I was looking yesterday of this case of someone in Oshawa, Ontario (a city just east of Toronto) who actually had the guts a few days ago of sending a letter of profanities to a family who had an autistic child.
(By the way a quick message to the people who written the letter. If you are reading this article, you will probably say who the hell I am, right? Well, I am autistic also. Some so called specialists told me I will never pass first grade, and yet, I have a specialized university degree. Not bad, eh? Don’t judge too fast the next time. Maybe the child you have insulted have challenges but he could be prodigious in his own domain and do something that you would dream to do but cannot do.)
Indeed, even as someone who have autism, I know and I understand very well that some individuals who have the spectrum have some challenges. Even myself, due to a sensitivity to sound and light due to my condition, I am usually not comfortable with people who have certain spectrum of autism because they sometimes emit loud noises.
Of course, this doesn’t excuse that the letter is something not acceptable and only someone who is a total dimwit could write something like that. By writing this letter you are judging a children because of a condition he cannot control. Would you see an adult sending a letter to somebody in a wheelchair since birth saying he is »crippled » and »not normal » or a child who is blind saying »he is ‘retarded’ because he is only capable of reading in braille ».
If this is the case, you would see something close to a riot in the streets. I agree, the media in general did a really good work reporting this event but this puzzles me a lot why autism and mental health in general is so misunderstood especially in a society where people do consider themselves as medically advanced and based on science. I find it honestly weird that even for some people who are keen on being fans of so-called science (or evidence) based policies that they become totally clueless and somewhat stupid when talking about anything related to mental health.
So, in conclusion, is autism and other psychological conditions an inconvenient truth? Something that people love talking once in a while, to have a feel good attitude and talking about the »geek of the week » especially with some cases of people with autism, but which they cover even in their own lives in order not to look weak. Of course, doing some activism for cancer research or another »sexy » cause is fun and a good thing, but is mental health something that touch so many people that we don’t want to know or see it as something real, hence the very little media or general coverage of it as compared to other medical conditions even with a number of excellent people working on the field?
As much as having something like breast cancer is not a pleasant thing at all (my grandmother died from it at 68), there are hundreds of events for something this cause for so few events for something as important as mental health…
Talk about an inconvenient truth…is mental health THE last taboo perhaps in western societies?