Today, I want to talk about this article, published recently on CafeMom. CafeMom can be a bit of a cesspool of ignorance and downright terrible pieces, from ridiculous gossip about celebrities to even telling people to have compassion for a supposed mentally ill mother who murdered her disabled child (not like we haven’t heard that before, but it still is shocking every time I see it).
Really, in all reality, this isn’t the worst piece that has come from the site. But I am, again, feeling like I don’t exist, on many levels.
The myths being dispelled are good, of course. No one wants more than I do to see the world rid of articles suggesting that autistic people don’t have empathy or that vaccines cause autism. I am glad that good information like this exists, and I recognize at least one person quoted in the article, so that’s good, at least.
What I don’t see is anything that makes me believe that autism is anything but something affecting only children. I’m certain that even if we interview people who are parenting autistic children, that there has to be a couple of mothers parenting adult autistic children. But if I were a novice, if I knew nothing about autism and I read this article, I would assume that the problems subsided once a person became an adult.
Why were no adult voices considered? Even if they weren’t quoted, they could very well have been myths dispelled, like “you aren’t like my child. You can do x,y, and z and my child can’t.” Well, no surprise there, because 30 year old adults and 3 year old children rarely have much in common. That is a big myth that could have been tackled, and it wouldn’t have detracted from the tone at all.
Most of the response to such criticism that adults weren’t considered was met with disdain. “This site is for mothers,” they said. “There’s nothing wrong with reaching their target audience.”
Ahem. I am an autistic mother, who is parenting autistic children. No, not an “autism mom”, but a mother who is autistic. If CafeMom is for moms, where do I fit in? Do I even exist at all ?
I wonder sometimes. Every time I hear “where are all the autistic adults”, “but girls are so very rarely diagnosed with autism”, and “disabled people, especially autistic ones, can’t make good parents!”
I feel like I get smaller and less significant every day.