The phrase "So-and-so fits the profile" seems incongruent with a society where bias and presumption of guilt are not supposed to exist.
Aren't we taught not to discriminate? Aren't we taught to not judge a book by its cover? Isn't that why the 94 year old little bitty woman is sometimes pulled out of line at the airport and searched by TSA agents? Because it is random and they can't be biased in completing their stellar security duties?
Granny gets felt under then over and up (even push up bras have their limits) because we can't profile people out of distain for the notion that bias and stigmatism exist? Conceding the point that logistically the little bitty elderly woman *could* harbor an arsenal under each bosom, we are willing to feign impartiality while witnessing this riveting imbecilic event at the airport. Are we biased? No sirree!
Now, spin the time machine and stop the day after a crime has been committed. As a society, we go on a witch hunt suspecting anyone with shifty eyes, an odd demeanor, and any outward similarity to the perpetrator we can find. We latch on to the notion that we can make sense of it all if we can just whittle down the random reason why horrible things happen, and place blame squarely upon the shoulders to whom it belongs so we can feel better.
The autism community is rattled. In addition to struggling with a bewildering disorder, they are now fending off attacks by wildly speculating uneducated "news" bloggers who only know enough to spew misinformation.
The "experts" propagate misinformation and a fear of people who are mostly hanging on by their fingernails to make it through their day. On top of mind boggling battles they now have to take precious time and energy away from the exhausting full time 24/7 job of raising their children to reach their absolute tippy top uppermost capabilities - to squash rumors that all kids with autism are going to become raving mad wildly out of control people with no ability to tell right from wrong.
People get impatient if they can't digest the gist of a story in a glance. Most people are reading the news via Facebook during their morning commute to work on the freeway driving 80 miles an hour simultaneously shaving, epilady-ing and/or other personal grooming duties, while ingesting a toaster strudel, balancing a cup of coffee in their lap and quizzing the kids on the spelling words they have propped up between the steering column and the dashboard. They don't *read* the in depth articles and stories filled with facts that will educate - mitigating the effect of the fear monger's drivel.
They see telephoto images of naked grief upon the utterly devastated faces of parents who have *just* lost the absolute *light* in their lives. Those anguished faces are imprinted forever. Then between spelling words and multiple lane changes, they swipe their smartphone screen with their greasy toaster strudely finger and the next thing they read is a five bullet-point "article" about how people who are socially awkward (a trait specific to those with Asperger Syndrome) lack social skills and grow up to be:
*failed "joiners" full of friction (CNN)
Thus ~ the witch hunt begins and blame is assigned because by now? You will be prepared when your child fails their spelling test - they inherited their father's literary abilities - you are full of caffeine and carbs, and the "news" you take with you is the imprint of grief and anguish upon a face that there but by the grace of God - could have been yours...and the bullet points about autistic kids.
You are proud of yourself though because, hey… at least YOU read the news!
How could people who have had no personal experiences - and when I say personal, I don't mean that you know someone who knows someone - I'm talking about nitty gritty, day in day out, first hand knowledge… how could a person with no exposure to autism be so arrogant to believe that they know as much about this disorder as we do, when WE don't even understand it?
Can we please agree that if there are going to be profilers profiling people, that we first profile the profilers doing the profiling?
I'd like to propose that we pre-profile the profilers and quiet the voices of anyone who presents themselves as an "expert" on autism without having spent at *least* five years living with someone who will only eat grits for breakfast, lunch and dinner and has attempted to have a rational conversation about toe bumps. This conversation inevitably forces one to conduct a thorough investigation of inside out socks when the beloved child **refuses** to wear the socks with "toe bumps".
You must find out what toe bumps are, and you are now late for wherever you thought you were going before you were educated in the variability of sock production.
If you have, in the morning, successfully dealt with toe bumps, prepared grits, picked thrown grits out of your hair after accidentally serving the grits in the BLUE bowl instead of the RED bowl, all while making *any* venture beyond the front door before dark? Congratulations, YOU are an expert.
Please be choosy about where your "expert" news is coming from. Autism cannot be explained in bullet points. If you are interested, and have a bit of time - not the commute home, though… visit: