OVER THE WEEKEND I worked to support a client with autism on respite, giving his parents a much needed break. The cost of a mere two days away from home for myself and another support worker to assist the client was well over £600. This is on the back of recent news that autism costs an estimated £1.5M over a person’s life time for the parents and organisations involved in care (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-27742716).
Well the crux of the anecdote isn’t the cost of autism care, it is about breakfast the following day at the hotel. As myself and let’s call her Lucy and the client who we’ll call Robert got into the lift an elderly American began to talk to Robert in a kindly way which was nice. She complements us on the good work we are doing – how nice.
Later on at breakfast she talks to Lucy about the work we are doing as she is trying to get her breakfast at the buffet. More pleasantries and she divulges that she also works with autism back in the states – very good.
Then as American Woman was leaving, while all three of us were eating breakfast, she came over and started rubbing the back of Lucy. Thankfully this was accompanied by some chat as well which went like this:
“You guys are doing an amazing job. Really, You must have hearts of gold.” Rub, rub.
And in typical American fashion, without missing a beat, she asks, “Do you go to church?”
“Not me,” I say. Lucy makes a face. Robert is wondering what’s going on.
American Woman continues, “Well, either way you are good people. You’re doing a great job.”
What pisses me the fuck off, other than the need to bring religion within spitting distance of autism in this scenario, is what she was insinuating was that were we religious we would be doing an even better job. Somehow religiosity would enhance the goodness of what myself and Lucy were doing for Robert. American Woman was saying, “You’re great people, but if you went to church you’d be even better, despite the fact that religion has zero impact on the quality of your work (and shouldn’t).
Classic American ignorance and small mindedness. I don’t think anyone from anyone other nation would be so brazen as to mention church going in relation to support work. Bizarre.