Discovery health show and a call to actionJuly 31, 2006
Discovery Health show: Woman with Half a Body. This woman tries to lead a normal life despite her seemingly impossible situation, having only the top half of her body, and having a family too. Her father had schizophrenia, her brother was mentally challenged and had issues with aggression, and when her mother died, she had to help take care of her entire family. I am writing about this because in this story, the main character, the woman with half a body, takes us, the viewers, into her life, and her courage (yes, courage. One has to have some guts to go against professional advice and stereotypes.)is impressed into our minds. She does not complain about her predicament, though she does say that sometimes she gets frustrated with a situation, especially if her brother and husband are at odds, or someone is not listening, just like any other person, without her condition, would be frustrated.
It’s been quite a while since the first time I saw this show on Discovery Health, and I believe I’ve seen the same show once since then, as well as an update show….this woman had two children against the advice of her physicians, because she wanted more than alot of things to be a mother, and she believed herself very capable of maintaining a pregnancy and raising children. So she did. She quit after the second one because she had more complications, and decided it was time to listen to her doctors and not get pregnant again. But she had what she wanted: a family. There was no longer a purpose for defying the professionals (for lack of a better way to express it) because that purpose had already been fulfilled. The same can be said, roughly, for people with any kind of disability………seemingly “badgering” people for services that they need, or anything else they need, or being defiant to get such needed things. Once they have what they need or want for that particular time, there is no more a need to be defiant, for that particular instance. Others in the autism community are clearly more articulate than I am about these things….writing is not my strong suit, mathematics is. But this weekend my math was giving me fits……..that’s another story.
Other things that have moved all of us in here, are things that are going on in the autistic community (if we can even call it that, its very heterogeneous…some of us want a cure and others vehemently do not. We all belong in the second category for sure.) Some very dedicated individuals are putting themselves out there online and offline, for the cause of properly informing the public at large about what autism is, what it is not, who autistic people are, who we are not, and the like. They are knowingly exposing themselves to alot of unwarranted, hostile scrutiny. And they do not want others to be overly thankful and saccharine about it, or feel like they owe something more than understanding to these individuals. It is not at all a wholesome experience to be excoriated anywhere, online or offline, by people who believe that “you can’t really be autistic if you are that articulate” or whatever other nonsense they come up with. I have never faced that kind of hostility, yet I don’t have to, in order to have an idea of what some of us are putting ourselves through to be recognized and respected for who we are as people, not what we can and cannot do.
May their voices and their keyboards be our call to action. It’s high time to defeat the onslaught of misinformation.