expression is not existence – again (and again and again and again)

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{image is a photo of London McCabe}

I tried to write a post in the immediate aftermath of London’s death. I sat in front of the blinking cursor as time ticked by. I managed one sentence before I had to surrender.

I am so tired.

It was all that I could write before I melted into tears. Again.

I’m tired and I’m angry and my soul is shredded for this beautiful little boy and for all of the people who loved him and all of the people who would have done anything in their power to save him had they understood, had they possibly been able to see that he needed protection from the very person whose job it was to protect him. This little boy who loved hats and his iPad and the beach and his stuffed lion and all things fuzzy. This little boy who was all giggles and smiles and who deserved a life, damn it.

I am tired of writing about murdered children and I’m tired of being told that if I don’t empathize with their murderers I am the one who lacks empathy. I’m tired of explaining that I would have had all the empathy in the world for them, truly, wholly, before and until they followed through on the choice to hurt their child.

I’m tired of defending the humanity of autistic people. I’m tired of saying outrageous things like, “If this woman whom you’re telling me that I have no right to judge had walked up to YOU and your baby on the street and had thrown YOUR child off of a bridge to his death rather than her own, would you still tell me that I have no right to judge her because I haven’t walked in her shoes?”

I’m tired of explaining that mental illness is not an excuse for murder and that every time that we claim that it is, we contribute to the hideously damaging (and patently incorrect) notion that the millions of people in this country and the millions upon millions more around the world who live with mental illnesses are prone to murder other people and that our responsibility to protect our children, even if it’s from ourselves, either isn’t a thing or is a thing that’s somehow negated by mental illness, no matter how severe.

I’m tired of watching us all contribute to the stigma that keeps people from actually getting the help that they need — because who would ever lay claim to mental illness when it’s so casually conflated with violence and murder?

I’m tired of explaining that atypical expressions of empathy and love and affection do not negate their existence. I’m tired of sloppy, irresponsible, damaging “journalism” that relies on “experts” who don’t know what the hell they’re talking about, but are nonetheless hailed as experts. I’m tired of reading dangerous drivel like this on NBC news two days ago. (No, I’m not linking to it.)

Dee Shepherd-Look, a psychology professor at California State University, Northridge, who runs an education group for mothers of autistic children, said “quite frankly, I am surprised [parents of autistic children don’t kill their children] more often.”

“These children are really unable to be in a reciprocal relationship and the moms don’t really experience the love that comes back from a child — the bonding is mitigated,” she told NBC News. “That is one of the most difficult things for mothers.”

I’m tired of sitting and staring at my computer screen in horror and disbelief that ideas like this are given credibility anywhere, no less on major news platforms.

I’m tired.

I’m sad.

I want to curl up in a ball and make this go away.

But I can’t. Because I am my daughter’s mother. I can’t.

Thankfully, while I was trying to find words to make sense of all of this, Ariane Zurcher did it for me, for us.

“This horrifying statement is untrue,” she wrote, “but beyond that, the suggestion that if our feelings are not reciprocated, it makes sense that we become murderous, is to make us so narcissistic, so incredibly monstrous as to be unbelievable.   This is Bruno Bettelheim’s famous “refrigerator mother” theory reapplied to Autistic children and it is just as awful in this new version as it was in the original.”

That’s it, isn’t it? We spent so many years in the dark ages, believing that cold, unfeeling mothers were to “blame” for our children’s neurology and now? Now we’re going to contort that horror into one even more damaging – that children who don’t reciprocate our love IN THE WAY THAT WE EXPECT TO SEE IT RECIPROCATED are responsible for turning us into murderers.

Oh my God.

I’ve said this time and again and in myriad ways, but I’m going to say it again. Autistic people, by definition, communicate differently. Whether or not they experience emotion differently, there is no question that they often express their experience in a different way than neurotypicals do. I wrote about it here:

I’ve been gnawing on it for days. Worrying it like a thread between my fingers. I haven’t been able to let it go. And I still can’t.

