Throwing the BS flag

One of the guys I work with always says “I’m going to have to throw the BS flag on that” for a comment or a statement that he thinks is BS. He’s a big sports enthusiast and coach of his son’s baseball and basketball teams so he uses sports type references all of the time. I like this expression and have adopted it. So recently there was an article in the NY Times and a piece on Good Morning America about parents of an adult with autism that used Disney movies and characters as a way to get their son with autism (nope, still not saying autistic) to speak and have conversation. So a little bit I need to throw the BS flag. I am not discounting what these people said or did or their success. Since this young man is now 22, who knows if what he had was not really autism at all. He might have had seizure disorder or something else. The criteria for autism or autism spectrum disorder is different today than it was then. I am not here to judge what another family does to work with their child. After all, these kids come with no instructions, protocol, treatment path, nada. There is no roadmap, damn we are all Christopher Columbus with 3 boats and no captains. However, where I get concerned and where I need to say “please hold” before you all go out and order the 27 dvd box set from Disney is that every kid or each kid with autism is completely different. This is more than just a casual remark; it is profound and it is one of the factors that differentiates autism from other disorders. The quantifiable info just can’t exist. We have 3 other families that we know very well. When we all used to spend time together there were at least 6 kids with autism among us. We practically had the whole spectrum there; a literal Venn diagram of delay disorders. So while I don’t want to throw the BS flag at this family per se, but at the whole, I throw it at the this will work for you too. Not that it isn’t a good idea, but I just feel caught in the chasm between what is good and well-intentioned and what is the cure. Perhaps I am coming off negative. I know it’s a good idea to publicize. I know it’s a good idea to try new things. But I guess more than anything I am of the mindset, if anything looks too good to be true, it probably is and some of these things, methods, fixes just seem to give people the wrong impression. Admittedly, I am biased but I still feel like a disclaimer of sort needs to appear on all of these new stories, not unlike when they advertise meds. This worked for X but may not work for you. Or, this may cause other side effects such as X or Y. I also throw it at the people who say their child has autism but doesn’t. Yes, Jenny McCarthy I am talking to you.
However, I am not cold-hearted and do appreciate the triumph of this family and this young man. It is fabulous to see a kid on the spectrum find his voice, literally and figuratively. I am also extremely happy as a parent that they can find a way to communicate with their child. I think it is essential that we remain open to new ideas, just not to cling to them like they are a magic pill. If you have a kid with autism and you are still waiting for the magic pill, stop on your way home to buy a lottery ticket to pay your bills. Same reasoning. It could happen, but really, what are the odds?

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