Autism and breast cancer worship

Since someone started a thread about soldier worship, I decided to start this one, because it seems that in some circles, being the mother of an autistic child or a breast cancer survivor means you’re, like, a goddess or something.

I know it’s tough, and you have to deal with a lot of dashed dreams, but c’mon. You aren’t, and your poop still smells bad. People who have other special needs kids or type of cancer don’t seem to act this way, nor does the media make it out to be some warm, fuzzy thing no family’s life is complete without.

Move this to the Pit if you feel it belongs there.

BTW, my mother is a BCS and I have relatives on the autistic spectrum.

My son is firmly on the autistic spectrum, unfortunately. My wife is “the mother of an autistic child”. I don’t see any indication, in any circle she is in, that she is treated in any way like a goddess. In fact, I don’t really see her treated any differently because of it. I am quite surprised to see your post, frankly, at least the “mother of an autistic child” thing. Don’t know anyone who had breast cancer, so can’t really respond to that.

Breast cancer worship is a sub-sect of breast worship.

I don’t see so much autism-mom worship as autism-mom martyrdom.

That doesn’t make any sense, I worship breasts but I would never worship breast cancer.


My friend got involved with a man who has a son with autism. The bio mom was on drugs and abused them. They worked for two years to get custody of him. My friend is mid-40s and never had any kids of her own. In the past 6 months that they’ve had custody, she has worked her ass off with this kid, who is 9 and being potty trained. Now she deserves credit!

Small. But growing.

Awww, the OP has been neglected! He’s the one with truly special needs, but nobody understands…

He’s been spending too much time watching a subset of the more mawkish daytime TV shows. (Is being jobless part of his problem?) And not enough time dealing with life.

Change the channel. Read a book. Go to school. Keep trying to get work.

And that’s how threadshitting works, kids!

I know people in both classes. They do generally find some social approval among their friends, people who know how much effort it takes to raise an autistic child, and how much unpleasantness (understatement) is involved in breast cancer.

Gods or goddesses? No. Just the admiration we feel for people who have done something very difficult. I admire people who’ve started their own businsses, or who run in marathons, or, heck, just people who raise kids in general! Healthy kids are hard work to raise well!

What’s the point of trying to reduce the amount by which good people are thought well of? “You like your friends too much; start cutting back a bit. Praise them less often.” How would that improve the world?

She gets a pass. Her boobs are autistic.


I understand what the OP is saying.

I’ll give a BC example. A friend who has had BC called the other day and she was a little bent out of shape. We both know the local breast cancer hero - the one that got a tattoo where her breast used to be and got a front page picture in the local newspaper.

Friend had gotten a call from Hero to tell her that now Hero had stomach cancer. And when Friend commiserated Hero said something on the order of, “Yeah, but you’ve only had BC.”

Meh. Life hands us all tough times. Some of us fight hard and advertise it. Others fight hard silently. Whatever works to get you by.

On second thought I’m not as “Meh” as I thought. I am realizing that I hold the ones who have a greater need for social support to be more responsible in their support for others.

The school where my wife teaches (BTW, she teaches special needs and is certified to teach Autisic) added 4 Autism units last year. What we had was an all-out awareness blitz because having these students integrated into the life of the school was a real shocker for some parents and kids will be kids. Even some of the teachers didn’t want any of these kids mainstreamed into their classroom for even an hour a day. Part of the awareness program explained to parents and students the “spectrum” that exists from Aspergers to high functioning autism to severe autism.

I give those parents credit for “hanging in there” because many do not. Have seen marriages fall apart, people lose jobs and some pretty rude behavior on the part of the parents of “normal” kids.

As for breast cancer, I think it’s a combination of how many people are touched by the disease (my mother is a survivor) and some very good “marketing” by the various foundations, associations, etc.

This Mother Of An Autistic Child has noticed it, too:

Why does she have to say “As the mother of a child with autism…” when she is talking about chewable vitamins?

I knew a woman like this too. She had 3 children who were all apparently “on the spectrum” although in my (admittedly limited) interaction with them, they all seemed like normal kids. But she mentioned the autism every time she talked about them. It was really weird.

Best selling author Barbara Ehrenreich is a BCS, and when she was diagnosed, her doctor gave her this souvenir catalogue with every kind of pink merchandise you could possibly imagine, and she thought the “Breast Cancer Bear” was the most demeaning thing she had ever seen. :dubious:

Where did the kids with autism go to school before? I can think of several people I grew up with who I now believe were on the spectrum, and when I was in elementary school in the early 1970s, there was a boy in another class who had very severe behavior problems who was sent away to a state facility, and we were told that the reason was “childhood schizophrenia”, which was often a misnomer for autism. There was also a residential care facility in my neighborhood for “emotionally disturbed children”, and while most of them probably had what is now called Reactive Attachment Disorder (they never bonded with anyone at birth), there are two who really stand out who I now believe were on the autistic spectrum. This facility had their own school, but higher functioning kids went to the neighborhood schools, and most of the time, we couldn’t tell they were from this place until they told us. One thing that WAS consistent was that no matter what their IQ may have been, they were always several grade levels behind where they should have been. :frowning: That was even true for the boy who was enrolled in the G&T program.

This treatment center is still there, and it appears that most of the kids who live there now are youngsters who were in the foster care system but their behavior problems were too severe for them to live in a family setting.

That reminds me of the woman who went to my church when I was a teenager who had a baby with Down Syndrome, but she almost couldn’t use a sentence without telling you that his developmental delays were due to his prematurity. (He was born about a month before the due date, which is common with DS children.) She was clearly in denial.

My brother and his wife have some friends whose tween-age son was diagnosed with Asperger’s as a preschooler, and he did have early intervention. My brother, who himself has a special needs child (not autism) has said, “He seems perfectly normal to me, but then again, I don’t live with him.”

It is a bit weird. I know that every time I talk about my kid, I try not to mention his autism unless it is very relevant to the conversation.