AutismUPDATE! In comments Amp left a link to The Gimp Parade where there is an announcement that the NYU Child Study Center has put an end to the ransom notes campaign due to the huge amount of calls, letters, and emails they have received from the disability community and their friends. So a big thank you to all who participated!
Ms Crip Chick has a post up about an ad campaign for the NYU Child Study Center. It contains ransom notes insinuating that disabilities kidnap people. What's worse is that these notes contain the wrong information. For example Autism -
We have your son.
We will make sure he will not be able to care for himself or interact socially for as long as he lives.
This is only the beginning.
My oldest son has an Autism Spectrum Disorder. His actual diagnosis is Hyperlexia PDD/NOS (pervasive development disorder/not otherwise specified). He is awkward socially, but no more than any other teen boy. It hasn't stopped him from having dozens of friends. When he was really young I avoided giving him his actual diagnosis, I didn't want him to learn from others - what he couldn't do. And so he didn't know that he isn't supposed to have alot of friends. He didn't know that he isn't supposed to be a good student who gets mostly Bs and Cs with occasional As. He didn't know that he isn't supposed to love and be loved. He didn't know that he is supposed to be helpless and silent.
I was afraid of moving from Wisconsin to New Hampshire. I worried that my sons would have a hard time making new friends. Their friends in WI they knew since grade school. And I worried that here in NH these kids would already have their friends they knew since grade school and not make room for the new kids. I forgot to give my oldest his lunch money one morning and when I got to the school he was already in the cafeteria. I came up behind him to give him the money and he was holding forth at a table full of kids, remember this is the autistic kid, who supposedly can't interact socially for as long as he lives. He also has a girlfriend already. I didn't have to worry. They both have new friends, and keep in touch with old friends by phone, and those internet networking sites like myspace, facebook, as well as instant messaging.
These ads are not helpful. They instill fear, in those who have developmental disabilities, in their parents, in society in general. What these people need is strategies for coping in a world built for the able, or information on what services are available and how to get them, not negative stereotypes that tell them what they can't do or be.
Please read Ms Crip Chick's post and write to the NYU Child Study Center at the address provided. Thank you!