About loveexplosions

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because she is better

 

Pink sky and beach.  A shadow of a person in blue standing on the beach. Text reads:  "I will not ask my child to change so the world can stay the same.

Pink sky and beach. A shadow of a person in blue standing on the beach.
Text reads: “I will not ask my child to change so the world can stay the same.

I will not ask my child to change so the world can stay the same.
I will not.

Many people will cast her out for flapping, for flopping, for being Autistic.
I will cast many people out for being bigots.

The world is filled with dangers for Autistic people.
All the more reason to teach her safety and self-advocacy skills.

It is often really hard to be a parent.
It is.

I worry about what will happen to her when I’m gone.
I better prepare her for the world and the world for her.

I wonder what kind of life she will have if she doesn’t choose to conform.
I know the kind of life she will have if I force her to try.

The world isn’t going to change for her.
She isn’t going to change for the world.

I can’t change the world.
Yes I can.

She isn’t the child I dreamed I’d have.
She’s better.

being white: some things I know and don’t know

grey background with faded scales.  text reads,"“Ignorance of how we are shaped racially is the first sign of privilege. In other words. It is a privilege to ignore the consequences of race in America.”  ― Tim Wise

grey background with faded scales. text reads,”“Ignorance of how we are shaped racially is the first sign of privilege. In other words. It is a privilege to ignore the consequences of race in America.”
― Tim Wise

On Saturday, August 9th, an unarmed 18 year old was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, MO.  Michael Brown was a recent high school graduate and was to begin college shortly.

The police claimed that there was a violent struggle, during which, Michael Brown was shot.  However, witnesses tell a different story.   A story of a young black man, an unarmed black man, running from police and being shot.  The officer reportedly continued to discharge his weapon after Brown was shot, after Brown turned and faced the officer with his hands raised in the air.

This, in all its gruesome horror, is the tip of the iceberg.  Because what follows is so very troubling.  While there have been reports of breakout violence and looting, there have also been reports of officers using rubber bullets and tear gas on people just walking.  JUST WALKING!  The media has been ordered out–two journalists were unlawfully arrested while following instructions of the officers.

The story emerging via streaming videos and Twitter feeds is at odds with the official story.  It is emerging despite the attempted media blackout.  People like MO State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal will not be silenced–even when, like Chappelle-Nadal, they are gassed while peacefully protesting.  Actually “sitting” according to Ms. Chappelle-Nadal.

As I sit here in Vermont watching with horror as this unfolds, there are some things that I know.  Things that shake me to the core of my being.

I know that this wouldn’t happen where I live– I believe the population of my state is something like 95% white.  Police don’t target white people unjustly as a matter of course.

I don’t ever worry about the police.  I don’t worry that I will become the unfair and prejudicial target of police attention.  I never have given that possibility a thought.  It isn’t my reality.  If it were ever to happen, I would think nothing of assertively defending myself.  I wouldn’t fear violent repercussions.  This scenario is pretty far out of the realm of possibility for me and probably every white person I know.

We are white.  We are not subjected to systemic racism.  I know this because white Michael Brown’s do not exist.

The fallout after Ferguson.  That wouldn’t happen here or to me either.  Back in 2007, I participated in a series of protests over funding the Iraq war.  We occupied our state representatives offices for a day.  At the end of the day, we refused to leave.  We were trespassing, actually breaking the law.

The police were called on the 8 or so of us that decided to stay.  We were issued written citations.  I don’t even think there was a fine.  The officers were courteous and professional.  They even joked with us.  They waited patiently while two of the gentleman in our group decided how they wanted to be lead out of the building.  They chose to be cuffed together–the rest of us chose to walk out unshackled–we were given the choice.  Truth be told the officers indulged those two gentlemen with amusement by cuffing them together.

We are white.  We don’t worry that our First Amendment rights will be violated.  I know this.

And when we do break the law?  Like we did?  We are typically treated with kid gloves. The consequences of using excessive force on white people would be astronomical for any officer participating.  The public outcry would reverberate far and wide.

When you’re white, police brutality is typically not a looming threat even when you ARE breaking the law.  I know this.

When I think of the most vile things that have occurred in my recent lifetime, I know that minorities are almost without exception the victims.  Usually people of color.

Hurricane Katrina keeps coming to the front of my mind.  The vast majority of those left to suffer without food, water, and adequate shelter were black.  If that were a predominately white community?  Those people would not have been left to die.

