Wednesday, November 10, 2010

On the Same Boat

A couple of friends of mine have written some powerful stuff about their lives and dealing with their child's autism in the past day. Katie had this reaction to a letter.

"While making dinner, I listened to the "letters" segment of All Things Considered when a response came in about a story about disabled adults who are forced at adulthood to go into managed care facilities instead or remaining at home with the assistance of hole health care. Some man wrote in to ask what the value of this woman was and why should taxpayers take care of her? This asshole drives on roads that I pay for, took advantage of an education that I paid for, has police and fire protection that I pay for and military protection that I pay for and never, ever do I ask to measure his worth for all of these advantages of living in this country. Fucker! So here was my response:

I was sickened to that one of your listeners believes that since some disabled people don't "contribute" to society taxpayers shouldn't be obligated to care for them. I have an autistic daughter who does contribute to our society including providing employment to dozens of people including teachers, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, psychologists, and many home health aides who enabled my daughter to live as normally as possible. Having these aides furthered her development more than any single treatment, for the record. Instead of judging her worth on what she contributes, I sometimes prefer to look at what she doesn't do. My daughter will never drive and congest our already congested roads, she will never default on her mortgage, she is unlikely to rob a bank, she will never run into you in the street because she is too busy texting a friend and most importantly she will never be a judgmental asshole like the man who thinks that disabled people don't contribute anything of value. I am so lucky to have a daughter who constantly reminds me of what's important."

She's always been quite frank about whatever situation she finds herself in. I've always admired her for that. It's an important issue; what are we, as a society, going to do with all these autistic children when they become adults?

Sue's a published author and has been blogging about her life, and her son's autism for over five years now. Her latest post, about parental guilt has lot to chew on in it, and she also has asked the question about autistic adults in her blog, and in her current situation as her child is of legal age.

Most days being the parent of an autistic child is rewarding. Others it can be an incredible pain in the ass. Like when he poops in his diaper ten minutes after you take him off the toilet. And when it's out of your control, like today when his bus did not show up on time so I had to drive him for the second time in two weeks - it's an annoyance. Especially when the transportation section of his school district will not admit a 20% failure rate on on-time delivery is not acceptable. I know that sometimes the bus is going to be late.

Just the way it is I suppose.


marybindc said...

I heard this piece on NPR too. The piece itself was the one that first started the query of "do you extend the life of someone who contributes nothing to society." One mom of a disabled child (who turned 18, and therefore aged out of medicaid) said some doctors implied that.

What occurred to me is the fact that there are all sorts of able-bodied gainfully employed people around that contribute nothing to society, are just a waste of space and air, and yet we let them live. Procreate, even. Although a person might not be able to care for themselves, they still might "contribute" more than some others who are not considered disabled.

Someone Said said...

Thanks Mary. Very true that there are many people who contribute nothing, or even take away from, society and taxpayer money takes care of them.

I did not hear the segment. Obviously there's a difference between Teri Schiavo and a moderately to severe autistic or disabled person.

It's become so easy for people to say, "you're not going to do that with my tax money" than people to reasonably think about what they are saying. If you simply toss people out into the streets you're going to have a much bigger problem and expense than taking care of the situation - ah America.