Thursday, January 25, 2007

Candles and a grumpy old woman?

Today I feel really uncomfortable having seen this site. I'm not sure about lighting a candle for someone with autism or families touched by it.

I associate lighting candles with death, perhaps wrongly?

It just seems an entirely negative association, when people with autism and related disorders do not bring nothing but sadness with them. I'm not sure what I'm saying here: I suppose it might be natural for some people to mourn the idea of the neurotypical child they wanted or assumed they'd have, and this might be a way of expressing it.

Oh, I don't know what I'm talking about. I really don't.

I was reading this article in Slate yesterday, which says "But is there, in fact, an autism epidemic? Most of the scientists who study the disease—though not all—believe that any increase in recent decades in autism incidence, as opposed to diagnosis, has been modest. In his new book Unstrange Minds; Remapping the World of Autism, George Washington University anthropologist Roy Richard Grinker, who has an autistic 15-year-old daughter, makes the case that the rise in autism diagnosis is nothing more than an epidemic of discovery."

I don't know enough about all this.

I do know that those candle lighting sites seem so, I don't know, twee, saccharine sentimentality without thought. Regardless of the subject they are "lit" for, whether autism, natural disaster or death, they are meaningless to me, because the effort gone to is virtually nil and the lasting effect none.

Not even a puddle of wax. Maybe something on google caché if you're lucky.

Plant a tree, light a real candle: the virtual candles make me nauseous.


Primitive Person said...'s a load of old toss. I can't stand this sort of thing, and this is from a parent of someone who supposedly has an ASD, although I'm adamant he doesn't. I hate the explosion of "syndromes" and "disorders". Grr.

Abby said...

Oh! Hubby got here first. :)

I agree. I liked the thread on your fave website the other day about the girl who doesn't want to be the poster girl for autism. That was an interesting thread. I think what it showed was that parents are all vastly different - some ecstatic about the diagnosis and all self-important about it, others (like me) not chuffed, hating all the fuss and the assumptions about him being "abnormal" and all sorts of other reactions in between. I think people have to be very careful discussing autism and ASD because people are so different in their reactions. I feel like I have nothing in common at all with the other parents on the Early Bird course I'm on. So it probably will do me no good at all. Oh well.

Lighting a virtual candle - indeed, it's a pile of old wank, cubed. A meaningless virtual version of a meaningless real gesture. (Unless maybe you're a Roman Catholic, and that's a form of prayer for them which is fair enough). Anyway.... yes, it is very patronising to imagine people putting on a poor mouth about my child having ASD. They can keep their sympathy to themselves! Grummock grummock. :)