Last week Nick Jameson, college smart ass, wrote a piece on his reaction to the autism awareness campaign currently under way. One currently struggling with autism might be put off by his callousness until one remembers that he is only 22 and that we were all pretty much insensitive smart asses at 22.
I would encourage all to allow Nick a chance to grow and check back with him in 10 years or so when he is expecting his first child and see if maturity has tempered his stance.
But what is useful from Nick, random college punk, is this reaction:
For example, what is the purpose of putting up a billboard that is telling me a child is born with autism every 20 minutes? What can I possibly do other than sit in my car and mutter to myself, “Well that sucks.” Maybe if there was a cure or even ways to help prevent autism, it might make more sense to have a billboard. Then it would reinforce concepts in people’s head that they could apply later like “only you could prevent forest fires” or “don’t eat cheese before noon.” But frankly, all this billboard is really saying is, “Beware, autistic people are everywhere,” and I’m sure that isn’t the message they want to get across. We already know autism exists; give us something we can work with. If the autism front wants to put us through a year of sappy ads and TV specials, than at least make it worth the time and money and headache. Teach us something. I was on my way to New York City this weekend and every toll booth was littered with autism propaganda. Did I learn anything? No. There are more intelligent ways to get out a message to the public.
Does Nick know that there are successful treatments available? Does Nick know that there are some kids who are completely recover from autism? Does Nick know that there are things that he can do to prevent his own children (should he ever become soft hearted enough for a woman to agree to marry and/or procreate with him) from slipping in to autism?
Apparently not. And that is the fault of the media who won't report the whole story.
So our young Nick has made a great point. One that parents like me have been trying to make for years now. "Autism Exists" is a message that everyone got a few years back now. But the important message, "Autism is Treatable and Preventable" is one that the media will not share with him.
What is it going to take for them to tell the whole story?
In ten years, when Nick is expecting, will he have heard this message from the media? Or, like us, will he hear it from another parent on the playground after Nick Jr. is diagnosed with autism?
Addendum: Autism Speaks had a huge chance this month to get the treatment message out and yet again, they are screwing children by with holding the important message. They certainly have the cash to do it.