[TRIGGER WARNING: CHILD ABUSE, VIOLENT ANTI-AUTISTIC ABLEISM]
I slept through like all of April and I'm sorry about that. But this story on NBC today is a grim reminder about how horribly autistic kids are treated by our society, which includes their parents.
Parents are poisoning their children with bleach to 'cure' autism. These moms are trying to stop it.
Imagine a world where autism is so demonized even though literally all you have to do is listen to autistic people and change your behavior and expectations around them a little that parents would feed their autistic kids bleach in an attempt to "cure" them OH WAIT THAT'S THIS WORLD.
The parents in many of these groups, which have ranged from tens to tens of thousands of members, believe that autism is caused by a hodgepodge of phenomena, including viruses, bacteria, fungal infections, parasites, heavy metal poisoning from vaccines, general inflammation, allergies, gluten and even the moon.
The so-called treatments are equally confused. Some parents credit turpentine or their children’s own urine as the secret miracle drug for reversing autism. One of the most sought-after chemicals is chlorine dioxide — a compound that the Food and Drug Administration warns amounts to industrial bleach, and doctors say can cause permanent harm. Parents still give it to their children orally, through enemas, and in baths. Proponents of chlorine dioxide profit off these parents’ fears and hopes by selling books about the supposed “cure,” marketing the chemicals and posting how-to videos.
Ummmm is promoting child abuse and possibly child murder a crime? Should these people just be allowed to do this? Asking for all of my autistic friends.
The rank hatred of autistic people for daring to have needs outside of the majority is deadly. Thanks in part to anti-vaxxers (though shitty treatment of autistic kids and adults pre-dates that fuckery), who claim that vaccines poison kids, there are MOVEMENTS of parents trying to feed their kids poison. The details of the posts in these Facebook groups are horrifying. If you're autistic, I really don't recommend reading the following. If you're not, then I urge you to.
“My son is constantly making a gasping sound,” posted one Kansas mother who claimed to treat her adult son with chlorine dioxide, according to screenshots shared by Eaton and Seigler. “He won’t open his mouth,” a Canadian mom wrote of her 2-year-old’s unwillingness to drink the chlorine dioxide. “He screams. Spits. Flips over.”
WHAT A COINCIDENCE, THAT'S WHAT I DO WHEN SOMEONE TRIES TO FEED ME FUCKING POISON.
It is so important to spread accurate information about autism and the very simple ways that you can help autistic people navigate a hostile society. Many of them are super easy, such as just not expecting them to make eye contact with you, listening to them when they passionately talk about their specific interests and not making fun of them for it, and letting them stim without being weird about it. You know, like a friend.
But the best thing you can do, because autism presents in many different ways, is to listen to anyone you know who is autistic when they speak about their autism. If you don't have any autistic friends, there are SO MANY awesome autistic individuals you can follow online. My friend Mooseplaining Max has a very funny and enjoyable Twitter account that not only makes jokes about mansplaining and other privileged phenomena, it has helped to educate me on autism and his specific needs, which is great because it means I can be a better friend to him.
Normalize autism. Destroy the idea that autism needs to be cured. Promote the idea that what needs to be "cured" is the anti-autistic ableism that infects our society. This is an emergency. Kids are being poisoned by their parents, not to mention not being vaccinated, because they'd apparently rather have a dead kid than an autistic one.
Autism is not a fate worse than death. If you'd rather poison your kid than simply learn how to properly interact with them, you shouldn't be allowed near children at all.