Barbara Fischkin, a writer and mom of a 19-year-old son with severe autism, wrote a down-to-earth essay about her life in reaction to the show. Without a note of self-pity, Fischkin touches on both the challenges her son and her family face -- and by extension many families around the country encounter with access to limited services. You can read her essay via The Huffington Post, by clicking here.
In her essay, Fischkin recounts having to stop on a family trip in New York City to help her son change his clothes. A cop drives by, stops. She tells him: "Autism. Toileting accident." The officer drives away. Quickly.
In a symbolic way that is what it felt like when I watched The View this morning. That Rosie was looking at the problem and then, speeding away from the real issues involved.
She didn't talk about the controversy over the causes of autism; a controversy that is so central to the notion of an epidemic and the hope for a cure. Is it the mercury in vaccines - not the vaccines themselves, that is not what anyone is saying - or some other environmental toxin?
She noted how expensive it is to raise a child with autism. But didn't say why. Not in any substantive way.
And by raise, did she mean "raise" or "educate?" Did she mean it costs school districts a lot of money because so many of them -- ignoring studies, anecdotal evidence and common sense -- spend a fortune busing their kids miles, even hours away, when they could be educating them for less money and with better efficiency in local schools.
Sometimes miles away means an institution. And institutions, whether they are good ones or not, cost a lot of money.
Or did Rosie mean it was expensive because autistic kids break a lot of things?
Or because they often need new mattresses?
Or because they throw things down the toilet?
Or because neither the school districts, nor the local or state or federal governments subsidize to enough of an extent what most parents really need to keep going: A meaningful rest on a regular basis and money to pay and keep the really good teachers and aides who work when the school day, or the school subsidies, run out.
Well Rosie did say she could do many more shows on autism.
I hope she does.