There are two ways of countering injustice. One way is to smash the head of the man who perpetrates injustice and to get your own head smashed in the process. All strong people in the world adopt this course. Everywhere wars are fought and millions of people are killed.
Steve Silberman On The Mysteries Of Autism
People often ask if I believe autism is overdiagnosed, if we’re just slapping a label on geeky kids who in previous generations would have been considered merely eccentric. I reply that I believe autism is still underdiagnosed in two groups: women and people of color. The cultural and class bias built into the diagnostic process was so pervasive in the 1980s that psychologist Victor Sanua claimed that autism is rare among families of color. The reality was that people of color often didn’t get decent healthcare.
We lived in a place between mountains in the trout lands. The fish dwelt in the chill of eternal movement, slick and lithe and beautiful, in the curve of sapphire rivers twinkling with western sun. This was why we’d moved to Montana when I was a boy — to chase fish, in the church of my father’s religion.
How do you know when it’s time to take your autistic, bipolar twelve-year-old daughter to the psych ward? (They call them “behavioral units” now.) Is it when you find yourself sitting on her back and holding her arms to the ground while your wife lies on her legs? When she head-butts you the first time? The fifth? When she spits in your face?
The title “visiting instructor” suited me. Born into a life of hippie nomadism (even living out of a van at one point in my childhood), I’d been roaming since I’d left home at seventeen. An impulsive enrollment in graduate school at the age of thirty had been intended to impose order on my life, but at thirty-five I was as adrift as ever.
Next door, in a run-down daiquiri-pink house with bedsheets instead of curtains on the windows, lived Whitey Carr, who loved to pound me every Sunday with his tiny fists. My mother said I had to feel sorry for Whitey because he’d lost his mom, and his brother, Raja, had come back crazy from the war.
I got the call in the middle of the night. I dressed fast, expecting Parker to wake up any minute and make me come back, but he didn’t. It was summer, and the air felt warm even at 2 AM. I made a cup of coffee and walked down the long driveway to the road. Julie was giving me a ride, but she’d never been to my house before. Nobody ever came there to see me.
For the fourth time my mother / asks, “How many children / do you have?” I’m beginning / to believe my answer, / “Two, Mom,” is wrong.