Monday, January 5, 2009

sadness on the river

Was surprised to hear about the death of John Travolta and Kelly Preston's son, Jett.  It's amazing how great they were at keeping him out of the public eye.  Of course, none of us are aware of the truth except the family and staff, but as news reports surface that Jett was actually autistic, it definitely opens a bag of worms.  The word is the family refused to admit he was autistic, since Scientology "does not recognize autism."  Wow.  If all of this is true, how sad is it to think of all of the families that could have been helped had they come forward.  While Mas is not autistic, we have enough autistic tendencies to know what these families go through.  (And how great would it be if he were?!?  Finally, a group to associate ourselves with.  Something to raise money for.  Shirts to wear to describe it.  Answers for people who stare.  Three neurologists have told us it is not autism, but there is still a part of me that would be comforted with that answer...call me crazy.)  Some day, I believe the cause of autism will be known, and we will look back on these times as a society and be ashamed of all of the stigma and shame that has surrounded it.  While everyone has a right to believe, (or not believe) whatever religion they choose, (and, should all of this turn out to be true), it certainly gives me an even stronger opinion on the Church of Scientology.  It seems rather convenient to say your child is not afflicted with something because your faith doesn't recognize it.  I know De Nile is a river in Egypt, but come on, people.  How can you embrace a faith that automatically ignores a percentage of the population?What about the broken ones?  Wait a minute, I think that actually is the basis for many religions...but, I digress.  As parents of a special needs kid, I can say with certainty that many people attempt to pigeonhole, diagnose, and assume they know what we go through.  No one does.  We don't know how things were for Jett Travolta, either.  Or, what the family has been through with him.  But, just knowing that this could possibly be true seems like such a disservice to all of the families who have autistic children, but don't have a convenient reason to ignore it, like Scientology.  One would think that any religion would do well to remember that while medicine is not always convenient, it has been historically proven to be necessary.  This shunning of autism reminds me of the way people were isolated and ignored in the past, whether it be from polio or tuberculosis.  Should it turn out that he did have Kawasaki's and not autism, it still begs the question what a Scientologist would call autism.  If they don't recognize it, how do they explain it away?  Kind of makes you scratch your head, doesn't it?

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