I’m reading a mystery novel titled If Thy Right Hand by Robin Lamont. The reading goes slowly because the scenes where a mother bullies her 19-year-old son with Asperger’s Syndrome are painful to read. This helicopter-parent par excellence treats her bright adult son as an invalid and does all she can to prevent him from accepting an offer of studying at and working for a good university. This woman, whose personal life has always been a horrible mess, tries to prevent her son from leaving the house because of a single bad date he had. Of course, there is a reason why she tries to cripple the guy in this way: she needs him home to “babysit” for her younger son (for whom, at 12 years of age, it is very difficult to qualify as a bona fide baby.)
This character’s attitude to her son is very symbolic of the way our society has learned to treat autistics. Autism is a new fad that irresponsible parents and stupid bureaucrats like to exploit to achieve their own goals. Ten years ago it was ADD. Now it’s autism. It will be something else ten years from now. None of these kind little helpers and care-givers ask autistics themselves what it is that they need, of course. They just try to repair them according to their own understanding of what constitutes normalcy. I blogged about such parents a while ago. Now, unfortunately, the time has come to blog about colleges that do it under the guise of helping students with autism.
By way of a fellow Aspie’s blog, I alighted on an article that enumerated programs adopted by some universities with the goal of helping autistic students integrate better into college life. I have no idea why a bright Aspie, whose IQ is normally twice that of many of their NT peers, should get special help to deal with college as opposed to the illiterates who can’t read and understand two sentences out of a textbook. Possibly, it’s because we are a society that doesn’t see stupidity as a disability (Bush, Palin, Schwarzenegger, anybody?) as opposed to the horrible handicap of not having many friends. As I was reading what these “helpful” programs were offering, I almost had a panic attack and felt an intense desire to delete all of the posts where I identify as an Asperger lest a cheery group of bureaucrats on our campus decides to improve my existence with a similar set of measures.
Here are some of the things these programs offer:
peer mentor training, support from advisors, as well classes and programs to help them better adapt to life in college, additional help from other students, psychologists and other professionals, meetings with team members, help from counselors and peers, make new friends
See all that socializing, meeting, and hanging out? I’m sure all autistics are just dying to engage in more socializing. The result? See here:
Students at Mercyhurst who have an autism disorder never need to feel alone on campus.
Wow, imagine that. Never feeling alone. I can imagine the beauty of never ever being left alone by a bunch of ignorant do-gooders, shrinks, and “peers.”
However, if none of these beautiful measures help, you can just build a ghetto around these pesky autistics who refuse to have their social skills sufficiently well-developed:
They may live in a special house on campus along with two peer mentors, where they will gain the skills they need to learn to live independently and become a successful college student.
Maybe it will also be a good idea to make them all wear an “Autism Speaks” patch on the left side of their chest. This way, the do-gooders can identify them easily and make sure that they are really never ever left alone. Because, in case you didn’t know, it’s the goal of every autistic to
Get out and make new friends.
We all know that people who don’t get out and make new friends are not fully human. So it’s important to identify those who don’t get out enough and prefer to spend all their time stuck alone in the library or reading in their room (those losers!) and teach them how to make friends. See how NTs are trying to impose their vision of happiness onto the poor, stupid autistics:
Students will not only be able to interact with staff, but also a large number of autistic students from the college and the surrounding community.
Isn’t it cool? “Interacting with the community” are words that make every autistic heart beat faster in delighted anticipation.
As in the book I quoted at the beginning of this post, there is, of course, an easily identifiable reason why such services are offered. The last sentence of the article gives us our answer:
Parents and students should be aware, however, that this support doesn’t come cheaply and can run as much as $3,200 a semester– a price that many are willing to pay to get the help and guidance they need.