So the Daily Fail says that autism is not a disability?

This article - which I am not going to link to - annoyed me on so many levels. I wonder if the author's views were misrepresented, as scattered through the article are a few more measured comments that mention the difficulties faced by individuals and their families.

Saying that autism is not a disability implies that those with the diagnosis will need no help or support, yet as parents we know for sure that most do need help, especially when they are children. They need time, love, concern and expertise to help them to lead fulfilling lives as adults.

Often one or both of the parents may give up their careers to help their children, but if their children do not have disabilities then presumably the State would regard this as an indulgence and remove financial supports. Given that seems be the policy of the Conservative Party in the UK, I wonder is this article part of a softening up process to get public support for cutting financial aid to carers, which is under consideration according to today's papers.

Whether autism is disabling to the individual also depend on its severity and comorbid conditions that may include anxiety, OCD, ADHD, selective mutism, and many more.

I also feel that this article promotes the view that 'disability' is bad, so where does that leave people with physical and intellectual disabilities? Does that mean autistic people want to distance themselves from those with visible disabilities? Instead of embarrassment about the label 'disability', should we not actually be moving to a more tolerant society where all shades of human life are valued and respected?

It is highly likely that I have Asperger's Syndrome, like my son, and if anyone wants to say that I have a disability, that's fine with me.

Note: this was written during the drinking of one cup of coffee, so I may add to it - or possibly revise it - later!




14 comments:

  1. There may be a problem with the word disability in that it uses a 'dis' to describe anyone who does not conform to the norm. 'Challenged' is also problematic - I find it a bit patronizing tbh. We are talking about syndromes with a set of symptoms. Why not say people with recognised syndromes?

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    1. Additional needs is sometimes used, but personally I don't think that disabled has any particularly negative connotations, not like the 'R' word. If there is to be a new term, I think it will need to be simple and short, otherwise it will not be used!

      But the article was not so much about the term, but about autistic people themselves, and whether they/we count as disabled. Here in Ireland parents are constantly fighting to get services for children with autism, and other disabilities, as the authorities claim that their needs are so ’mild' that they don’t need help in school etc

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  2. Don't change it - it is fine. In my view, it is correct to refer to autism as a disabiity. Because it is a spectrum, the level of disability varies. Disability is not a negative term. Sometimes people try to hard to use other terms they think are politically correct. We need to respect the views of people with disabilities. How do they want to be referred to? Disability is fine with those I have encountered.

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    1. Because every term can become non-pc after a while, and yes, with most groups, the term disability seems to be fine

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  3. Autism is a disability, no matter what some people can think. I tried to find the article but couldn't find it, so can't really form a proper opinion... I don't think a disability as something negative either, it's not an "unability"...

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    1. Sorry you couldn't find it, if you really want to read it, try googling 'Daily Mail autism is not a disability' that worked for me x

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  4. I feel autism is a disability, not because the person is incapable....but because without services they have a much more difficult time interacting with society. I think that when it comes to mental issues people are so much quicker to judge than with physical. Because they cannot "see" the disability they assume there is none. Have you ever watched Big Bang Theory? There is a great episode called Itchy Sweater, it is am almost perfect rendition of what a person with autism may feel throughout their day.

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    1. Yes we love the Big Bang theory here: I sometimes watch it with my son :)

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  5. I don't care what label they chose to describe the 'difficulties' (I never did) so long as they accept that there ARE difficulties and that services are provided. But you and I both know that they constantly move the goalposts with regards to disabilities in general and Autism in particular to support their cutbacks.
    And I wish I could write this eloquently over one cup of tea!!

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    1. Thank you! I think that coffee has magical powers :)

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  6. In my opinion autism/aspergers can be a disability depending on how it affects someone. I don't see anything wrong with this - if anything it can be a positive step towards understanding and acceptance and getting support. Unfortunately there are people including academics who appear to want to describe aspergers as being a difference which in my view undermines my children's difficulties and their right to support. I recently went to a talk on aspergers females during which there was no mention of aspergers being disabling, indeed my daughter and others like her were being represented as mildly different. There was no consideration of how aspergers and comorbidities could be disabling. I felt quite angry at this misrepresentation. Deb

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    1. Yes it makes me angry when I see how much my son is struggling right now - especially compared with his sister at the same age, thanks for your comments Deb

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