Busting the hysterical fear-mongering sales ploy

Published on October 24, 2012 by in News


Hey, hucksters! Example of a sales pitch illustrating how to ensure that I never buy your books or products: “If you have a child with autism, you know that life is NOT like a roller coaster ride. It’s more like hanging upside down on a triple corkscrew that makes sudden and surprising stops in shark infested waters . . .” So weary of hysteria, hyperbole and fear-mongering as marketing and fund-raising tools. If this is the sales pitch, we can only imagine the tone of the books.

We would all do well to re-evaluate inflammatory clichéd metaphors such as “shark-infested waters” before applying them to our kids. In the concrete-thinking world, if we were to find ourselves in shark-infested waters, we would do well to remember that we would be invading their habitat, their natural environment. If they react defensively, it is no less than we would do should an invader we perceive as dangerous invade our home turf. The shark’s behavior is not evil. It is understandable, justifiable, and provoked.

As for the insinuation that autism turns our kids into the metaphorical stereotype of sharks, my contempt for this kind of thinking knows no bounds. Life with a child with autism is indeed a roller coaster ride, because life itself is a roller coaster ride. One of my favorite Jed Baker quotes: “People with autism are like everyone else, only more so.” So, we’re on the Coney Island Cyclone instead of the kiddie coaster. The view from the top is spectacular.

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