Michael Savage of “Savage Nation”: Autism Is A Fraud, A Racket.

(Update: Here is a link to an online petition to fire Mike Savage.)

I usually shoot for funny or sarcastic with the majority of my posts. But this one is far too personal; can’t get to the silly place today. Why?

Well, in short, Mike Savage thinks our daughter is a brat.

(BTW, I’ve tried to reload the Media Matters embedded soundtrack and have gotten it work about 20% of the time- if you click on “our daughter is a brat” link, you can play the actual recording.

And for the record, while my daughter does love to tease, especially her older sister as younger siblings are all wont to do, she is NOT a brat! Just a really terrific kid with autism.)

Oh yeah- and minority children faked their asthma, too.

“[W]hy was there an asthma epidemic amongst minority children? Because I’ll tell you why: The children got extra welfare if they were disabled, and they got extra help in school. It was a money racket. Everyone went in and was told [fake cough], ‘When the nurse looks at you, you go [fake cough], “I don’t know, the dust got me.” ‘ See, everyone had asthma from the minority community.”

Regarding autism, estimated to affect 1 out of 150 children born in America, Savage continues:

On his nationally syndicated radio show, Michael Savage claimed that autism is “[a] fraud, a racket. … I’ll tell you what autism is. In 99 percent of the cases, it’s a brat who hasn’t been told to cut the act out.

That’s what autism is.

What do you mean they scream and they’re silent? They don’t have a father around to tell them, ‘Don’t act like a moron. You’ll get nowhere in life. Stop acting like a putz. Straighten up. Act like a man. Don’t sit there crying and screaming, idiot.’ ”

Savage concluded, “[I]f I behaved like a fool, my father called me a fool. And he said to me, ‘Don’t behave like a fool.’ The worst thing he said — ‘Don’t behave like a fool. Don’t be anybody’s dummy. Don’t sound like an idiot. Don’t act like a girl. Don’t cry.’ That’s what I was raised with.

That’s what you should raise your children with. Stop with the sensitivity training. You’re turning your son into a girl, and you’re turning your nation into a nation of losers and beaten men. That’s why we have the politicians we have.”

WOW- have a personal issue or three, Mike?

Autism and asthma caused Larry Craig, David Vitter, and John McCain? WTF???As you might imagine, this little burst of sheer ignorance has caused a bit of outrage among parents and others.

Via Wall Street Journal, this statement:

The National Autism Association (NAA) today joins thousands of parents around the country in demanding an apology and retraction from radio talk show host Mike Savage for his July 16 broadcast in which he stated that children affected by autism are “brats,” and that bad parenting is to blame for a “fraudulent” epidemic now affecting one in 150 children.

“Autism is a very serious condition that greatly impacts the lives of those affected,” said NAA board member Lori McIlwain. “Many children with autism experience tremendous physical pain from underlying pathologies, which accounts for the screaming this person callously dismisses. To have an uneducated opinion about autism is perfectly within one’s right, but to earn a living by shock-value exploitation of children’s suffering, while suggesting they should be called ‘idiots,’ is disgraceful.

While the symptoms of autism often include unusual or negative behaviors, there are serious underlying medical issues that cause these symptoms. “To suggest that these kids and their parents are to blame for autism is just plain ignorant,” said NAA vice president Ann Brasher, who has a grandson diagnosed with autism. “The devastating emotional toll autism takes on families is unfathomable to those like Mr. Savage who haven’t lived with it. He owes an apology to children and their parents for trivializing their pain.”

NAA has also requested time on The Savage Garden to educate his audience about autism.

To lodge a complaint against Mike Savage, here’s how:

Michael Savage

michaelsavage@paulreveresociety.com

Talk Radio Network

P.O. Box 3755

Central Point, Oregon 97502

Phone: 541-664-8827

Fax: 541-664-6250

The Savage Nation

The Paul Revere Society

150 Shoreline Hwy, Bldge E

Mill Valley, CA 94941

Fax: 415-339-9383

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Where to start with this…

1. First, I wish I had the ability to make sure this person never was on the air again. Far too many people listen to ill-informed opinions like this and believe the garbage they hear to be true and factually based.

