Well, I was all primed to celebrate my drive to Hagerstown and tell you that on my drive I came up with a plot line for a fiction book that I might actually start to write tonight. I also was going to write that tomorrow is the 3 year anniversary of my first work at TouchPoint when I went through their parent training course. However, I found something that disgusted me.
First, the good news. I don't know if you saw this on any of the news outlets, but the New York Mets are are considering a quiet section to cater to the autism crowd. Is it a done deal? No, but they are testing the waters. This may have been spawned by the quiet section at the NASCAR FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover a couple weeks ago. So yes, this is good, but want to know what troubles me? And when I tell you read at your own risk, the comments on the story I have linked to.
I read just a few and my anger pegged. What do people think the autism spectrum is? One person said, "People with autism need schedules so they should never leave the house." Another person said, "I worked with people on the spectrum for years and every person with autism hates baseball, hates sports, and the definition of autism is having no interests!" WHAT?!
To be honest I don't know why any website allows unmoderated comments, well, at least news outlets because I've never read one positive comment. However, many people I know ONLY read websites from the comments and if this is the case then the comments on that story are giving the autism spectrum a poorly painted picture.
I personally applaud the Mets for testing these waters and to every person that left a negative comment, or said that people with autism, "can't have interests" I would just like to say I have come across many people on the spectrum that their sole interest is baseball. I mean, a lot of us on the spectrum loves stats and what better sport is there than baseball for stats. There's so many stats that I can't believe there isn't one for how many times a batter blinks in the batter's box. For those people though that love baseball an environment like the one proposed would be awesome as well as for their families who would be in a section of people that understands if a behavior should arise.
Another comment I read said, "Why should they get any special treatment?" Sadly, this is a mindset I have seen a lot and it's this crowd that needs to get the picture the most. A person, when ignorant about autism, can cause a great deal of long term harm if they have an interaction with a person on the spectrum and do all the wrong things because they think, "That a person with autism should simply "deal with it" as one comment said. And the comment I read the most of was, "Children like that should just stay home." Is that the mentality? If someone is different they should just be kept from the world?
As the title of this blog suggests, I am simply saddened. What will it take? What can we do? And above all us I am asking, "Why are people so mean?" Truly, why are they? An organization is just seeing if something like this would even work and they are called all sorts of names and the autism spectrum gets dragged through the mud, But for what reason?
This right here is why the mission is greater than ever. I don't usually comment on current event/news from other sites but I'm sickened to the core and if you read some of those comments I hope you are too. I was just getting to a point that I thought we were headed towards a society that was tolerable of one's differences and would be there to lend a helping hand, but if those comments are any sign we are still a long way from that destination.