Friday, October 30, 2009

Autism's Media Shadow


The CBC has posted the segment they did about me to their site, but without the commentary by Linda Beedham, suggesting that our criticism of their deflecting the issue from a political problem about government neglect to a personal one about community is accurate. The segment itself portrays the daily struggles I face as a single mother of an autistic child, but even here, no direct mention is made of the political struggle that takes up so much of my already hectic daily life. If I appear tired, haggard and perhaps somewhat depressed, it is in no small part because my efforts to directly engage in raising awareness about autism have shown me the extent to which our government, social systems and media actively work to prohibit and silence any type of effective critique on the part of the people who these sectors ostensibly exist to serve.

What has given me the strength and courage to go on are the people I have come in contact with in the course of protesting--the parents, friends and children whose lives have been affected by autism, and whose stories and faces register the same marks of systemic exclusion and neglect, the story of which continues to be ignored by the media, and hence, by larger society.

I only hope that CBC, and other Canadian media outlets, can prove me wrong on this, and provide coverage that represents the real political and social dimensions of the challenges autistic kids and their parents face. This is the authentic way to foster a sense of community and solidarity, and to give some relief to a segment of the population that is isolated and desperate, not just because of the daily struggles they face in caring for their sick children, but because the economic and governmental dimensions of the problem remain cast in a media shadow.

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