When you’re white, the government doesn’t stand by and thumb twiddle while thousands of lives are in immediate peril.  I know this.

There is so much I don’t know.  I don’t know what it feels like to go about life knowing that a sideways look could land me in a world of pain and trouble at the hands of those sworn to protect me.

I don’t know what it feels like to know what it feels like to simultaneously be a victim of injustice and blamed.

I don’t know what if feels like to know that most people would barely pause to acknowledge serious injustice perpetrated against me.

I’m pretty sure I would feel powerless and unspeakably vulnerable.

I’ve been afforded the luxury and privilege that allows me to claim that I’m a non-violent person.  I can say things like, “Violence is never the answer,” because I’ve never been asked the question.

What would I do?  What would I do if I knew that some innocent person that I love would be subjected to brutality?  What would I do if I could predict with some certainty that one of my children would be the victim of state perpetrated violence?  How far would I go to protect the people that I love?  What would I do with the certain rage that would be a product of watching the guilty walk away with little more than a slap on the wrist?

I’m white.  I will never be able to do more than speculate.  Speculate without the lived experience of existing day in and day out with the ever present shadow of systemic racism.  I will never really know.

 

maxine on whole body listening

settings

Max:  “Mama, does Evie have invisible powers sometimes?”

Me:  “No, no one does.  Invisible powers are pretend.”

Silence.  And then.

Max:  “Sometimes people don’t talk to Evie.  Not even ‘hi’.”

Me:  “You’re right.  I think sometimes people don’t know how to talk to Evie.”

Max:  “Why?  You just talk.”

Me:  “Maybe because Evie doesn’t talk with her mouth.”

Max:  “Maybe we can buy everyone ipads so they can hear Evie.”

Me:  “I don’t think ipads will help people hear.”

Max:  “When she isn’t talking with her mouth or ipad, people can listen with their eyes and bodies.”

Me: “You’re right”

Now that’s some whole body listening that I can get behind.

 

 

The neurodiversity fence

Written by Beth Ryan

ONeuordiversity is not about writing pretty blog posts that appeal to the masses.  It is about the human rights of people of all neurologies.  It isn't about picking the parts that make you feel good.  If you want to make a difference.... GET OFF THE FENCE!  loveexplosions.netne of the criticisms that is most frequently hurled at me by other parents of Autistic kids is that I judge people.  I freely admit that I do.  Often.  Constantly even.

But my judgments don’t come from a place of wanting to elevate my own self esteem as so many of these criticisms imply.  I am ever engaged in judgment of what will hurt or improve my daughter’s quality of life.

I’m not perfect.  I’ve done and said and written things which I know have been hurtful to my daughter and her Autistic tribe.  One of my greatest regrets is the fact that I spent so much time fighting AAC and trying to force my child to speak.  That cost her more than I will ever know.

The other criticism I get most often is that I am “PollyAnna” about Autism.  That I want to sweep the challenges my daughter and family face under the rug.  While I choose not to publicly share details which I feel could hurt my child or family, I do not ever deny that some things are really, really hard.  But I cannot think of any obstacles that could not be overcome by a shift in the way disabled people are supported, accommodated, and spoken about.

Recently, there was a stir caused by a very popular blogger’s comment:  “I’m also going to remind you that even in the midst of all the positivity, you’re not human if you don’t have moments where you wish to god your kid didn’t have to struggle and all you want to do is tell autism to f@%k itself. That’s the secret that no one will talk about. But it’s what makes us real, and it’s okay.” 

I judge.  I judge.  Yes, I do judge.  THIS hurts my child.

And I’m judged.  I’m not “human”.  I’m not “real”.

My child is Autistic.  She IS Autism.  Telling Autism to go fuck itself….that’s telling my kid to go fuck herself.  This has never crossed my mind.  Not because I am perfect.  Not because I don’t have bad days.  Not because I don’t want things to be easier for my child in many ways.  Not just because I love my child and this thought would be a betrayal of that love.

Because my child is NOT the problem.  The problem is the way the world responds to my child.  And on the days that I struggle–the ways that I respond to my child.

Being a parent to ANY child is hard.  There are days when bedtime cannot come soon enough.  You don’t have to have an Autistic child to know that this is true.  Those are the days where I succumb to my human weaknesses.  I get frustrated.  I say the wrong thing.  I react the wrong way.  And my reactions make life harder–for my child and for me.

