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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I posted this over at TAO and thought maybe this would be a good place to ask, as well.<br><br>
First, I can't provide a link to the article mentioned as they don't print all their articles online. I have not taken any of the quotes here out of context. They are exactly as I have copied them.<br><br>
I live outside a small town in a rural area. The former owners of a local bookstore have a monthly magazine that reports on regional events, general ads and articles on a variety of subjects. Mostly, it is a fun read (always looking for the fun misprints such as their ad for a "PUBIC AUCTION" years ago! Nobody ever lets them forget that "L"!).<br><br>
Anyway, I was reading the latest issue yesterday, and there was an article, attempting towards humor, about a woman, in her fourth decade, learning to ski. Aside from the fact that the woman writing it is not a very good writer, was her liberal use of the word "autistic" in describing the reason as to why she couldn't ski.<br><br>
Nowhere does it state that this woman has autism, or that she has a child with autism. If it did, perhaps I could overlook this word use. Somehow, it's more acceptable in today's society to make fun of yourself if you ARE what you are joking about. Does that make any sense?<br><br>
In the article, she describes herself (in the learning-to-ski process) as "I was rather like an autistic person trying to learn social skills later in life."<br><br>
She states she explained to her husband (a good skier) that the reason she is having trouble is that her "knees have an aversion to each other. They are autistic, you see, and couldn't handle the close contact, especially the fear that they might touch each other or have to, in some way, connect."<br><br>
She tells him, "my knees met online at autisticsingles.com and this was their first date. They were shy, but trying to work together. As long as they looked straight ahead and didn't actually touch, they could sort of do it."<br><br>
I am really bothered by this article . Nobody in my family has autism. Dh best friend's 19 year old son does. I have never heard them make fun of it, or use autism in a funny way. Not around us, anyway.<br><br>
Am I off in thinking this is wrong? I do not know how many individuals in our tri-county/Canadian border area are afflicted with some form of autism, but I do not doubt there must be at least a few, statistically-speaking. I wonder at their feelings on this. The magazine does not print feedback letters/comments on articles they print. I would like to write a letter about this article to the publisher.<br><br>
I am asking for the help of those of you that have been affected by autism in your families. How do you feel about someone using autism to describe their normal awkwardness and inabilities? Offended? Hurt? Angry?<br><br>
Help me explain how you feel about this. Help me compose a letter that speaks from the hearts of those affected by autism. I want this message to pack a <span style="text-decoration:underline;">PUNCH</span><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/hopmad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hopping mad">. Tell me what <span style="text-decoration:underline;">YOU</span> would say to someone using autism as a joke for their own inability to do something.<br><br>
I'll post a combined responses letter for you to comment on before I send it off to the publisher. And, I'll post their response (if any). I want to get on this quickly, so come out of your corners fighting!
 

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I find that beyond offensive. What I really want to say is against the UA. Use your imagination. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/hopmad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hopping mad"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/censored.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="censored"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/splat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="splat"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/Cuss.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="cuss"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hammer.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hammer"><br><br>
Please, give me a link. I want to see this tripe with my own eyes.
 

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Individuals w/ autism have a disability. I would think that if she refered to any other disability (say Down's Syndrome or spinal cord injury) it wouldn't have been as "funny." I'm not sure the exact statistics, but I *think* that they are saying that one in 250 kids are now affected by autism. Try going to autismspeaks.com and see if they have more specific info. There ARE ppl in your community who have autism.<br><br>
I just can't believe that someone can be so disrespectful, cold-hearted, spiteful and MEAN. That is so rude and nasty... seriously! I am very offended by that.<br><br>
I can't really compose anything thoughtful right now... sorry. I though I could, but this is close to home and I"m just so annoyed! Have you gotten anything written yet?
 

