National Association of Parents of Autistic People
Does it make sense to stick together, if our best intentions and programs for the future melt like snow at the first signs of a crisis? What Government is this, who throws overboard a surplus, the non-producers, those who cannot raise our GNP, so as to avoid falling into the pit of the financial markets in crisis? A Government who, in adhering to a distorted interpretation of the common good, prevents us from revitalizing the criteria established by the European Union? It matters little if in this case, the community in question, unconscious players in a reality show resembling a social abattoir, consists mainly of those who would give anything to be able to enjoy a normal existence, like the one enjoyed by their peers.
That existence would enable them to achieve a diploma, to find a job, to create a family. None of this is permitted to people with intellectual and social disabilities who, in the majority of cases, find themselves in a situation of grave handicap, for example Autism. Their disadvantaged condition can be overcome only if their environment can be adapted and modified so a to become comprehensible and accessible to interaction with the outside environment and those who live in it. This is an uphill struggle from birth, when the first signs of inadequacy in their ability to socialize become evident, and it requires an early diagnosis to allow the start of special educational programs, tailor-made towards the gradual teaching of those skills, which all other children learn naturally. Such programs will contain or prevent a progressive intellectual deficit. This is a very onerous undertaking, also on the personal level, a major burden on the family which is only partly offset by the financial assistance available to people who are not entirely self-sufficient.
It is doubly unacceptable to profit from the disabled, by proposing to raise the legal eligibility threshold and cutting the funding to local authorities. This is due to the targeting of a community of second-class citizens, most of whom are the recipients of fluctuating benefits, and are generally classified as parasites who do not contribute in any way to Italian society, although we know that the presence of one disabled boy or girl within a class at school will improve peer relations.
What’s more, these measures will stymie all strategies directed at the inclusion of people with disabilities into society, evident in all projects revolving around the principle‘now and after us’. If we consider that the savings achieved by raising the disability threshold will be shamefully miniscule, it becomes legitimate to suspect that once again an attempt is being made to ride on the wave of urban mythology and solemn declarations, resulting in a failure to grasp with the issue of public expenditure in terms of the wastage which is apparent for everyone to see.
These measures arouse a suspicion that our parliamentary majority, who voted for a pro-life agenda and prohibited at all costs the legalization of euthanasia, is now planning to slowly snuff out people with disabilities, by denying them a future with dignity. All of this is taking place against the silence of public opinion, distracted by the scandal of a blind man who was caught reading.
So far, no-one has had the courage to call these proposals by an appropriate name: perhaps ‘coup de grace’ would be it.
* ANGSA Veneto ONLUS.
June 13, 2010
NB. The above article comments on recent measures by the Italian Government, designed to reduce the substantial public deficit. The Government has announced severe cuts in various areas, which will specifically affect local authorities, and people with special needs. One of the categories targeted is that of invalids, blamed for making the Italian economy non-competitive, due to the large numbers of bogus invalids. Unfortunately, rather than penalize those responsible for the scandal of bogus invalidity, the Government chose to target ‘real’ invalids by raising from 74% to 85% the invalidity threshold which is required to qualify for a monthly stipend of 256.67 euros awarded to partial invalids.