Wow. I have actually been thinking about this recently, after seeing Stephen Fry's visit to New Orleans in the excellent travel documentary series he recently made for the BBC.
(yes I know, more travel shows!)
In the third episode he follows the Mississippi, taking a tour of the abandoned neighbourhoods destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, meeting homeless people not living the American Dream, and visits Angola, one of America's most notorious prisons.
And I got to thinking of what we all might be capable of, given the circumstances.
You see, while I would never compare Autism parenting to being homeless or incarcerated, I would have some understanding of the levels of inner strength you have to call on in extraordinary situations. You learn things about yourself that you shouldn't have to. You also clean up more poo and sick than any human being should ever expect to. And you learn to love people who have screamed at you until your ears burst, or kicked you or used your Clarins Nuit Huile as chicken nugget dipping sauce.
I guess I have coped.
Three difficult pregnancies resulting in two healthy children with extra special powers, and needs. A constant battle for services and a search for the appropriate intervention which is proven to work. Trying to maintain a relationship in the face of all this which nurtures not only our children but ourselves.
All this has tested me, and yet I sit here at half past 11 at night, fully cognisant and able to relate the experience.
So I wonder if I was faced with the situation in the Louisiana Superdome during the hurricane; how I would have fought to survive?
While I am not a churchy religious person, I do believe I have a strong moral code based on putting it out there and expecting it back.
But I think I could steal, hurt or kill to protect and defend my family.
If I had to go to prison, would I go do-lally and be locked up on my own?
(I think I would enjoy solitary for just a little while, for the peace and quiet)
or would I do some networking, establish my role in the social order and get on okay until I was released?
(You could be my bitches)
Or would I be a suck up and get a job managing the prison website in the governor's office where I would hack into his bank accounts before escaping through the sewers
(no wait, that's Shawshank)
I dunno. I don't know if it is the same thing. But it might call on similar human reserves.
You see, there are people who do not cope in extreme situations. There are parents who give up at the first hurdle and leave their special kids at the mercy of whatever the state sees fit to provide. Some even develop mental health issues of their own under the extreme pressure of their situation.
Some just find they do not have the chutzpah and moxie to take on the oppositional behaviour of the state and challenge them to provide the appropriate interventions and support as needed.
Some days I have said to people that you do what you have to do to get the best outcome possible for your children. You sell your soul to the devil if that is what it takes.
But you shouldn't have to.
We are living in a society where the state can take the decision to stop the funding of interventions that are effectively giving people back the children they have lost to the sensory challenges of autism. Stopping funding and aggressively thwarting any attempt to fight back; to deter others.
Where's the morality in that?
I am not afraid of what I find when I look in the mirror. I think I have what it takes to survive.
I just don't want to have to use it too often.