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I promised to share with you my experiences that stem from my daughter being autistic. Autism now affects 1 out of every 150 children. It is a growing issue that we as a society must face.
My daughter is fortunate that my husband & I chose to live in a school district that not only has a dedicated autism program, but that her teacher, Angelina Strum, is one of the most dedicated teachers I have EVER known. She has devoted her life to these children. She lives & breathes the trials and triumphs that the children in her class & their parents face every day. Even when she is not at work, she keeps us informed, is there for questions all year round.
The following is something that Angelina has sent out to the "powers that be" in media and I really hope gets heard:
I dedicate this "vent" to all the families I work with and all the average families who live in average neighborhoods and make average incomes AND are dealing with autism.....
I was in the store today and caught glimpse of the latest People magazine cover...It shows Jenny McCarthy with her 5 year old son (who has autism), both with big smiles on their faces. The feature story details her journey with having her son diagnosed with the "devastating" disorder of autism and how much better he is doing due to the extensive therapies he received from UCLA and being on a special diet. Those of you that have children with autism don't have to guess about what therapies he received and what diet he was on...because I am sure that you have heard of them, tried them, or wanted to try them but didn't have the time, money, or resources.
Let me say this, my issue isn't with Jenny McCarthy because autism, is autism, no matter who is effected by it. My issue isn't with the fact that she is lucky enough to have access to UCLA and be able to afford extensive and expensive therapies and diets...she is doing what she is supposed to be doing as a parent to help her son.
My issue is with the media giants coverage of autism in general. It was a monumental step in the right direction when NBC did extensive coverage on autism 2 years ago. WE all cheered and said "It's about DAMN time!" even though deep down many of us wondered if it wasn't for the President of NBC's grandson being diagnosed shortly before that would the coverage have been as extensive or happened at all? Even during that time as Tivoed and watched ALL the segments that were featured I couldn't help but ask myself "what about the children I work with...not every child with autism is high functioning and gets to be mainstreamed and eventually go to college"
Since then autsim awareness has grown 10 fold, which is GREAT, but at the same time I feel that something is still lacking. I feel that the media isn't showing the entire truth about what living with autism is really like. Not every child with autism is high functioning and like Temple Grandin. Just spend a day in my classroom or in the household of the families that I serve and you will know what I am talking about.
I feel that the media is feeding society the "prettier" side of autism which involves featuring the latest celebrity to have a child diagnosed talking about all the great therapies, diets, and resources that parents should be doing in order to help their children and that the government should be supporting. I feel that the media is leading society to believe that all a parent has to do is walk out of their front door, drive to the hospital or school, and start demanding more services and interventions. Or putting your child on a special diet is as simple as going to the grocery store and avoiding the wheat aisle. I wonder when was the last time the founder of Cure Autism Now was, if ever, featured on a major talk-show or nationally distributed magazine cover??? I wonder how much society realizes that the experiences those celebrities have aren't the norm.
Autism is the same no matter how much money you have, but the experience you have with dealing with the autism can look very different if you can't afford private therapies, special schools and special diets. Yeah, your experience with autism is going to look very different when you don't have a 9 to 5 job, don't have to put up a second or third mortgage on your house, or pay for everything on credit cards just to help your child. And when the money runs out then what????
I think it is ABOUT TIME the media giants focus telling the stories of the average family, making average money, living in an average community and dealing with autism. Otherwise, it is the same old song and dance that doesn't have a lasting impact.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.