I can’t let it go in part because perseverating on stuff like this is what I do, but mostly because, at its core, this is an issue of my daughter’s very humanity. Because truly, if we are able to convince ourselves that if autistic people are unable to DEMONSTRATE empathy to us in a way in which it is recognizable as such TO US, well, then they must be devoid of empathy, then we have effectively dehumanized autistic people. Go us.

And it’s funny really (in a not funny at all kind of way) that we talk so much about the inflexibility, the rigidity of those on the autism spectrum when really, isn’t it US, the so-called neurotypical population, who are stuck in this frightfully narrow rut of perception? Isn’t it us who insist that Autistics conform to our version of .. well, everything? Isn’t it us who are really so rigid in our thinking as to be capable of believing that other ways of processing / thinking / communicating / experiencing are wholly invalid? That’s pretty remarkable (and, in its practical application, horrifying) stuff, isn’t it?

And here:

If you found yourself in a Bantu village in East Africa tomorrow and someone asked you, in Swahili, to tell them a bit about yourself, could you? Even if you could somehow discern what they were asking, could you find a way to answer them? How? Might you try speaking reeeeeeally slowly in English? Gesturing? Drawing?

And if not, if you couldn’t find a way to express yourself in a way that made sense to them, would that mean that you didn’t know who you were? That you had no sense of self because you couldn’t find a way to make yourself understood?

And following down that road, does an inability to convey your thoughts in a way that NT people can discern mean that you don’t *have* the thoughts you have? How about feelings? Empathy? Knowledge? Self-awareness? I’ll take a stab at those if you don’t mind … No. No, no, no and hell no.

No more than not being able to speak Swahili means that you don’t know who you are.

And here:

Time and time again we hear and we see that the manifestation and expression of the human experience is different for those of divergent neurotypes than it is for neurotypicals. It is expressed, well, a-typically. But because we don’t recognize the expression as the same as those manifested in and expressed by our neurotype, we dangerously dismiss the possibility of its very existence.

And here:

You see, for me, the problem with statements like, “Autism entails a lack of empathy,” is that … well, God, there are tons of problems with them, including the grave danger into which we put people when we so easily dismiss their possession of a trait that stands at the core of what makes us human. But so too, I can’t let them stand without examination because they simply don’t jive with my experience with my child nor the literally hundreds of conversations that I’ve had over the years with autistic people and their parents. Once we are able to shed our own narrow requirements of how empathy should be felt and expressed, we see that it’s not absent at all (often quite the contrary as its presence is characterized by its over-abundance), But instead experienced and conveyed very differently than our own.

And here.

I would argue that not only have we, as a society (and researchers and doctors and evaluators as an extension thereof), been problematically posing the wrong questions, but that we have dramatically failed to look exhaustively for the answers when they’re presented differently from the way that we expected to find them. I know, that sentence was really awkward. Stay with me.

When my husband drives my car, he often forgets to take the keys out of his pocket and hang them on the key hook by the door. When looking at the empty key hook, I could conclude that he lost the keys, or threw out the keys, or that the keys never existed in the first place, because they are not in the place that I am looking. Or, I might just look somewhere else. Like his pocket.

And in a thousand other places.

Because this matters so much. And now it matters more than ever because this lack of understanding, this egregiously false premise, is not only once again being used to dehumanize my child and so many like her, but it’s now being hailed as the rationale for why mothers kill their children.

Please, I’m pleading, STOP and listen to autistic people. Hear them. Not just through the filter of your own neurology, but through an exercise in the true perspective taking ability to which we neurotypical folks so love to lay claim.

There are infinite ways to say, “I love you.” There are infinite ways for parents to bond with their children. There are infinite expressions of love and joy and fulfillment.

But as long as we persist in insisting that children and adults who don’t reciprocate emotion in only the narrowly prescribed way that we are willing to recognize don’t experience those emotions, we will continue to miss the beautiful ways in which they DO reciprocate and initiate and love and FEEL, just like all of us, but differently. And, tragically for all involved, we’ll continue to miss the joy of hearing, “I love you,” from our babies because we’ll still be stuck in the mistaken idea that it can only been said in words.

