Autism: Is It A Disease Or Is It Just A Health Condition?

A recent news on The Sydney Morning Herald about a young girl to be deported due to Autism got me thinking. The deportation came after the 16 year old girl, Sumaya Bhuiyan, was found to have “moderate development delay” in 2013 that resulted in a failed immigration medical assessments. Sumaya along with her mother and brother are residing in Sydney for the past eight years. Her mother first applied for the Permanent Residency in 2013 which was rejected by the immigration due to Sumaya’s condition.

It was only last month when Sumaya’s mother, a successful GP in two clinics in Sydney, was told that the Assistant Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has reviewed the case and found it “was not in the public interest” resulting in no choice but to leave the country. A country where the family has made home, friends and are doing well enough to pay taxes.

This news has been widely criticised by all those with hearts. How can a Minister tear a family apart because of a health condition? Or does he think Autism is a disease? Is this how he is building an awareness to this condition? What kind of a message is he delivering to the new generation?

What is Autism- A Disease or a Health Condition?

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Autism or more commonly known as Autism Spectrum Disorders, in plain words, is a condition that is developed during birth and stays for life. A person with Autism has difficulty to be social, sometimes is sensory sensitive, underdeveloped in language and communication skill and has recurring behaviour. Sometimes, the condition may not be severe. An Autistic child may have better language and communication skill but may lack in social interaction and may have sensory sensitivity. That child can attend a public school but the progress will depend on the overall situation. In this case, Sumaya has been attending a public school and has made friends.

Let’s forget about Sumaya for a while. Let’s draw an example of a child with severe Autism. What happens to this child? The parents will of course arrange special care that includes special schooling. A lot of money will be spent on the special care, especially if both the parents are working to earn full bread for the family. All these will result in a higher cost to the Australian taxpayers, something which our dearest Assistant Minister is so concerned about.

Anyway, whatever form of Autism a person suffers from, it clearly defines to be a health condition. Because Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition and definitely not a disease. To be honest, being heartless is a disease. A person, who kind of represents a country, cannot separate a family or violate a family’s human rights.

The Message

The Assistant Minister is sending a horrible message to the Australians. As per his perspective, we shall disregard Autistic people from the society and look down upon them, because, hey, they compose zero value to our society. We shall bear no respect whatsoever because their disabilities refrain them to mix with us. And so on and so on.

No, the message WE want to spread is that they deserve every ounce of respect in this world as much as we do. Because they are part of our society. They deserve extra love and attention. They deserve to be with their family and friends. They are worthy of Permanent Residency and Citizenship.

Also because we want to show people like Sumaya Bhuiyan that we don’t want them to leave a country and be bullied by unfair justice.

Sumaiya Kabir

Sumaiya is a passionate writer and an aspiring journalist. She wants her dream to chase her. She does not believe in 'The sky's the limit' instead, she believes that you can go beyond the sky if you are adamant.

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