I almost want to sound like a boxing announcer, in this corner here are the autistic individuals who are in favor of this petition and in this corner the parents who are in favor of this petition.
If my experiences this week, both publicly and privately+, are any indication, it's a pretty clear divide that isn't going to be bridged. How can it when one side is certain that it will lead to be autistics being restrained despite evidence that it will not and the other side is convinced this is needed in order to get the technological and behavioral supports to help them prevent their autistic child from wandering from home or darting into traffic.
I took care with my posts at Countering this week to be fair, to be balanced, to demonstrate that the likelihood of hundreds of thousands of autistic individuals being labeled as wanderers was highly unlikely and that restraints were even less likely.
Much like the vaccine debate and the treatment debate, this is one that is clearly based on different perspectives and deep-seated fears on both sides. On the one side, autistic individuals are concerned that their autonomy will be restricted, and the petition, which caters to those fears, just reinforced that fear. On the other side, parents, many of whom have dealt with children who have wandered, who have darted into traffic, the opportunity to get help from the medical establishment, to get a handle on the problem, well, it's compelling. We love our children and we look at those
Okay, truth be told, most of us would; some parents so desperate they've lost all hope send their children to that hellhole the Judge Rotenberg Center* (Landon Bryce would like credit here because he mentioned a current story about the center on his website in his mischaracterization of my posts and my mood; he believes it is his idea and deserves credit+) and then testify on the center's behalf. I don't understand that. I really don't. But maybe it's a reminder that there really aren't two sides to any of these issues; instead there's just a mess of opinions, beliefs, and emotions endlessly tangling things up.
It's messy. Really messy. And it's not going to change. Maybe we'll learn to listen to others with different beliefs and opinions and find a way to at least agree to disagree or maybe we'll make all new enemies instead as we find all sorts of new ways to be divided. I don't know.
Here's what I do know: given a choice between hyperbole, exaggeration, and a rhetoric uninformed by the research or an evidence-based approach, I'm going to go for the latter.
If readers missed our coverage last year of the center, those posts can be found here:
*My apologies; I was referring to commenters at the petition site, not the petition itself, and I could have used a less loaded word.
+ If that's inadequate for Landon, I'm sure he'll write about it.
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Do go and visit him!