Because you can’t tell me that this ..

She reached forward and took a child’s board book from the seat-back in front of her. She grabbed my face and turned it toward her. She ran the book along my cheek. “It would make the yucky go out of your eyes,” she said. It hurt like hell – a cardboard book dragged across a sunburned cheek – but it was the sweetest thing she’d ever done.

And this ..

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{image is a photo of Brooke, her body silently draped over her sister.}

While having lunch on Saturday afternoon, Katie’s toe had a nasty run in with a falling plate. While we debated the virtues of taking her to the emergency room for x-rays vs. doing exactly what the ER doc would do (taping the toe to its neighbor, elevating and icing it and giving her some Motrin for the ouch) Brooke quietly walked over to her and did this ^.

They stayed that way for a while, completely silent. Neither said a word to the other.

Brooke eventually got up and walked away. In so doing, she matter-of-factly stated, “I made Katie feel better.”

And this ..

And then I watch in silence as she reaches for the blanket that we brought Oomah the last time we were here – the blue one, her favorite color, gloriously soft. The one that I told the girls I wanted to find because I wanted to “leave Oomah with a hug” when we had to go home.

I watch in silence as Brooke brings the blanket to the bed and spreads it out over her great-grandmother, slowly, carefully placing it on her sleeping form. She pats it down and, without another look, walks away.

… are anything but “I love you.”

I don’t have words big enough to convey the relief that washed over my family when we began to ask not, Are our children reciprocating our love in the way that we can recognize it?, but instead, Are WE showing THEM love and respect and care in a way that THEY recognize it? 

Flipping that script changes everything.

And by God, when we’re talking about “moms [not] really experiencing the love that comes back from a child]” as justification for murdering those children, we HAVE to flip the script.

I’m tired.

I’m tired of talking and writing and crying.

I want to curl up in a ball and make this go away.

But I can’t. Because I am my daughter’s mother.

I can’t.

 

 

 

31 thoughts on “expression is not existence – again (and again and again and again)

  1. Yeah, Jess I agree wholeheartedly, we as a community can longer say nothing about the murdering of our children. There is nothing, nothing that justifies a mother to kill a child. I need something proactive to do with all of this anger. I need to stop this, or feel as if I’m doing something to help stop this, any suggestions?
    Thanks for your wonderful thoughts.

    • Melissa, I don’t feel qualified to answer, but I’ll tell you what I will do …

      what we always do ..

      talk to people.

      support friends.

      share autistic perspectives publicly and often.

      flip the script about autism so that those who continue to fight against it, defeating themselves and their children in one fell swoop, can lay down their arms in a fight against their children’s neurology and instead pick up the fight for their rights and their dignity and worth.

      get to know our town councils and state legislators and congressional representatives and work with them to change laws in our towns, our districts, our states to help provide opportunity and support to autistic individuals in childhood and as they age. (i’d bold this one if i could)

      get families help when they need it. don’t be afraid to speak up when we see something that feels wrong, when a friend is struggling, when the ‘jokes’ turn too dark. follow our gut. don’t ever let embarrassment or etiquette stand in the way of asking a question that might save a child’s life.

      write to the news outlets who post this kind of destructive stuff.

      tell friends and family and everyone who will listen why we can’t support organizations that claim to speak for the autism community while dehumanizing autistic people.

      reach out when we need help and don’t take no for an answer. keep asking and asking and asking, — just as we would for our child — until we get the answer we need. if we have a friend or family member who is going through that process and reaching dead ends, help them get the help they need. find avenues they haven’t yet explored, knock on a different door.

      and to everyone out there …

      if for a fraction of a second you think that you could hurt yourself or your child, get help AND tell those around you (teachers, family, police, anyone) that you fear that you might not be able to keep your child safe. as horrifying as I can only imagine it would be to admit that, it is far, far more horrifying to actually hurt them. as scary as the consequences of words like that might be, they are far, far less dire than the consequences of the actions.

      does that help at all?