I’m privileged in that parenthood was a choice for me–I do realize that it is not a choice for every person.  When I decided to become a parent, I signed up for the ups and downs.  I signed up for the happiness and the heartache.  I signed up for all of it.  I’m accountable to my child.  I’m accountable to myself.

I judge people.  I do.  I also judge myself.  I’m responsible for judging myself and for doing better when I fail.

I’m responsible for creating a world in which my child can thrive.  I’m responsible for judging the things that stand in the way of my child’s quality of life.

I’ve found that this responsibility isn’t always fun.  And it certainly doesn’t win me popularity.  But we can’t make things better if we don’t talk about the things that are wrong.  I’d love to write a blog which everyone loves and celebrates.  I would love to not receive hate mail.  I’d love to not rock the boat and be friends with everyone.  I’d love it if everyone would think that I am just the bees knees.  Because it isn’t fun when what you say and write is not popularly received.

But I love my child.  And I will stand out in the cold and rain for a lifetime if it means that she is spared even a moment of facing the elements.  Not because I am strong.  Not because I am brave.  But because I’m a mother.  And that’s what mothers do.

My child is more important than stroking the egos of other parents.  Every single time.

My child is more important than my desire to feel liked.  Every single time.

My daughter doesn’t have the luxury of riding the fence.  So I’m not about to climb up and ride it at her expense.

 

Terrorist Threats

Written by Beth Ryan

“We should talk about supports that families need. We should talk about it when there are cuts. We should talk about it when lack of services makes it difficult for us to work, to go out in the community, to perform ADLs, etc. We should talk about supports and services until our faces turn blue – but NOT in connection to murders.

When someone kills their disabled child/children and our response is “this shows that we need more services,” we as a community are taking people with disabilities hostage. The implicit threat is “give us more help or the kids die.” Saying that parents are forced to kill their children by lack of services also destigmatizes child murder and excuses the parents’ actions. The truth is that plenty of parents raise children with disabilities under all kinds of circumstances, without killing or abusing them.

Service provision is so so very important but we CANNOT use child killing as a launching platform for advocacy on this issue. It will do more harm than good.”  Zoe Gross

 

The importance of the statement above, made by Autistic activist Zoe Gross, cannot be overstated.

Image is peach graphic with light pink peace sign. The text reads: ter·ror·ism [ter-uh-riz-uhm] noun the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.

On April 3rd, Robert Robinson was murdered by his mother, Angie (who also committed suicide).  Robert was 16 years old and Autistic.

The conversation following the murder centered around lack of services and sympathy for the mother.  As it always does.  I can say always because this happens with enough frequency to warrant that language.

Why are we not collectively outraged that disabled people are being held hostage by those that are making terrorist threats?

That IS, by definition, what is happening.  A politically motivated group is making threats of further violence against a vulnerable group of people.  Disabled people.

It is tempting to negotiate with terrorists.  Especially when the threats of violence are credible.  And recent history has shown these threats to be quite credible.  But we know that submitting to this type of savagery opens the door to continued–escalated even– violent coercion.  Surrendering to those that use homicide as a negotiation tactic serves to reinforce this as a viable means of political gain.

Productive conversations by peace loving people do not begin with ultimatums of brutality. Not ever.  Parents that love their disabled children do not threaten to do them harm should their demands not be met.  People that value the lives of disabled people do not sympathize with the thugs that make such threats.  Nor do they use the violence already perpetrated by other parents as blackmail to achieve their objectives.

The most compelling argument cannot be entertained when it is dictated that the rejection of said argument will result in the intentional harm of other human beings.  Scores of parents to Autistic children are engaging in this type of threat.  By doing so, they are undermining what is, in many cases, a valid plea.

ALL Autistic people need more support and accommodation.  Caregivers need different and better supports than what is currently available to most.  (I would argue that what caregivers think is needed, in most cases, is actually contrary to their objectives but that’s a whole other discussion).  However, the murder of a disabled person is not a result of the failure to meet these needs.  The murder of a disabled person by a caregiver is an intentional act of hate.  Pairing it with a suicide does not make the perpetrator  more sympathetic, more understandable, or less hateful.  Attempts to make martyrs out of those that execute or attempt to execute (as we see being done with Kelli Stapleton), is consistent with the strategies that terrorists routinely employ.

