Weekly News Comment #3

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Emily on 16-09-2011

As someone on the autism spectrum, I like to read about autism if it is in the news. I am curious how autism is portrayed in the article, and hoping that it is not misinforming the public.

What is autism? Autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning that people who are on the spectrum all have different, varying diagnoses. Some children, like Joshua, have more severe autism, and they may be non-verbal and/or have to go to special schools or be home-schooled. Others who have Asperger’s Syndrome, like me, are able to go to school, talk to people, drive, and live independently from their parents. These are the two extremes of the spectrum; a lot of kids are in the middle.  Autism affects socialization, communication and speech. It is becoming common in middle schools and high schools for students with Asperger’s to be in Social Skills classes. They learn about how to act in situations where they may not know how to respond appropriately, do role-playing, etc. It is beneficial for students on the spectrum to be around peers who behave appropriately. If the “typical” student models proper behavior, the person with autism will learn how to behavior well.

I am glad that the child, Joshua, is safe. Unfortunately, he was taken from his parents because a well-meaning but clueless real estate agent saw him tethered to the parents’ house while they were getting ready to move. The agent informed Child Protective Services and they took the child from his home.

For those of you not as familiar with the autism community, sometimes children with autism are Runners. They will take off at any minute, without warning.  They can run really fast, and sometimes they do not understand that their behavior is inappropriate, so they might laugh and think you are playing a game with them. I volunteered at an elementary school one semester in a special education room, and there were a few Runners. We had to watch them constantly, and sometimes they would just take off and we had to run after and find them. It was frightening at times.

 Some parents buy special bracelets that are equipped with technology so if their child runs off or is missing, they will be able to locate them. These parents just lost their home, so they probably could not afford to buy a pricey bracelet. Their only option was to teather him. This may sound like it is abuse, but it is not. If Joshua is non-verbal, he does not respond to “Quit running!” or “Don’t go anywhere.”

What I am inferring from the article (though I’m not exactly sure) is that the child took off under CPS’s care. Was he trying to go back home? He really belongs with his parents. Unless the parents are abusing them, the best place for a child with autism is with their parents. The parents understand their child and their autism better than anyone else. They are able to give the child the kind of special love and attention that he needs. If CPS had come to MY house when I was younger and tried to take me away, I would have fought like hell not to go. My parents understood and still do understand me better than anyone else.

How prepared is CPS for working with children on the autism spectrum? Do they go through special training? I will do some research about this because I am curious. I am a curious journalist.

I wish the author of this article had included a few sentences about autism, just to inform the readers. Maybe the comment section of the article would have had fewer ignorant, cruel comments like, “This kid is a retard,” “He should have been aborted,” and telling a mother of a child with autism that she “should not blame other people for her genetic shortcomings.” Some very unkind people crawled out from under their rocks and said stupid, ignorant things.

I always welcome questions or curiousity about autism from anyone, especially my fellow college students. It is not offensive to me at all. Saying ignorant, judgemental, uninformed, rude comments is quite another matter. See above paragraph.

For more information about autism, go to

1 Comment So Far

cream fridge freezer on 21 January, 2012 at 6:37 am #


I have recently started a site, the information you provide on this web site has helped me tremendously. Thanks for all of your time & work. “You do ill if you praise, but worse if you censure, what you do not understand.” by Leonardo DaVinci….