Once he finished school, John became eligible for Social Security disability payments. When my husband took John to apply, the Social Security worker filling out the forms asked, "Why are there all these young people with autism going on disability?"
Evidently, she hadn't yet heard the really big lie, being she was so surprised at all the people with autism. My husband told her to get used to it, there were lots more coming, including many who were severely disabled in need of much more help than John.
The reaction of the young Social Security worker could be a sign that we're fast approaching a crisis with the really big lie that threatens to expose it to all.
Right now, eighty percent of autistic Americans are under the age of 18. This is another thing nobody seems to think about. What happens when one out of every 166 eighteen-year-olds goes on disability for life with autism?
Years ago, I used to hear projections about the enormous cost to society when the baby boomer generation retired. I don't hear anything about the generation with autism. They won't have pension plans, IRA's, veteran's benefits, or home equity. They will never pay into Social Security, but they will need to live on disability payments for life.
I don't know how much longer the really big lie is going to work. Throughout history, there have been many plagues and diseases that have resulted in the deaths of millions, but this will be the first time a society has been left with a generation of disabled young people to care for.
When the American taxpayers realize that their bill for all this "greater awareness and better diagnosing" will be in the trillions, I don't think they're going to buy the really big lie.
I suppose government officials will then have to invent a new lie. Only this time it will have to be a really, REALLY big lie and I can hardly wait to see what they come up with.
Anne McElroy Dachel
Chippewa Falls, WI
Mother of a son with autism
(Advocates for Children's Health Affected by Mercury Poisoning)