I demand that my Autistic child and her tribe be treated humanely. And though standing up for human rights and social justice is of critical importance and is central to my beliefs, I haven’t once resorted to threatening violence if my demands are not met. How ironic, then, that those actively engaging in terrorist-style ultimatums and threats, consider me to be a part of some sort of radical fringe movement. Chew on that!

 

 

 

 

#StopCombatingMe: Enough. And not Enough.

Image Description: Black Box with white surrender flag. Text: Surrender is powerful when your war is unjust. Peace, Love, & Support for Autistic people. #stopcombatingme loveexplosions.wordpress.com

Image Description: Black Box with white surrender flag.
Text: Surrender is powerful when your war is unjust.
Peace, Love, & Support for Autistic people.
#stopcombatingme
loveexplosions.wordpress.com

Written by Beth Ryan

The Combating Atutism Act is expires this fall.  As written, it is a source of national shame..  It is, therefore, imperative that this legislation be completely overhauled.  Or it must not be renewed.

My Autistic child will always be my child.  But someday, she will be my adult child.  I regularly get grim glimpses of her future through my involvement and friendships with Autistic adults.

The vast majority of Autistic adults that I know, and I do know many, live in crushing poverty–constantly facing lack of suitable employment opportunities, deciding between heating their homes or buying food, denial of access to needed medical treatment, and so much more.   They lack the supports and accommodations that they desperately need in order to survive.

Autistic people, particularly Autistic adults, have been forever under-represented and under-served.  Our legislators have failed to incorporate input from those that Autism legislation is intended to serve–that is, of course, assuming that Autistic people are the intended beneficiaries.  It would be unthinkable to pass legislation which dismissed the advisement of the population of any other minority group that  it is intended to serve.   Not the parents/caregivers of those minority groups.  Not the big name “charities” claiming to represent the interests of Autistic people, all the while, completely excluding them from meaningful participation.  But the stakeholders themselves.

My eight year old daughter deserves a future and Autistic adults deserve a present.  They are entitled to essential supports across their lifespans.  Reallocating funding so that she, and other Autistic people, have access to education, employment opportunities,medical treatment (especially preventative medicine), etc. will serve the interests of both the Autistic community and the country as a whole.

And for the love of all things holy, rename the legislation.  Combating Autism Act?  That’s a disgrace.  It underscores the fact that the current legislation is focused on eliminating Autistic people rather than supporting them.  Using violent language to describe legislation allegedly designed to enhance the lives of Autistic people and their families is reprehensible.  It is, in effect, sanctioning the dehumanization and discrimination that Autistic people, including my child, face every single day.

Enough combating human beings.  Not nearly enough support.
#StopCombatingMe

 

scorch the earth #lovenotfear

Image is a rust colored background.  A faded puzzle piece is covered by a heart.  The text reads:  No more puzzle pieces.  Love not Fear.  loveexplosions.wordpress.com

Written by Beth Ryan
This post was written as a contribution to the “Love not Fear Flashblog” presented by Boycott Autism Speaks.

You are my child.  You are the child that I have.  And the very child that I wanted.

Your Autistic body is exquisite.
May it always respond to you.  To your will alone.
You owe your gaze to no one.
May you rest it only on that which offers you contentment.
Your flapping hands express your joy.
May they laugh at those that seek to make them table ready.

Your Autistic spirit is on fire.
May it burn bright in sight of those who would extinguish it.
You owe compliance to no one.
May you incinerate the intentions of all those who would force it.
Your worthiness of humanity is infinite.
May it ignite the blazes of love and acceptance to which you are entitled.

Every part of you is Autistic.
And I love every part of you without qualification.
There will never be a “but” after my love.
May we scorch the earth of all that endangers your selfhood.

champions of social equality

Image Text Reads: You're not actually for equality when you would deny Autistic people the right to--or belittle Autistic people for speaking in favor of their own existence.

Image Text Reads: You’re not actually for equality when you would deny Autistic people the right to–or belittle Autistic people for speaking in favor of their own existence.

Written by Beth Ryan

It is pretty trendy to call yourself a champion of equality.  But here’s the thing folks.  Being a champion of equality?  It means just a smidgen more than being for marriage equality.  Being a champion of equality?  It means just a titch  more than being for gender equality.  Ahem, The Femisit Breeder.

