Sunday, February 11, 2007

Spell this: Autism in the News

I was all set to write one last "Funday Sunday" post about the Pro Bowl. For a change, the game last night was fun and exciting to watch. We bonded as a family as we ate quesadillas and talked about football one last time.
Then I woke up this morning and read the Sunday paper. Ouch.
This headline "Chilton student overcomes autism to win spelling bee, advance to state contest" caught our attention. Overcomes autism? Did he leave his autism offstage as the spelling bee began? Did some magical cure turn up just before the competition?
How about "Student with autism wins spelling bee" or "Student demonstrates excellent memory and spelling skills despite disability" instead? The student in question is an excellent speller and strong student in many ways, according to the article. Autism could have been an factor in the stress of the competition, but this is a factor for neurotypical students as well.
I am always happy to read of children with autism succeeding in school. The misleading headline, however, may be all some readers see. This is a successful student with autism who shows a talent for spelling. He did not "overcome" his autism in order to be successful.
Editors need to be more thoughtful and insightful when putting these banners in print.

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Blogger Joy said...

way to go local newspaper, with yet another, inappropriate title/caption. Good job. Lets mail them a box with bunny turds inside.

2/12/2007 11:37 AM  
Blogger Mocha said...

Excellent. Like we can ALL overcome everything we have.

"Oh, it's ok boys and girls! You can OVERCOME depression! And autism! And dyslexia! Even that anxiety disorder! Yes, you'll be ready for public speaking in NO TIME."

Wow. You do read Friday Playdate, right? She'd love to see this.

2/12/2007 4:47 PM  

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