  2. Thank you for adding to the voices speaking out about this. And thank God for every. single. autistic. person. who have tirelessly, selflessly, repeatedly, fights to be heard. Thank God for every blogger, author, clinician, reader, parent, family member, teacher, educator, who has taken the time to hear them and signal boost autistic voices. We have to turn the tide. We must. It terrifies me to say it but right now, at this very moment, there are more lives hanging in the balance. We cannot ever stop fighting for their rights and freedom, my God, their very lives. Until all are safe…

  3. I just have to comment – first – AMEN! I agree wholeheartedly.
    Second, my precious 22 year old son is on the spectrum (he is the joy of my life), and is quite verbal (words are his thing) but he cannot say “I love you” – it’s simply impossible for him – but he “says” it in his way… when he’s ready… in his time… okay, and not that often, but it’s something i never ever doubt – i distinctly remember one time telling him that i was reading online that a lot of folks were talking about making sure to hug the ones you love while you can – something had happened to someone they knew, someone we didn’t know… he paused his video game… stood up, walked over and hugged me (he’s not much of a hugger)… that moment is one i will never ever forget – my son loves me – he cannot say it in words, he may never say it in words, but i can never doubt that he loves me
    our kids (you like how i get possessive? lol – my husband and i do that… all kids on the spectrum we refer to as “our kids”) may not communicate in the same way as most folks… that doesn’t mean they’re not communicating – they’re wonderful, joyous, worthwhile people – and anyone who doesn’t get that… don’t even get me started
    thank you for all you do here – i’m a big fan of your writing

  4. AMEN!!! I was APPALLED by that completely false and misleading statement by someone supposing to be educated…and an “expert???” I want to tell all the parents that ever listened to her to run away, cover your ears, don’t believe her…your children DO love you!!! We just need to learn how to listen to them, learn how to SEE them. Thank you for being here Jess. Thank you for continuing to write and to speak, despite being so tired. Sending big hugs! Hope you can take a nap soon 🙂

  5. You give me such insight to my little friend. You help me be a better friend and listener to his mother, my best friend.

    And many mothers are disappointed daily by the return or lack of return affection from their NT children! Let’s hope this trend gets squashed!

  6. All I can say is Thank YOU! It’s good to know I am not the only one who was shaken to the core by this.. Do we give this kind of empathy to the guy in Colorado who went into a movie theatre and shot people? NO! The people that sit there and talk about everything these kids lack do not live with them and do not experience the myriad of beautiful moments and feelings that come from being in their presence. My son is truly the greatest blessing in my life and a GIFT to the world – a gift of perspective, appreciation for the little things and a myriad of other gifts that have changed and enhanced my world.. there is nothing more to say and I will go “mama bear” on any one that says otherwise!

  7. I am with you. I wish the media would shut up and assign the same value to all humans, and give the helpless or dependent extra consideration in that vein. I am no perfect mother, I get stressed out like anyone else. But there is no excuse for any sort of abuse. No excuse. Children are dependent. Some more so, some less, some forever. Check yourself into a hospital if you are going to go batshit crazy. Put the blame where it belongs and leave the children out of it.
    I hope the case goes the way it should. I want the judge to dissect this idiotic ¨overwhelmed¨ excuse, and lay bare once and for all how ridiculous it is.

  8. I sent the “expert” an email a couple of days ago because that comment struck a chord with me and I just couldn’t let it go. I keep checking my inbox, but I highly doubt I will get a response.Thank you for taking the time to write about this again. Hopefully one day there won’t be a need to….

  9. This. I fas raised with the idea that children need to give back somehow for the energy poured into their upbringing, not only by expressing love in the way parents will understand, but also by somehow being successful in life. For example, children wiht intellectual disabilities or those with a limited life expectancy were not worth living according to my parents. They went out of their way to make clear that they werent’meaning me, their intelligent daugher who eventually would go on to be a professor at soem U.S. university. Needless to say I do now think they mean me, now that I’m in an institution and not working even in a sheltered shop. But even if they don’t mean me, so what? Then they mean coutnless of other children who are very worthy of living. A child doesn’t have any obligation to justify their right to life. It’s not like a child forced their existence upon the parents; the parents choose to have kids, after all.