I am NO expert on equality and all that it implies.  Because I am limited both by my own privilege and by my relative inexperience.  But I do know enough to shut up and listen when people of a marginalized group tell me that I should check my privilege, that I am being a bigot/racist/sexist/ableist/whateverist.  I don’t keep talking… unless it is to ask questions.  No, not the kind of questions that aren’t really questions but jabs.  The kind of questions that help me take baby steps towards understanding.

So when a self-proclaimed feminist makes a statement like this one:

I’ve legitimately seen it all now: Apparently I’ve attracted a whole subgroup of folks who think that we shouldn’t be trying to prevent/treat/cure Autism because it’s not a disability, it’s just like being “gay or dark skinned” and if you want to prevent/treat/cure it, then you’re discriminating against the ASD community. 
*Sigh* Congratulations Internet, you’ve jumped the advocacy shark.
–Gina Crosley-Corcoran (The Feminist Breeder)

My jaw hits the floor.  And then I read this from the same person:

I agree it’s totally up to the individual whether they want to be treated, and high functioning folks probably don’t feel they’re missing out on anything. But think about low functioning kids – those kids who’ll never be able to lead a normal life – how can we seriously say that it’s wrong to try to prevent that kind of disability? Being unable to care for oneself is not a “variation of normal” or any other such nonsense. It’s a disability. Of course these people should be treated with care and compassion, but it is not something we should be trying to promote. I find it wildly irresponsible that this so called “neuro-diversity” movement is trying discredit autism prevention and treatment measures as “discriminatory.” If there was a way to prevent depression and anxiety, you better believe I’d support that.

And now I am PISSED.  Because I know that she is referring to people like my daughter. People like Amy Sequenzia, Henry Frost, Amanda Baggs, and Emma.  And I am also damn near certain that she has never actually spoken to any of these “low functioning” people.  Because she obviously doesn’t understand that someone can be far from typical and still happy.  Still a valuable human being.  She obviously doesn’t get that the ability to perform personal care doesn’t guarantee or negate quality of life.

So Ms. Crosley-Corcoran, and the too many people like her, are not actually championing social equality They are championing….well… THEMSELVES.  These people don’t actually give a rat’s ass about ACTUAL social justice.  No.  They are trying to disguise their personal endeavors to acquire power and privilege.

Actually, Ms. Crosley-Corcoran doesn’t really even understand what privilege means.  What the mother?  Huh?

I’ve noticed the same, and I think those folks oughta check their privilege. To be so high functioning that you can see it as a gift is a privilege that so many in the ASD community do not possess. My best friend’s child has ASD and his care consumes her life.

Do you remember when Paris Hilton participated in the “Vote or Die” campaign?  And then it was revealed that she had never actually voted.  Or even registered to do so?  This is all sorts of shades of that.  It is hip to be pro-equality.  Even when you don’t have any idea what that means.  Even when you are clearly and unabashedly NOT for equality.

Social equality.  It is not just a thing that the goofy celebs and wannabe celebs are doing for kicks.  It actually means something.

If you are for it, it means that you believe that ALL people are entitled to the same rights under the law.  ALL people should have equal access to civil rights, to healthcare, to education, etc.  When you exclude a population of people  by claiming that preventing them from existing is acceptable…  you’re DEFINITELY not even close to being for social equality.  You’re just another self-serving douchebag trying to grab yourself some power.

Please check out: Divergent: when disability and feminism collide

Tone it down

By Beth Ryan

Tone Policing.  Please stop doing that.

tone focus

Yellow background with a cartoon police officer holding his hand up. The text reads: I’m wrong. So let’s focus on your tone.

What is tone policing?
I’ve created some examples based on what I see people saying.  Often.  Too often.  Tone policing doesn’t just apply to Autism Speaks discussions.  But that’s what’s on my mind lately.

Example 1:
Person A:  Autism Speaks is a horrible organization which promotes the hatred of Autistic people.  Giving your money to them is funding a hate organization.  I am Autistic and you’re financing hatred of me.
Person B: I agree with you but people are just going to dismiss you as cranky and angry if you take that approach.  You need to gently educate people if you want them to listen to you.

Example 2:
Person A:  You shouldn’t support Autism Speaks because only 4% of its budget is used to provide direct services to Autistic people.  Autistic people are excluded from meaningfully participating in the organization as leaders and in the organizations efforts.  Further, the co-founder of Autism Speaks, Suzanne Wright, recently wrote an op-ed which promoted bigotry of Autistic people.
Person B: I agree with you but why do you need to say negative things about Autism Speaks?  Can’t you be for positive things without being against Autism Speaks?  It would be better if everyone just let all organizations do their own thing.  Concentrate on what you’re for instead of spending your time and energy on what you’re against.  You need to move on and be positive.  And stop being so angry.