2. Second, I wish enough people who listen to his deranged rantings would finally see him for what he, Rush and others really are and denounce this sort of vicious attack upon other human beings.

3. Third, I wish enough research was being funded to find out not only what causes autism, but also enough funding was available so that those families with an autistic member could get all of the therapies and support they need for the entire lifetime of the autistic person.

4. Fourth, I wish that a better health care system were in place for this country, to help offset the incredible costs involved with autism.

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As I’ve mentioned from time to time, Charlie and I have 2 daughters: Mary (our newly minted teenager) and Jean. Jean is 10 and delightfully funny, caring, sweet- and autistic.

When she was almost 3, she was diagnosed as having “autism or PPD/NOS”. And frankly, I went into shock and denial, as we had no family history whatsoever.

At that point in her life, Jean was nonverbal. Instead, she made horrible keening sounds and grunts. She would become horribly frustrated, as she didn’t know what communication was, let alone how to perform it. She would hit herself or others out of frustration, bash her head into walls, and throw everything within arm reach.

She was terrified of loud noises (especially motorcycles and trucks), dogs, and a gazillion sensory distractions, as well as horribly shy and claustrophobic. Going into a store was painful for her, as well as riding in a car for more than 5 miles.

She didn’t say “Dad” until she was 4. And when she did, we all cried. I will never forget that moment as long as I live.

She was not completely toilet-trained until this past year, at age 9. She was a third grader with extra pull-ups in her backpack.

Upon diagnosis, Jean was enrolled in a very busy schedule of speech, applied behavioral, physical and occupational therapies. She attended an amazing pre-school with a one-on-one therapist trained in helping special needs children.

She repeated kindergarten and has had a one-on-one teacher within our local school system for years, with continued focus on those same therapies, as well as mainstream education goals. She spends 20% of her time with her homeroom class, having the same phys ed, art, music, library and recess times they do. She is one of 17 kids in the Spec Ed classes within a school that promotes fairness and acceptance for all.

This spring, she was able to perform in the school concert- her classmates helped her with her stage fright and to remember what to do. What beautiful people this community has within it.

The differences in Jean now are amazing. She can talk and communicate quite clearly, is learning how to read, write and do simple math, and has a bright future. She just completed her first set of swim lessons, having previously been terrifed of pools. Swimming at the local beach is now her favorite thing.

She has competed in a variety of local Special Olympic events and is especially good at the 200m dash. Last year, she came in dead last- this year, she beat 2 of those same classmates and came in second.

Our kid ROCKS!!

Last summer, she got frustrated with herself and asked me, “Mom, what’s wrong with Jean??” I thought about it and said, “Honey, you have something called autism. It doesn’t mean that you’re not smart or that you can’t do something- but it does mean that like Mom needs her glasses to see, sometimes you need help to learn how to do stuff. And it’s okay to ask for help when you need it.” She thought about that, said “oh- okay” and has been fine ever since.

Best advice EVER regarding frustration came from one of her favorite shows, Blue’s Clues. On her bedroom door, there is a sign which reads:

“Are You Frustrated?”

1. Stop

2. Take A Deep Breath

3. Think

4. Start Over

This has become our family mantra in many ways, and probably a good part of the reason why we are not in the “80% divorce rate for autistic families” that has been mentioned again and again. Jean’s autism is a fact of our lives and a challenge, but it also has not destroyed our family. Is every day easy? Gah, NO. Some days, Charlie and I get so upset and frustrated ourselves, as we try to balance having one autistic child and one not.

But we are both here, involved, and happy with our family and each other. No matter what the Mike Savages of the world and others of his ilk may think of our child’s “brattiness” or of our parenting choices.

Including Charlie’s sister, who has never met our children (lives thankfully thousands of miles away), but recently wrote that “you and Louise are the only people responsible for that (Jean’s autism), the consequences of your actions and denials that have made your daughter the person she is today. I DO NOT wish that upon any parent.” Gotta love the ultra-conservative rich, huh?

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