  10. Oh Jess, your words, as always, captured what I haven’t found the words (much less the emotion) to articulate. Thank you for always showing how amazing our kids are at showing us things in their own ways, sometimes even their own language.

    I know this. When my youngest comes up and places his forehead against my lips because he wants a kiss, when he taps my chest with a grin and very distinctly says “mo-om” … he’s showing love in one of many small and amazing things every day. It doesn’t matter if he is largely unable to use his words to speak – we’ve found that listening to everything he is saying means listening to more than just the words he says.

    I can’t tell you how much I adore reading from someone who so completely gets that.

    This tragedy and the media coverage, as well as some of the comments … they’re breaking my heart, driving me to tears, making me so desperately want to give up.

    But like you I am a mom and my kids need me …

  11. Growing up I knew I was not the child my mother expected. She had made comments that at least if I had Down’s Syndrome I could love her.

    When you are young you keep hoping to find the thing that will make love come. You cannot understand love if it is not modeled for you appropriately and what I saw of it was conditional and a synonym for good-bye.

    As I grew I did struggle with a limited emotional range. It broadened as one might expect when I had exposure to people who did love me unconditionally although it took until I was in my 30s to believe such a thing was real and not “made up to sell books:”.

    My mother wanted a daughter she could do things out of magazines with. One who would stay small and pretty and be popular and I was acutely aware of how short I fell of the mark even when I was still not considered adequately verbal for “experts”.

    In time I forgave my mother for this and many other worse things but if we had lived in a culture where access to notions that killing is a solution I have wondered if I would have lived.

    I use words with caution. I say things when I know them to be true. For complicated words like love it takes time to be sure you both know what is meant by it and that it is true. It simply does.

    I have seen programs where children are trained to say this. How meaningful can that possibly be? Just because our expression of many emotions is different does not make us less anything.

    I also was only able to say I am so tired and I hate this planet in the wake of this and a horrific experience I had last week because that too many people believe autistics are less than human is way too evident and I am tried of it. So very tired of it.

    What kind of a world is it that can not accept variation? Would we want to live in such a world.

    I shudder, sigh and then the tears come again.

  12. In addition to all of your excellent points, there is something else profoundly disturbing about the so-called expert’s (thoroughly erroneous) comments. Under what circumstances does failure to reciprocate affection, regardless of the relationship between two people and regardless of whether the lack of reciprocation is real or perceived, EVER justify an act of violence against another person? What this woman’s statement suggests is utterly horrifying. There’s no mitigating that.

    My heart breaks for London. It makes me want to vomit, first that someone would do such a thing and then that others line up to explain away the depth of the crime.

  13. I’m in awe of the way you express yourself, Jess! I know what this takes a lot out of you but I also know that you absolutely must convey these thoughts in your writing. Thank goodness for all of us that you do!

    Love you,
    Mom

  14. Reblogged this on Professor Karla's Pressing Words and commented:
    Completely off topic for technology, but it relates to ethics. This is a great post about autism and parenting, apparently prompted by the woman who recently killed her 6-year old autistic son by tossing him off a bridge. I don’t care how overwhelmed someone is: you don’t kill your child/partner/whomever. There is no excuse for what that woman (I can’t call her a “mom”) did. I hope that little boy is at peace now.

