disabled“Make America great, again,” is a refrain that echoes through the collective American consciousness. I find myself wondering what will be the defining moment(s) or policies that will return America to her glory? How will we know when America is great, again?  What does that look like, feel like, sound like?

President Trump spoke of empowering the American people in his inauguration speech, saying: “Today’s ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the American people.”

Does this mean that America will be great when the will of the people guides the policies that shape our national agenda?

If this is the case than why are so many Americans being silenced or ignored in Trump’s America?  Many pages of the White House website have been removed since President Trump was inaugurated, including the disability section.  If the pages were simply being updated what is the harm in leaving the old ones up until such a time the new information is available? Is part of making American great, again limiting access to information?

A minority can be described as anyone who does not enjoy immediate access to power.  People with disabilities almost always fall into this category and to remove many references of persons with disabilities from the White House website further enforces their minority status.  It is hard to believe that this action was not taken with malice given President Trump rocky history regarding disability acceptance.

As a parent of a child with nonverbal autism I am most concerned with his lack of understanding and acceptance of autism. Throughout the course of his campaign and in the early days of his presidency, President Trump has made numerous mentions of autism that reflect a lack of understanding of the disorder. His thoughtless and uniformed comments are not only hurtful to those of who live with autism every single day but to do those who know little about it. Said another way, he is spreading misinformation that is perpetuating stereotypes and misnomers about autism.

5 Things Everyone Should Know About Autism

  • A popular quote in the autism community frequently attributed to Stephen Shore, “If you know one person with autism, you know one person with autism.” Some people with autism live independent lives whereas others are more severely impacted and require a great deal of support. Similarly, some people with autism face additional challenges like learning differences or medical co-conditions (GI problems, chronic insomnia). It is important to recognize that autism is a spectrum disorder and impacts each affected person differently; therefore, one should take care not to make overgeneralizations about what autism is and is not.
  • The prevalence of autism is increasing but there are many reasons for this. The CDC said the rapid increase was likely a product of the change in diagnosis and the expansion of what was considered part of the autism spectrum, in addition to unknown causesthat research may yet uncover. More children being born to older parents or born prematurely may have also accounted for some of the rise.
  • People with autism are not with empathy. Many studies have been conducted to examine this question and what most of them find is that it may appear that people with autism lack empathy because of their communications challenges.
  • No one knows the exact the cause of autism; however, there is consensus among the medical community that immunizations are not the cause. It is understandable that parents who have a form of autism marked by major regressions would believe that immunizations are the cause. However, by accepting, against the belief of the medical community, that immunizations cause autism is giving rise to the return of many deadly illnesses.
  • Autism is a difficult and challenging disorder to live with but it is also beautiful. I firmly believe my daughter would not the person she is, the person who I love dearly, if she didn’t have autism.