This is for you.
I read this article this morning in New York Magazine. And I can’t think of any other way to describe the emotions it provoked than deflated. Deflated because of so many things. But mostly because of the way that Issy’s privacy and humanity continue to be disregarded.
No matter how you feel about the shape that discussions take around Kelli Stapleton, I can’t help but believe that most people would agree that it is not okay to continue to publicly label Issy as violent. That Issy is defenseless. That she is not being given a choice or a say. That it is not okay to give this label to a child who will wear it for the rest of her life. That this portrait of Issy will color everything she does now and forever.
This is for you if you are not Kelli Stapleton.
You are not Kelli Stapleton even if you’ve gotten all the way to the end of your rope and NOT hurt your child. You are not Kelli Stapleton if something–anything–made you stop.
This is for you if you’re a parent or caregiver of an Autistic child and you need help. No matter where on that rope you are.
I cannot and will not say that discussions about filicide have any place in talking about what parents need.
I cannot and will not say that filicide is a possible outcome for a parent that is just stressed out beyond what most people think is possible. For a parent that is stressed out and mentally ill. I maintain that there are other things at play when a parent commits filicide. I know that others disagree.
But frankly, I’m so worn out from the circles we go around when discussing these differences. And I feel like I have nothing more, at this point, to productively contribute to that conversation.
That’s the line. This is me trying to move the conversation forward. Trying to move my own mind beyond that which I can’t think about anymore. This is me wanting Autistic kids and their families be happy.
I want to open up a conversation about how to raise happy Autistic children. I want to open up a conversation about how to be a happy (mostly) parent to an Autistic child. I don’t want to talk about filicide or Kelli or Issy anymore because I can’t. So for now, I will leave that to other disability activists.
So this is for you if you’re interested in discussing change without ^^^ that tragedy or the others like it.
This is for you if you are the parent of an Autistic child and you need help.
I KNOW that all parenting is hard. I also know that raising an Autistic child presents a unique set of challenges. I know that there is very little support from professionals and schools that truly helps Autistic kids and their parents to thrive.
I KNOW that the lion’s share of what we are told we need to do to successfully raise an Autistic child is not helpful at best. In fact, it is often harmful to Autistic kids and their families.
I know how hard it is to say, “no” to all of that well-intended but misguided advice. I know how hard it is to say, “No, Ms. Expert. You actually have it wrong here. I know you have a million degrees and certificates declaring your prowess, but you just have it wrong.”
I know that as parents we are lead to believe that there is but one way of doing it right. And there is shaming and guilt when we dare to question the accepted protocols.
But clearly. Something is wrong with what is being prescribed as “treatment” for Autism. It isn’t working. If it were working, we wouldn’t be seeing miserable Autistic kids and parents to the degree that we are.
My god, the things we consider or do subject our Autistic children to… and the money we pay in the hopes of helping Autistic kids find a way to be happy. Can we not consider some very basic things that don’t cost us anything but time and a little patience as we transition to a new way of thinking and a new way of parenting?
This is for you if you are the parent of an Autistic child and you want to talk about raising a safe and happy Autistic child and you are ready to at least consider an alternative to what is so clearly NOT helping most families.
If you’re willing to consider some of the parenting strategies that work for me and most of the other generally happy parents that I know? I want to talk talk to you. I want to help you. If you don’t want to talk to me because you don’t like me or my style, I want to put you in touch with someone that is more suited to your personality.
I cannot and will not be of any help to those that are only willing to consider ABA therapy as the answer because I believe, based on personal experience, that it is a major contributor to the problems that Autistic children and parents face . But if you’re willing to think outside of ABA, I want to talk to you about what you feel you need as a family to get your head above water.
This is for you if you need help. If your child needs help.
This is for you if you CAN help and contribute productively to the conversation.
This is for you if you share my heartfelt desire to see thriving Autistic kids and thriving families.
Comments are open but will be moderated. On this thread, I will not post any comment which refers to Issy or Kelli. Whether I agree with the comment or not. If you have a question or comment which is private–please post it anonymously.
Ask/Comment freely but know that I will edit comments to keep them in accordance with my convictions about respectful language.