What the Autistic Community is Saying About Trump’s Tax Bill

autism and the tax bill

Congress has moved closer to turning President Trump’s tax bill into law with both the Senate and House passing different versions of it. Now a conference committee process begins where lawmakers from both sides attempt to reconcile their differences and create a mutually agreed-upon bill for the American people. One important debate will include handling a deduction that many Americans take for high medical expenses. This deduction is repealed by the House, but expanded by the Senate. Below is a brief summary of how the changes presented in the tax bill might affect disabled individuals and how the autistic community has reacted.

“Suffering” Parents and Dehumanizing People on the Spectrum

There is a tendency for people on the spectrum to be portrayed as burdens to their families in the media. Sometimes this is the angle of the journalist reporting a story, and other times, it comes from the voice of a parent. Sometimes this narrative can even attempt to justify parent or caregiver murder of someone on the spectrum. Unfortunately, this portrayal has damaged public perception of autistic people, and many on the spectrum have spoken out against it.

Carelessly Linking Autism to Violent Crime

linking autism to violent crime

We’ve all heard it. The media has been (intentionally or not) linking autism to violent crime over the past few years in the United States. A few years ago it was Sandy Hook. More recently it has been the Umpqua Community College Shooting. Mentioning that a shooter is on the spectrum along with a description of the violent crimes he has committed inaccurately inflates the significance of autism in these situations. People without intimate knowledge of autism hear this reporting and continue developing misconceptions and stereotypes about autistic people. The autistic community has spoken out on numerous occasions requesting that the media avoid making unwarranted connections because of the inaccuracies they imply and the damage the link does to people living on the spectrum.

Autism Wars: Can’t We All Just Get Along?

autism wars

Parents of autistic children are at war. Autism tends to produce polarizing supporters, perhaps because of the spectrum of symptoms. One major argument comes from parents of “higher-functioning” autistic children advocating for neurodiversity and even the perspective of embracing autism as a “gift” while parents of more severely disabled or “lower-functioning” autistic children insisting that autism is no “gift” but rather something they would shed in a second if they were given the option. Unfortunately, this debate has been as much in the public view as information about the complexities of autism itself.