Example 3:
Person A:  I can’t believe that you gave Autism Speaks money after you’ve seen all of the harm it does.  Autism Speaks is horrible.  It dehumanizes Autistic people like me.  Parents should be aware of how evil this organization is.
Person B:  You’re so angry and hostile.  I don’t want my Autistic child to be anything like you.  Why don’t you mind your own business?  Your hostility is dividing the community and if you keep acting like that, we will never be able to work together.

  • Tone policing is derailment.  It shifts attention away from the topic and content.  Often that is the objective of the person doing the tone policing because he/she is attempting to take the focus off of what he did wrong.
  • Tone policing often attempts to invalidate/diminish a valid argument because the victim is angry/emotional/passionate/negative.

Tone Policing Observations

  • I cannot think of a time when I have seen a person who is doing the tone policing also be the person who is right.  Probably because when you are actually right, you don’t have the need to shift the argument away from the topic.
  • Victims of tone policing are often the victims of oppression.  Aggressors of tone policing are often people in a position of power/privilege

You’re too angry to be right!

  • A person’s emotions–his anger, his passion, etc.  have not one thing to do with whether or not he is also correct.
  • Expecting a person who is or has been victimized to talk unemotionally about the topic of his victimization is incredibly inhuman and unreasonable.

Let’s think about the absurdity of tone policing in the context of a rape victim and rapist.

Rape Victim:  You’re a horrible person.  What you did to me is wrong.  I hope you get put in jail for the rest of your miserable life.
Rapist:  You are so angry and overly emotional.  How do you expect me to have a discussion with you when you can’t control your emotions?  We can talk about this when you’re more calm and less negative.

Can’t you be more positive, constructive, less negative, etc?

  • There is something really disingenuous and unkind about demanding that people be positive about things.  Everything is not always positive.  Demanding people frame it as such is dismissive.  Especially when we are talking about people with privilege making the demand of people without privilege.
  • Negativity is often necessary.  You cannot build an argument for why something is wrong, evil, in need of change, (a hate group) without pointing out the negative.
  • In order to be constructive, it is often necessary to be destructive first.  I cannot build a new house on a lot where a ramshackle one sits unless I deconstruct the old one. Getting a permit to demolish the old structure may require that I prove that it is not salvageable, dangerous, a public hazard, etc.

For the “you’re right but…..” crowd

  • When you agree with someone, don’t tone police them.  It is not helpful to propagate the belief that a person’s emotional state is relevant to how valid his argument.  By discussing emotion instead of addressing the issue, you are derailing.  It is possible to unintentionally derail.
  • Hearing another person speak passionately and emotionally about a topic can make us feel uncomfortable.  However, we should not expect people–especially victims of wrong-doing to take responsibility for making us feel more comfortable and advocate for change.  This is a selfish request/expectation.
  • Often, one of the reasons a person is angry is because he tried asking politely/unemotionally/whatever and was ignored.  Don’t assume that a person hasn’t already tried asking nicely.
  • Some people are unwilling to separate the anger from the content of the message. That’s unfortunate.  If you believe a person is correct, don’t add your voice to those focusing on tone because that is not helpful and only serves to lend credit to those trying to derail.
  • If you want to be helpful, encourage those perseverating on tone to address the actual argument.  Signal boosting the points of the angry person in a “nice” tone can also be effective in reaching those that are incapable of understanding the composition of an angry perspective.

Anger is effective

  • We’ve all heard about the squeaky wheel and the grease.  And it is true in many cases…especially civil rights.  Civil rights have not, historically, been granted to those that are just so darn persistent in making polite requests.
  • Angry/emotional people are typically the ones most invested in the topic.  If those people are excluded from participation on the grounds of tone/emotion, that is pretty much a guarantee of failure to effect change.  Further, it is unfair to expect those who have the most at stake to sit out because they can’t play nice.

So tone policing.  Stop it.  Okay?  And also read this post by Chavisory’s Notebook because it is better than mine.

Kelli Stapleton. Still relevant.

