It Isn’t Your Fault: Thoughts on Disability and Social Responsibility

You’re absolutely right.

It isn’t your fault.

It isn’t your fault that My Boy is autistic. Or that his autism requires intervention to improve.

It isn’t your fault that he didn’t intuitively learn to speak. Or that sign and A/AC and speech therapy and language therapy haven’t corrected his language deficits enough for him to be understood by other 5 year olds.

It isn’t your fault that he lacks self-care skills. Or that he requires Occupational Therapy for toileting and feeding and listening and drawing and dressing and just freaking playing with toys the way that the other kids somehow “instinctively” know how to do.

It isn’t your fault that he lacks muscle strength. Or that he has the “typical” autism physique of skinny, weak arms and legs and that walking long distances is completely beyond him.

It isn’t your fault that he is awkward. Or that he requires physical therapy to learn to keep his balance walking a line or going up stairs or holding a toy in each hand or even sitting in a chair without falling over.

It isn’t your fault that 1 in 5 families are crying out for help when their babies don’t walk or talk or learn the way those Expecting books said that they should.

It isn’t your fault that the numbers are probably higher but because of social resistance and insurance and coverage and services and testing and finances there are children who won’t be diagnosed until they are long past the golden “Early Intervention” years that so many of us cling to.

It isn’t your fault that your children are being forced into classrooms with ours. Or that your children will have to grow up with fewer and fewer and fewer neurotypical friends because the numbers of autism are rising and it looks like we are on our way to taking over the playgrounds.

It isn’t your fault that your children are staring down a 1:3 possibility of having a child on the spectrum.

It isn’t your fault that by the time that they do our kids will be aging out of services.

It isn’t your fault that I won’t have made millions and millions of dollars to support my child after he ages out. Or that part of the reason is because I spent all those years at speech therapy and occupational therapy and physical therapy and behavioral therapy and IEP meetings and advocacy boards and doctor appointments and evaluations and Carter’s for those dang footie pj’s he insisted on wearing 24/7 for 3 years or the diaper aisle of Wal-Mart crying over the cost of the big kids overnights and inserts and then smiling when I found cloth diapers that could replace those inserts and then frowning thinking about how I was going to be washing diapers again and I had always thought diapers were a baby phase.

It isn’t your fault that I live here in the same country as you.

Or that one day I will die.

And my currently-a-half-orphan child will not have anyone left who could possibly love and care and advocate and fight for him 24-7-365.

Because I’m it.

And the rest of the country is too busy standing on your soapboxes saying “It isn’t my fault.”

And you’re right.

It isn’t.

It’s no one’s fault.

We were all dropped here on this planet or sprouted on this planet or left on the planet when the mothership left or whatever it is you believe.

We’re all here.

Together.

It’s not my fault and it’s not your fault.

And it sure as hell isn’t My Boy’s fault.

You’re right.

Until you say it isn’t your responsibility.

And that my friend, is where you’re wrong.

Because one of the things that also isn’t your fault is that we all live here together and somewhere at some point we are all responsible to each other.

Our words and our actions and the way that we live.

We all bear the burden of each other’s existence.

Because we all exist here together.

We all need each other. We all rely on each other.

We all have to face things that aren’t our fault.

And we all have a responsibility to do it.

And a responsibility to be a part of this society.

And yes, responsibility is a hard thing.

And no, it isn’t your fault.

http://www.nbc.com/dateline/video/dateline-april-12-2015/2857335?onid=146591

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