Marquis de Saydrah

Because I’ve moved from thinking, “I’ve GOT to blog that!” to doing it.

‘Days of Our Lives’ Tackles Autism June 24, 2008

So it seems that ‘Days of Our Lives,’ that bastion of fine contemporary drama, plans to “tackle Autism” with a storyline revolving around the parents of a 3-year-old child who receives an Autism diagnosis. I’ll give you three guesses which organization the show is partnering with to produce this storyline, and the first two don’t count.

That’s right– Dena Higley, mother of a child with Autism and Days Of Our Lives’ head writer, is partnering with Autism Speaks to “ensure the storyline contains realism and sensitivity.” Of course, that’s when Autism Speaks isn’t too busy sending their lawyers to intimidate real, live, speaking Autistic teens and adults and allies who criticize the organization.


A quick run down of questions that weren’t asked in the Today Show interview:


“Dena, how does your 19-year-old son, Connor, a college student and athlete with Autism, feel about the portrayal of Theo on Days of Our Lives?”


“Dena, how does your 19-year-old son, Connor, feel about the organization Autism Speaks?”


“Dena, did any person with Autism play a role in ensuring that the storyline ‘contains realism and sensitivity?'”


“Dena, has ‘Days of Our Lives’ ever hired a writer with a disability?” 


“Dena, doesn’t it strike you as strange that an organization called ‘Autism Speaks’ employs only neurotypical people to speak for Autism?”


Is it so hard to understand?  Really! I can be somewhat sympathetic to the neurotypical view that Autism must be difficult to live with, if one has never met a happy Autistic person, and I can understand that it’s not a big jump for many NTs from the reasonable ‘It would be nice if people with Autism could live with more autonomy if they wish to do so,’ to ‘Let’s cure Autism,’ but how is it that people just don’t even wonder why they’ve never heard someone with Autism thank Autism Speaks for their hard work in attempting to eradicate the condition that makes her who she is?


7 Responses to “‘Days of Our Lives’ Tackles Autism”

  1. abfh Says:

    Hi Saydrah. Blogspot automatically created a backlink to your post on my site, and that’s fine with me; I think you’ve raised very good questions here.

    In the three years that Autism Speaks has been in existence, I have seen a total of exactly one autistic person thanking them for their hard work in attempting to eradicate the condition; in fact, that was one of the comments made on the post to which you linked. However, I don’t think the person who wrote that comment has a clear understanding of what they mean by “eradicate.”

  2. saydrah Says:

    I noticed that comment, too, and I agree– perhaps he has not noticed the part about how the founder of Autism Speaks talks openly about how “normal” it is for parents of children with autism to fantasize about driving off a bridge with their kid in the car. Genocide if I ever heard it.

    I’d like to see a group eradicate the conditions in which some people with autism must live: Abusive institutions, for example. But eradicate the condition, autism, itself? Hell, no.

  3. cripchick Says:

    good god, it’s so scary how much power autism speaks has in mainstream media. a friend and i were doing a presentation on media and disability last week, did you know that the person who started autism speaks is the ceo of NBC?

  4. saydrah Says:

    Really? I think I remember reading something about Autism Speaks being founded by a media person, but I had no idea it was that bad. CEO! Wow.

  5. Jo Anne Guthrie Says:

    I am the grandmother of a 14 year old Aspbergers Austic GRANDdaughter. She does have definite problems in ‘some’ areas but is ‘over the top’ in others’ . She has undergone theraphy to help her and us cope. PLEASE, do not paint this as the end of the world for those effected. It does present problems, but , it is not a death sentence. Suicide is an underlying ‘solution’ that they do think of when they can’t cope, we went through that. PLEASE, give positive story lines as to accepting and handling. It is frustrating BUT it can be handled. Praise God that she does not Cancer or some other catostrophic disease. JG

  6. saydrah Says:

    Hi Jo Anne,

    You seem like a wonderful grandmother! I hope Days of Our Lives will give positive storylines also, though with Autism Speaks’ involvement, I doubt it. I am glad you see the positive aspects of your granddaughter’s diagnosis, and I am sorry to hear she felt suicidal in the past. I hope she is feeling better now and appreciates the love and support of an accepting, tolerant grandmother.

  7. Not that I’m impressed a lot, but this is more than I expected for when I found a link on Furl telling that the info here is awesome. Thanks.

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