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1 in 166 children has autism. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
I really really REALLY want the name of the publication. I'm on a mission. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/angry.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="angry"> Woe be unto her for writing such a tasteless, rude, offensive "article." Especially with the huge and growing and VOCAL autistic community in the US.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Okay, here is the letter I have composed. What do you think?? I have not included the name of the publication or the author or the town as I am being a wimp and not wanting to say where I live! Hope you all understand! I will not send it out until Thursday afternoon, so that I can read your responses and suggestions!<br><br>
As I said before, they do not post all their articles on-line, so it isn't on their website. However, if anybody REALLY wants a link to it, pm me. And, if you want a hard copy of it, pm me, too, and I will Xerox and mail it to you through regular mail. I'm not sure what impact responses to them from people far away from here would do, but that is not my decision! I hope my letter speaks loud enough and clear enough for all of you dealing with autism.<br><br>
I will, most certainly, post here any response I receive from the magazine.<br><br>
Dh knows the owners and says they are really good people. I am sure they didn't realize how hurtful this article is (no excuse and not trying to defend them, though I guess it sure sounds like it!). Anyway, they'll know shortly, won't they?!<br><br>
March 15, 2006<br><br>
Dear Mr. & Mrs. XXX,<br><br>
I am writing this letter to complain about a recent article by one of your contributing writers, CW. It is in the current, March 2006, issue and is entitled, "Autistic Knees".<br><br>
Ms. W, in her <span style="text-decoration:underline;">attempt</span> at humor showed true stupidity and an amazing lack of the most basic sensitivity. She was cruel and insensitive to the max in her repeated use of the word "autistic" in describing her ungainly endeavors on the ski hill. Her comments that she <i>"was rather like an autistic person trying to learn social skills later in life"</i> and <i>"my knees had met on autisticsingles.com and this was their first date...as long as they looked straight ahead and didn't actually touch, they could sort of do it"</i> are outrageous.<br><br>
She wondered <i>"what autistic people would do in such a circumstance and treated my anxious knees in like manner"</i>. Hmmm, the article makes no mention of Ms. W as having one of the conditions that are included under the broad spectrum of autism disorders. How could she <span style="text-decoration:underline;">possibly</span> have <span style="text-decoration:underline;">any</span> idea of what person with autism would do in ANY circumstance? How could she use this tragic condition in ANY kind of comic description? How could you, as the publisher, allow it? How cold. How insensitive. How rude. How narrow-minded.<br><br>
By the way, Ms. W, the phrase "autistic people" is quite insulting in and of itself. People with autism are PEOPLE first. They happen to have a condition over which they have no control. Try remembering that. You don't go around saying "cancerous people" or "AIDS people", do you? Hmmm, maybe I am asking the wrong person...<br><br>
Ignorance cannot be used to describe her writing skills in that there are more than enough other analogies she could use, had she cared to pick up a thesaurus and find them. Her knees and progress could be said to be wobbly, ungainly, distorted, difficult, clumsy, awkward, inexpert, shaky, unsteady, trembling, staggering, teetering, tottering, quivering, struggling, blundering and/or floundering. The list could go on.<br><br>
But, to "humorously" compare her lack of athletic ability in a published work, to the victims of an insidious and terrifying condition, one without cure and which can overwhelm the most sturdy of families and their medical teams is beyond belief. How can you, as her editors, allow such in your publication? A publication, which, I note, runs ads for health care practitioners (such as local hospital name) that, no doubt, treat patients with autism spectrum disorders. I wonder what humor they found in this narrative.<br><br>
I copied "Autistic Knees" and sent it to a number of friends, including some families that actually <span style="text-decoration:underline;">live</span> with autism day in and day out, unlike, apparently, Ms. W, who deals with it only on the ski slopes. I asked what they thought of the article. Here are some of their replies (I excluded the ones that contained profanity aimed at Ms. W and your publication):<br><br><b>Here I included all your responses and those from over at TAO plus some that were pm'd to me and also from personal friends of ours</b><br><br>
I quote, <i><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';">"The <span style="text-decoration:underline;">M</span> provides news, views, humor and a calendar of events for an area that stretches from XXX to YYY and covers all points in between. A free (and free-thinking, progressive) magazine, The M is available at several hundred spots throughout the region and now is also available on-line at ><span style="font-family:Arial;">website address</span><. Published once a month since 1994, The M is an independent magazine that often challenges contemporary wisdom by encouraging critical thinking about issues and attitudes in the region and beyond. Featuring our one-of-a-kind "What's Happening" department, The M provides the region's only all-inclusive, free listing of community events and is the first place many people check to find out about area arts, crafts, music, fairs, services and events of all kinds. Our free listing policy for the "What's Happening" department promotes diversity, cultural interaction, and the exchange of ideas and free expression. Also featured in the magazine are people, food, health, humor, and feature articles that keep readers coming back for more each month."</span></i><br><br>
Apparently, The M is comfortable with finding humor in insulting some people with disabilities. Not very socially responsible, much less acceptable, now is it? Is making fun of victims of autism <i><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';">"challenging contemporary wisdom"</span></i> and <i><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';">"encouraging critical thinking"</span></i>?? Is deriding the developmentally disabled aligned with <i><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';">"free-thinking"</span></i> and <i><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';">"free expression"</span></i>?<br><br>
I would like to know if both Ms. W and you, Mr. and Mrs. R, will publish an apology for this insulting piece of "journalism" in your next issue of The M. An apology to the general readership AND to those familes, in particular, that deal with autism, in all its forms, on a 24/7 basis for the entire lives of their loved ones.<br><br><i><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';">"...feature articles that keep readers coming back for more each month."</span></i><br><br>
Well, without a published apology, THIS reader, and every other reader I can talk to about this will, most certainly, NOT be coming back for more each month, and I will be informing the businesses that advertise in The M, as well.<br><br>
Signed, my name
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/clap.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="clap"> Thank you for taking the time to articulate that. I think it's a great letter!
 

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That was a wonderful letter. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love">: Thank you. I pm'd you btw. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">
 

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thank you for taking the time to be proactive <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love">
 
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