Seatbelts And Autism: Unbuckling The Truth


I’m a mom, which is a lot like being a scientist, but instead of experiments and data we use intuition and gossip. I take parenting pretty seriously. I blog about it, I talk about it, and most importantly, I have a child that I pay attention to sometimes. His name is Mason, he’s 12 years old, and he’s autistic.

When I diagnosed my son with autism, it was a huge relief. Finally I had some answers. His entire life up until that point, I thought he was just a loser. After all of the nights I spent crying myself to sleep, knowing Mason was in the other room playing Animal Crossing until four in the morning, I could finally write off my inability to accept my son’s idiosyncrasies as an incurable disease. Suddenly, I had something to brag about. But, this was just the first step.

There’s a lot of theories as to what causes autism – mercury in vaccines, climate change, the Bermuda triangle – but none of those answers satisfied me. I was unable to vaccinate my son as I am legally barred from any facility with hypodermic needles, and as a proud conservative, I do not believe in climate change or anything in South America. There had to be something else. There had to be a reason behind my son’s autism, and I knew the doctors and the scientists weren’t going to provide me with answers.

That’s when it hit me. Seatbelts. Mason had always hated wearing a seatbelt, and I stupidly always forced him to wear it.

“Nooo moom, I hate it.”

“I don’t care Mason! If we get pulled over, the police will take mommy’s drink and mommy will go to jail. Do you want mommy to go to jail? That’s very selfish of you, Mason.”

But it wasn’t selfish of Mason. It was selfish of me. Sort of.

I can’t help but feel like I’m partially to blame for my son’s autism. Seatbelts are supposed to protect children, but after talking to other parents of children I’ve diagnosed with autism, I’ve realized there’s a strong correlation between autistic behavior and rejection of seatbelts. Just why exactly is this? If it’s good for the child, wouldn’t the child recognize that? Of course they would. We’ve all been sold a lie by the auto manufacturers, and now we’re paying the price. But why would they lie to us? For the answer, I quote the great Lester Freamon: follow the money.

Big seatbelt profits off of children having autism. Think about the one mode of vehicular transportation that isn’t required to provide seatbelts – the school bus. This is a huge loss to Big Seatbelt, but they can’t push for seatbelts on school buses because they know that the connection to autism would be discovered immediately. The best practice in business is to follow the path of least resistance: instead of trying to get seatbelts on the school buses, you have to get the children off of the bus. How do you do that? Well, you have to make the child incapable of riding a bus by himself and being around peers. You have to make the child a target for bullying – you have to give the child autism. Suddenly, they have to be driven to school every day. Suddenly, that child is wearing nothing but seatbelts. An autistic child will never live an independent life, and will forever rely on you to drive them to Gamestop or Wizards of The Coast – not just until they are eighteen, but for the rest of their lives.

That’s the play right there, my friends. That’s the wool over our eyes.

I made my son wear a seatbelt, and because of that, he will never have a girlfriend or learn a sport. He will never have friends or be liked by very many people. It almost makes me glad that he has his dead beat father’s last name instead of my dead beat father’s last name.

It’s too late for my son, and it’s too late for me. So my message today is that of a cautionary example – don’t be like me, and don’t let your children be like Mason. I implore all parents out there to stop buckling your children up. Stop restraining their natural human inclination to be free. An open belt is an open mind, and a buckled child is a constraint on our nation’s future.

Please forward this to friends and family, we have to get the word out. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

I like recipes and my kids.

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