The young boy runs out of the dirt and gravel driveway and onto the street makes a sharp left hand turn onto the bitumen road. His foot slips as he makes that tight turning. The bitumen is old and not smooth. That type of bitumen that is not the new style smooth road surface but consists of blue metal pieces joined together in tar. It is sharp on bare feet, even sharper when making contact with fast travelling knees.
The young boy’s foot slips, right out from underneath him. Unable to recover and set himself right the momentum propels him forward and downwards. Downwards onto the rough and sharp bitumen road surface. A left knee crashes into that surface.
The boy squeals in pain. Cries. Recovers and wipes away the tears and dares to look at his knee. At first glance, it looks like a bump and no damage done. But, then, it begins to ooze from the edges of the torn skin, that tell-tale red substance that is almost guaranteed to produce a new flow of tears in a young child. And yes, that guarantee pays off. The tears begin again to flow as the boy picks himself up and hobbles inside to find comfort from a parent. Comfort and of course that most magical of childhood items. A Band-Aid.
After some comforting words, a bit of antiseptic, and the application of the all-important band-aid, all seems to be right in the world of the young boy again. A little more tentatively the boy travels back out the driveway and onto the road to pursue whatever games or adventures were on his mind before that nasty mishap.
Ah, the power of a band-aid. As a child it had all powerful magical properties that could not be explained, but, absolute faith in them was an almost universal tenet of childhood. Just put a band-aid on it and all will be well was almost a creedal statement.
Put a band-aid on it and fix it. Stop the blood, stop the hurt, stop the tears.
The tendency of children to have absolute faith in simple things is certainly something that from the perspective of adulthood is almost hard to fathom. How can one display such trust in a band-aid? A little piece of plastic or fabric.
Children grow up and realisation sets in that indeed a band-aid is not a magical item, it is not a cure-all and it can, in fact, be something that can cause a wound to fester, this especially true when a wound needs to breathe, to have access to air a fundamental element of life to aid it in healing.
In life, we learn that in fact band-aids can’t be relied on at all. There is even a kind of metaphor for a temporary or stop-gap, or perhaps a less than adequate fix for a problem. We call it the band-aid solution. It rarely works as a final solution or a satisfactory way of dealing with an issue.
Autism is an issue. Being autistic is an issue. It is an issue that doesn’t need a band-aid solution. It doesn’t need a solution at all in fact. Acceptance is what it needs, a celebration is what it needs, pride in it is what it needs.
Having said that there is no question that both living as an autistic or as a sibling of an autistic or as a parent or carer or friend of an autistic is all fun and no hard times. It is. That goes without saying. A band-aid though is not what is needed. It is not anything other than a contribution to the isolation, abuse, silencing and disenfranchising of autistic people, children, and adults alike.
Both my autistic children were diagnosed prior to myself. Prior to my own journey of discovery of who I am. That diagnosis was presented as a medical issue that needs to be solved or managed. Band-aids were offered.
As band-aids go I as a parent was offered fairly innocuous ones for my children. Things like speech therapy, social skills and the like.
There was one band-aid that was offered that was not so innocuous, though. It was the band-aid known as ABA or Applied Behavior Analysis. This band-aid is touted as a cure-all, touted as something that will make the autism disappear. Blind childlike trust and faith in this band-aid is encouraged and promoted.
This is the type of band-aid that makes the wound fester and grow. It festers into a very dangerous thing. A thing that may be dormant for some time but it will not remain dormant forever. It will at some point manifest itself.
The wound that festers is not autism either, autism is not ever a wound. The wound is the hurt and pain and discomfort of being constantly berated for being yourself and being coerced into being something you are not. Being taught to pretend that you are not who you are but some imaginary person that you are required to pretend to be.
You are required to pretend to be this person in order to gain treats. In order to do your favourite things. In order to engage your hobbies.
If you fail to pretend to be this person you are punished with “aversives”, if you fail to pretend to be this person that you are not you are further traumatised.
This band-aid solution for a so-called evidence-based treatment has been spoken out against by those it is subjected to time and time again. Yet still blind faith in it is touted by many autism organisations around the world.
I am out of space here to pontificate further on other band-aid solutions for autism that should be rejected so I will just list a few:
MMS, Chelation, Fecal transplants, GcMaf, HBO chambers.
All of these are to be rejected. They all cause wounds, wounds that will fester and in some cases fatally so.
B is for Band-aid.
Band-aids have their place. But a band-aid on something that is not a wound, an illness or a sickness is not only a waste of time and resources but an incredibly dangerous practice.
Band-aids used in the wrong circumstance create wounds that fester.
B is for Band-aid.
B is for Band-aid not required…