To The Lady Who Wrote That Hate Letter To Her Neighbor
This is a post in the weekly Autism Hopes series by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez, a mom who blogs over at AutismWonderland.
The letter hit too close to home. I think every special needs parent who read the letter cringed and cried imagining themselves in that mother’s shoes. My heart ached for her.
And I seethed thinking about the mother who had the ‘guts’ to write the hate letter but not the guts to sign her name. If I could write the “pissed off mother” a letter, this is what I’d want her to know about kids with autism and their parents.
To The Lady Who Wrote That Hate Letter:
Kids with autism are kids. Kids with autism are like any other kids in the neighborhood. They go outside to play, to jump and they make noise. Autism parents feel more secure with their kids close by. Many feel kids with autism feel more comfortable in familiar environments. Sometimes parks are overwhelming, dangerous. And if close by means in their yard – they have that right. Every kid should feel safe to be themselves within their own home.
If I had a house with a yard, that’s where my son Norrin would play too. When excited or over-stimulated Norrin makes loud noises too. I’ve watched as children, and sometimes adults have stared or even laughed. They’ve probably wondered if Norrin could talk. Maybe some kids are even scared of Norrin. I can’t stop every person who stares but I hope that they take the time to understand, to learn more about Norrin rather than dismiss him.
And if you slipped that letter under my door, I’d send my kid outside with a bullhorn.
Autism parents are not selfish and we do not feel entitled to special treatment. I think it’s the last thing autism parents are. Most autism parents are completely selfless, caring for their children without asking for help and sometimes refusing when assistance is offered. We are hardworking people. We don’t want or expect special treatment. We just want our kids to be treated like everyone else. We want our kids to have the same opportunities as the “normal” kids. That’s far from “entitlement,” that’s a basic human right.
And what defines normal? Because if your words define the norm then I’m grateful we’re not.
Never underestimate kids with autism. Kids with autism are some of the hardest working kids I know. You have no idea about the pride a parent feels when their child reaches a milestone that other parents take for granted. Kids with autism have potential. Many have grown up to become adults who have made significant contributions to our world. (Um…ever heard of Mozart, Newton, Einstein?) You have no idea what our kids are capable of because you can’t see beyond their disability.
Kids with autism have a right to live. This is the line that hurt and appalled me the most. I can’t imagine my life without my son. I can’t imagine wanting to end his life and it’s despicable that it’s even suggested to any mother. Our life is not easy and it’s not perfect but it is a life worth living. I wouldn’t be better off without my son. My life would have no meaning without him. I don’t know the mother you addressed the letter to, but I’m pretty sure she feels the same way about her son.
We are a united community. As much as I would like to hate you and call you names. I won’t. I feel sorry for you. I feel sorry that your ignorance allowed you to write such a letter to another mother. I feel sorry for your limited vision. I feel sorry that you will never know what it’s like to be part of a community like ours. A close knit community of strangers, friends and family who may not agree on causes or cures or treatments but we all agree that our kids are worthy of respect. A community who responds to your letter with compassion for the child and mother you attack. A community who stands up when they see someone treated unfairly. We are a community you could learn from. You could learn a lot from our kids if you took the time to listen.
Mother to son with autism
If you’re on Twitter or Facebook please show this special needs family your support by sending them a message using the hashtag #Love4Maxwell.
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Tags: autism, Autism Hopes, Bullying child with special needs, Disability, health, Lisa Quinones Fontanez, Special needs, special needs parenting | Categories: Autism, Children With Special Needs, Disability, Must Read, Special Needs, Special Needs Parenting, To The Max