Jodi Picoult has a new book, House Rules, that debuted at # 1 on the New York Time's Best Seller's List. Ms. Picoult is a wildly popular novelist. She's Harvard educated so I'm sure she did her homework on the subject of her latest novel.
Her latest novel focuses on Emma, a single mother of two sons. One son has Asperger's and he is accused of murdering his tutor.
Wow! Sounds like a real page-turner.
Ok, Here's my thing. Popular culture is aware of our kids. Grassroots efforts to raise awareness is working and working well. But why is it that when the autistic are represented in novels or in movies or television shows, we only see those who have Asperger's.
Is it because those with Asperger's are "higher functioning?" Is it because they are more easily understood by those in middle America? Because we all know that those in middle America are a bit slower than the rest of America, but they are the group that marketeers most want to reach. Is it because the quirks of Asperger's is neater, cleaner, more socially accepted?
There have been people who ask me about my son. They will sometimes ask me with a hopeful look on their face if my son has Asperger's. When I say no, they might respond with "too bad"
I guess Asperger's is the good kind of autism.
I'm here to tell you people that there is is no good kind of autism. One's life is not defined by where they fall on the spectrum. One's potential is not defined by where they fall on the spectrum.
I challenge those creative types in the creative world. You want to do the world a favor by including families living with autism in your ad campaigns and in your movies? Show it like it is. Show the career woman who had to end her career because the demands of caring for a child with autism and the demands of corporate america don't mix. Show a commercial for pull-ups large enough to fit an 8 year old who just started potty training ( and give us deep discount coupons while you're at it) Show a marriage that crumbled under the strain. Show the life of a neurotypical middle school kid who wants nothing more than to live in a normal house with a normal family with a normal sibling. Show is that!