Article on autism needed more balance
I wish to provide another perspective in response to the recent article on the challenges of autism, "Troubled face of autism" (July 22, 2001). The characteristics of the young men described represents just a subset of individuals with autism spectrum disorders. The emphasis on their extreme behaviors therefore does a disservice to individuals fortunate to be less affected, and their families who are constantly striving to overcome societal attitudinal barriers about autism. Some individuals with autism are not violent or self-injurious and do not require expensive private placements.
Perhaps the writer should have researched the web site of the Autism Society of America (ASA) www.autism-society.org for more balanced background information. There one will discover that autism is not necessarily a "severely debilitating disorder," but better described as a complex developmental disability resultant from a neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain in the areas of social interaction and communication skills.
Every person with autism is an individual, with a unique personality and combination of characteristics ... as different as snowflakes. Mildly affected individuals may exhibit only slight delays in language and difficulty with routine social interactions; but by learning to compensate for and cope with their unique neurology, are able to live and work independently in the community (drive a car, earn a college degree, get married).
Frank L. Wise
The writer is co-president, Anne Arundel County Chapter of the Autism Society of America
Developer shouldn't speak for residents
I cannot stand by and let a Baltimore County developer insult Anne Arundel County citizens and our elected officials ("New park debate not all fun, games," July 12). Les Jenkins claims our elected officials don't care about us because they oppose his plans to build a motorsports "fun" park along Furnace Branch. Nothing could be further from the truth! Our county executive, county councilwoman and state legislative delegation know ... most Glen Burnie residents do not want a half-million more cars added to the already-horrible traffic near Ritchie Highway and Ordnance Road. They know we do not want more gas, oil and other pollution added to the Critical Area near Furnace Branch, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. They know we do not want to wait in even longer lines to unload trash at the Dover Road convenience center.
Why shouldn't these elected officials listen to our concerns? After all, it is we who live, vote - and pay taxes - in Anne Arundel County. Mr. Jenkins lives and votes in Baltimore County, so maybe he should go back home and build his motorsports project there instead of trying to tell us what's best for our community.