Alan Zarembo points out an important issue for families dealing with autism in his second article: not all have the resources to make navigating systems and services a household-member’s full time job. Children whose parents are under financial stress, work long hours, do not speak English, experience prejudice for other characteristics, or are not adept at handling bureaucrats struggle for fairness in social welfare systems. What Zarembo fails to acknowledge is the reason: when there are not enough resources to go around, people in a position to be assertive will get them. “Waging a small war with gatekeepers” is necessary because Zarembo’s assertion that parents use an autism diagnosis to snatch additional educational resources for children who do not need it are false. An interviewed mother told the reporter she sought services from the state and was turned away. Children whose parents are not in a position to fight slip through the cracks.
Most autistic people in this article are fairly young or not known to be communicative in verbal, but it is disconcerting that the story is still doughnut-shaped. It encircles its central characters without touching them, highlighting the absence of their perspectives.