’ll earn a small commission if you shop through them. This is how we help to make money so we can continue to bring you amazing content!
Would you give up your autistic child?
Does this seem cruel? That’s because giving up on my child and deciding he doesn’t deserve my energy holds not only ethical dilemmas but is morally incomprehensible. Did you know that the first case of an autism diagnosis occurred in 1943, by Kanner? Before that, any child who did not behave the same as most other children were given up almost immediately. Doctors suggested that parents give these children up as soon as possible so that they could move on with their lives. Even with the diagnosis made, it would take years for people to understand that these children, who had a difficult time with social interaction and behaved in ways they did not understand, were not hopeless individuals. It was not until 1965, thanks to a Dr. Bernard Rimland and a parent named Ruth Sullivan, that advocacy for these children began with The National Society for Autistic Children.
In a Different Key, written by John Donvan and Caren Zucker, details the emergence of the understanding of autism as we know it today. The history of autism, when it was first diagnosed, and the progression of disability rights goes back even farther than the 1940s. Although we see the 1 in 68 children diagnosed with autism as an epidemic, what it really points to is a further understanding of autism and how to diagnose it. Donvan and Zucker make a good case for the understanding that autism existed hundreds of years ago, farther back than when the first case was diagnosed with Kanner.
If you want to understand how society treats those who are different and why we need to embrace autism as a condition that simply exists as a part of a neurodiverse world, this book is a must read. Although I would never give up my child and I see him for the brilliant, sweet, funny, charming, valuable child that he is, the challenge of raising a child with autism in the 1940s would likely have propelled me to do just that. Even though society has come such a long way toward seeing the value in all children, regardless of disability or giftedness, we still need to do more to bring autism into the light. Love your children for who they are and never let go of the hope that they can achieve far more than you ever thought capable.
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To learn more about the history of autism, check out In a Different Key. I promise it’s well worth the read.
Originally posted 2016-04-01 14:20:14.