Autism Unexpected: Autistic Doesn’t Mean Unhealthy

Twitter Jim Carrey

I hang out on Twitter a lot, although I don’t spend my time following celebrities. I have enough real connections to keep me happy, without following people who don’t know that I exist. I especially don’t follow Jenny McCarthy or Jim Carrey, because I disagree with almost everything they have to say, and I think they have done an incredible amount of damage with their approach to both autism and vaccines.

Today, however, as I was tooling along online, I saw someone retweet something Jim Carrey had put out on twitter: “Autism has risen 57% in 4 years. at present rate within 10 yrs we may lose the ability to have healthy kids! greed+apathy= extinction :)}}”

Weird punctuation and kinda crazy ideas aside, Carrey is talking about the new statistics that have just come out saying that one in a hundred kids may have autism. This is a significant rise from prior stats.

Now, I don’t know what is causing the rise. Maybe it’s getting diagnosed more. Maybe the definition of autism is broader so more people are included. Maybe the auties are falling in love with the auties so the autism gene pool is stronger. I do know that it’s not vaccines causing it. But that’s not really my point here.

My point is that Jim Carrey is saying that autistic kids aren’t healthy.

And I’m not okay with that.

There are a lot of sick kids in the world, and that is tragic. Kids have cancer, kids have HIV, kids even have vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles and mumps. But my son Jack, who has autism, is not sick. He has a lifelong neurological condition. And I much prefer that to anything else in this paragraph.

Yes, he is different and, yes, he needs therapies, but I will never tell him that his autism makes him sick or that he needs to be healed. Nor will I believe it. Just because his way of being is different than the majority of people (say, 99 out of 100), doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Or sick.

Jack has had some colds in his life, he has maybe had an ear infection or two, and he gets car sick every single time you put him in a car prior to 8 a.m. in the morning, but he is healthy and well. There is nothing about him that you could describe as sick.

So here’s what I told Jim Carrey, via twitter: “My child has autism. He IS healthy.”

And I couldn’t be happier or prouder to have a healthy, autistic son.

Jean blogs about her family at Stimeyland, runs a community calendar website specifically for Montgomery County autism-related activities at AutMont, and tweets—almost entirely to non-celebrities—as Stimey.

Originally posted at Autism Unexpected on December 22, 2009.