Written by Beth Ryan

It was always directed toward me.  Her um anger and aggression.  Always toward me.  I wondered if that was a consequence of doing a Lovaas replication program.  Because I’ve been in her face since before she was two years old.  It was always touch your nose.  Touch the apple.  Do this.  Do that.  And you know, um, maybe this is sort of a natural consequence to that.  I’m not really sure.  But I’m sure at this point it is some sort of shaped behavior.  Because sometimes even making eye contact with her will trigger a response.  (Kelli Stapleton–full interview here)

There is no doubt that the tragedy involving Kelli Stapleton and the attempted murder of her child belongs in every single conversation around Autism “treatments”, bullying, and the way that some parents of Autistic children habitually devalue and dehumanize their children.

The fact that so many parents are still willing to make the claim that Kelli’s attempt to murder her own child is “an act of love” means that her name and the road she traveled to get to the place where she was able to harm her child needs to be brought up again and again.

We need to examine.  To scrutinize the ill fated journey that she took to get to that place.  It is uncomfortable.  It is painful.  And it is entirely necessary to talk about that heartbreaking topic.

The how and why are so very important.

The easiest answer is that there aren’t enough services.  That there aren’t enough supports for Autistic people and their families.  And while it is true that Autistic people are in desperate need of more direct services and supports, we cannot say that lack of services are to blame for Kelli’s attempt on her child’s life.  Issy had just come home from an extended stay in a residential facility and Issy had around the clock care.

So we must look elsewhere for our answers.  I believe that the answers are in the way, even as parents, we have come to see Autistic people.  Not fully human.  Not worthy of the rights and respect that most of us take for granted.

If you read Kelli’s blog, you will not think it unlike many blogs written by parents of Autistic children.  For instance, you probably would not dream of posting a video of a typical teenager at his most vulnerable moment.  But parents of Autistic children do so habitually.  When either of my children are having a challenging moment, the furthest think from my mind is snapping a picture of myself comforting her.  Or capturing a video of a meltdown.  These are sacred moments where my child needs me.  Where I am thinking, only, of making sure my child knows that I am present and loving her with my entire being.

Capturing media as fodder for one’s blog should be about the furthest thing from one’s mind.  And I don’t believe that it is with this type of parent.  The martyr mommy/daddy.  Sure they can claim that they are trying to help other parents not feel so alone…or whatever the party line is.  But even if that is true, if my belief that they are attention seeking is wrong, they are doing so at the expense of the privacy of their children.  “Helping” other parents should not override the sacred trust of a parent/child relationship.

Parents prone towards these acts of betrayal of their children are not merely poor parents.  Because the ones that I’ve seen and am speaking of are also prone towards despicable acts of emotional and verbal abuse towards Autistic adults that are brave enough to face their wrath.

This tells me that these parents have devalued, not only their children, but Autistic people in general.  This should not be exactly surprising given the culture of hate and systemic dehumanization of Autistic people that we are entrenched in.  Nonetheless, I continue to be shocked by the lengths that these parents are willing to go to viciously bully Autistic people.  They wield their advantages of the power differential in shocking and despicable ways and maintain the nerve to cry out that they are the victims of discrimination.

Discrimination is a combination of power and prejudice.  Autistic people lack power.  They are a minority group and victims of all sorts of things like media bias, systemic oppression, marginalization, etc.  Autistic people are capable of bigotry.  But they are not capable of the type of discrimination that parents of screaming about.  The continued insistence that parents are the victims is offensive and only serves to underscore the fact that these loud parents are ignorant about what it means to be part of a minority.

I wouldn’t worry so much about what these foolish parents say.  Except that they are so damn loud and aggressive.  I cannot stand the thought of their voices–the voices of murder apologists– dominating the conversation around my daughter’s neurology.  The thought that they are perpetuating the Autism Speaks’ fear and tragedy stereotypes make it impossible for me to ignore them.

And so I stand with the brave Autistic adults, who are regularly targeted and viciously attacked by this insidious tribe.  I stand with them because they are awesome and courageous and kind.  Yes.  Because they are my friends.  Yes.  But also because every single time they hang their necks out,knowing full well that they will be targeted and abused as a result, they are hanging them out for my daughter.

So I’m selfish.  And I’m grateful with every fiber of my being.  As such, it is my moral obligation–the moral obligation of every single parent of an Autistic child out there, to use our advantages to support the creation of a world where our children are seen as whole and valuable human beings.  That starts with the recognition of the fact that the assault against the humanity of any Autistic person is as good as an assault against our very children.

pacla new year