Autism still misunderstood

April – Autism Awareness Month – came and went like a typical nightmare. We witnessed countless blue lights, Chili’s restaurant cancellation of its nationwide fund-raiser to save children with autism from wandering, and dozens of media reports about all the good things that can come with autism like special movie days for those affected. We also read that the Centers for Disease Control released the new autism numbers of 1 in every 50 children now diagnosed.

If anything positive for autism took place in April, I must have missed it. Here we are now – May is almost over. I am still perusing media articles that continue to blame Jenny McCarthy and Dr. Wakefield for the parents who don’t vaccinate, stories that interview doctors who insist there is no increase in autism, and vitriolic speech hurled at parents who question vaccine safety.

For the media, there is only one side to the autism narrative; there is no crisis so stop worrying, it isn’t so bad, and vaccines don’t cause autism.

Perhaps our government and its taxpayers will have a different outlook when all these children reach adulthood, unable to ever hold a job and dependent on disability insurance.

I might be a dreamer but I do foresee a day when an environmental factor or factors will point the way to our understanding of the cause of autism and we all accept it as true.

I see a time when we are able to help those already suffering with the illness. I look forward to a time when every month brings no more newly diagnosed children and there’s joy in every autism family.

Maurine Meleck

North Augusta, S.C.

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