Autism advocacy of the future – our children

megaphone-300pxAutism has been around a very long time. It’s definition? Not so much. But even in the last 60 years or so, awareness has and even the definition of autism itself has changed quite dramatically over time.

It started with one doctor, then a couple of doctors and eventually a medical community that would dare to write about it and so on until today, we have parents and even autistics themselves emerging as, not really the dominant voice but certainly a loud and powerful one. At least, it’s getting there anyway.

It’s encouraging but I know that there is still a long road ahead. With constant battles between whether or not the “low functioning” or “high functioning” groups should get the more prominent voices, whether those that want a cure or those who want acceptance should be heard the loudest or most often… progress will surely still be made but there is no solution to the fights or even societal acceptance/understanding any time soon. There is obviously still a lot of work to do.

I have two children. One with autism and one without. I do not know if they’ll continue to advocate for autism in the future but if they do, I’d like to think that no matter which approach they take, that they’d be listened to.

One as a self advocate, one as a sibling, one as an autistic parent maybe and one, possibly as an autism parent. It’s in their genes, this I know. So the future is ripe with possibilities of any scenario.

I’d like to think that, if my advocacy has meant anything at all today, that one day in the future, no matter what their role, no matter which end of the spectrum or what their goals may be, that no one ever try to silence them.

If they’ve learned anything from me at all, then they will know that their own hard work, their own message, their own passion… that is what will drive them in the future. That is what will make them heard. That is what will move people to listen.

And most of all, no matter what, no matter who and no matter how much they try… never ever, not ever, let anyone tell you stop.

Both of my boys have a lot to offer and they still have a lot of growing to do. Should they decide to, should I do my job effectively, I can only hope that they would advocate together, as a team… an unstoppable force, instead of against each other.

Because that’s the kind of advocacy I want for my children, for all of our children and for the future.

About Stuart Duncan

My name is Stuart Duncan, creator of My oldest son (Cameron) has Autism while my younger son (Tyler) does not. I am a work from home web developer with a background in radio. I do my very best to stay educated and do what ever is necessary to ensure my children have the tools they need to thrive. I share my stories and experiences in an effort to further grow and strengthen the online Autism community and to promote Autism Understanding and Acceptance.

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One Response to Autism advocacy of the future – our children

  1. Christoffer April 7, 2013 at 8:21 am #

    The discussion about what autism is tend to forget or even be unaware of the philosophical process underlying both the definition and classification. Autism, as other mental disorders, is first and foremost defined by a philosophy of mind. The last decades this has been coloured by physicalism, and the domain of psychiatry has gradually started its way toward a neurological understanding rather than the psychological understandings of the past. If it would succeed is a question without answer at present time, only DSM-V (and possible a DSM-VI) may answer this through the primary goal of being scientific valid according to a physicalism.

    What this imply is that opinions about autism which support a neurological understanding would be heard as long as the present pseudoparadigm of psychiatry does not fail, and other opinions which does not support this understanding would not be listen much to.

    The present of our experiences, thought, would always be a challenge to the leading philosophy of mind if not in accordance with it, and this may be what drives the discussion to the tip point where the DSM-V and physicalism may fail.

    Advocacy is so, I believe, neccessary at a fundamental stage through the philosophy of mind and through our pure experiences if it is to have some influences.

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