Thursday, April 10, 2008

Newsflash: Entire Midwest is Autistic

Well, this being the official 100th post at PESU, I felt we had to tackle an important issue. This my friends, is the issue of the recent increase in Autism.

Upon reading fellow PESU staff-writer Loki's article about Dr. Doolittle (the Autistic girl), I decided to check out the link he had copied at the bottom. For those of you lazy's, it's re-linked here. Now please, I beg of you, watch the whole thing (it seems like an interview done with her about her Autism and how people respond to her, along with a photo montage). Read the rest of this article after viewing the whole slide-show and listening to what she has to say.

There. Have you watched it? Now, I present to you, the argument: The Entire Midwest is Autistic. How do you ask? Well, listening to her speak with coherent speech, and a vocabulary that is superior to most of the citizens of the United States (a particular leader of the Free-World comes to mind), and arguing the merits of her lifestyle while noticing no physical defects from her pictures, I have come to the realization that those with far less social-interaction skills and more physical deformities that love nature and 4H fairs must be far more Autistic than she. And if you ask me who likes 4H fairs and roughing it in the wilderness with animals, or who speaks with less eloquence, then I will show you the Midwest. (I've spent 5 years out there, I would know).

The American Heritage Dictionary defines autism as "a pervasive developmental disorder characterized by severe deficits in social interaction and communication, by an extremely limited range of activities and interests, and often by the presence of repetitive, stereotyped behaviors."

Now, does she seem like she has a social interaction or communication problem through that video? No, she understands what the interviewer had asked of her, and presents her argument in a way that is both rational and understandable. Her comments that "everyone thinks I'm like the Rain Man" point to her knowledge of popular culture and her understanding of the stigma that is attached to her classification. And does she have an extremely limited range of activities and interests? Well, she's dedicated herself to a wild-life preserve. But ask the football fanatic that plays fantasy, plays pop-warner up through the pro-level and plays Madden games in the offseason if he's been classifed as autistic. You'll get a resounding "no". Or find the marine biologist that spends her time dedicated to saving the whales or studying scallops. They're called "scientists". And in terms of repetitive behavior, there are plenty of nervous ticks that people have (biting nails, playing with their hair, checking to see if a door is locked) that are normal as long as they don't move to OCD proportions. No, she doesn't seem autistic.

Now, I'm not just talking about Sarah from the article. It seems as if more and more children these days are being classified as autistic, and I believe it's the new ADD. Now, don't get me wrong, there are Autistic people out there, and I feel for the families that have to deal with this disorder. But the popular cop-out seems like it's being juxtaposed as a politically-correct label for just plain being weird. And there's nothing wrong with that. When I was in school as a kid, I was very awkward and I knew kids that were even weirder. But they weren't labled with a disorder. Most of them snapped out of it and moved on. Some are still a bit strange, but they can make a living without a problem. So until we stop throwing around this fad catch-all phrase, we might all be considered to be a little autistic.

My idea of fun is writing a blog bitching about stuff.
My name is Mr. Book. And I am Autistic.

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