  15. I was shocked by this blog as I’ve never once heard about anyone murdering an autistic child. My nephew is a well functioning but severely autistic child who is also mentally retarded. His condition keeps him from expressing love, fear, happiness and many other positive social interactions the same way that other children do but no one in my family has ever questioned this because…well, it’s pretty obvious that he is autistic. I tend to believe the cause of these “lack of empathy” murders may have more to do with the fact that there are a large group of seemingly normal humans living among us who are either sociopathic or suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder. With the growing number of children who are born with autism the chances of some of these poor children having parents who demand emotional validation from their children is much higher. I am part time caretaker of my nephew and he is 26 years old and works a real job even though he needs to be constantly monitored when doing tasks. When he lost his Mother and Grandmother suddenly last year I was so sad for him and it was frustrating that he could not be comforted in the same way as one would comfort a child who isn’t autistic. My frustration comes from empathy, not because he can’t empathize with me. That would be stupid to even consider. He is working out his grief in a way that works for him and his father and I and our siblings allow him his space and the time he will need to work it out. I sometimes question whether he is happy to be on this earth and living this life that doesn’t really seem very happy to me, but as someone who suffers severe depression at times, I ask myself the same question and the answer is always the same. We are here, we are alive and we deserve to be loved and cared for as do all the rest of the people who are alive and living right now.

  16. First, thank you for your commitment and passion. I admire your voice and words as an advocate and mother. I have been troubled and conflicted as I have read different debates throughout the autism community over this issue and I have to admit I was affronted by your call for judgment earlier in the week. I am a mother to a child with autism and a social worker and person who advocates for difference acceptance and understanding across all minority populations.

    This post has clarified some points for me to help me understand some of hurt and reactivity I am seeing in the posts I read. I am really trying to understand and look at this from all perspectives as you suggest. I absolutely agree that there is no rational justification for murdering any child, autism or not. Those rational or not when committing such crimes should be punished to the full extent of the law.

    The only point I think that is getting missed is that people suffering from mental illness are not always capable of rational thought due to their own differing neurology. You make a clear and strong argument for acceptance and understanding for people with differing neurology associated with autism which I think is awesome and is what made me a fan of your FB page to start. I just can’t understand the narrow focus that denies the same such understanding (and yes compassion) for people whose biology is different and at times leads them to commit unspeakable acts that I believe in their rational minds they would be horrified as about as you and I. And yes, you made a very good point about if this mentally ill woman killed my child would I make an argument for compassion. My hope is I would because holding that hate would not bring my child back or fix a mental health broken system.

    Like you I have been worrying this thread and trying to process the hurt and the perspectives that differ from my own. I agree with another blogger that referred to the debate in the community as a good thing, because that means this is progress and that once what was accepted as the norm is no longer the status quo. I appreciate that you are brave enough to embrace and shed light on these difficult topics. I look forward to reading your future posts.

    p.s. I apologize for the long comment and I understand if you find any of my comments offensive that you will not make this reply public.

    • Um, I have a mental illness and I’m no more likely to commit murder than the next person, even with my ‘differing neurology’. That woman my have been frustrated desperate and at the end of her rope but she wasn’t crazy and I don’t like being lumped in her category. The mentally ill are not more prone to violence. That is a myth. Please quit perpetuating it.

  17. In the interests of factual reporting, Dee Shepherd-Look said to the NBC reporter – “Quite frankly, I am surprised this doesn’t happen more often.” – not as you wrote above – ” ….I am surprised ( parents of autistic children don’t kill their children ) more often.”
    Ann G

  18. I’d like to share with you a post I made on my personal profile. I just don’t have it in me to pen a completely new comment. I’m so sad over the loss of this sweet boy and the media using autism as an excuse for murder. I agree with you.
    Okay. Here’s what I had to say. Oh, and my son’s name is Christian, as I mention him.:

    There is NEVER an excuse, reason, or mitigating factor that makes it justifiable or understandable to kill (or harm) your child (or any child) because of autism or any disability.
    Period.
    Victim blaming disgusts me. NBC needs to rethink and rephrase their story. Badly.
    We can have a separate talk about support and assistance for caregivers- but there is ALWAYS an option that doesn’t include harming your child.
    Replace autism with any other physical or neurological disability and imagine this story again. “Mother who was overwhelmed by her situation throws hearing impaired child to his death.” That would never be printed in a sympathetic text. Why is it okay to demonize autism and make children with autism out to be nightmares? No other disability/condition/diagnosis allows pity for the caregiver who HARMS a CHILD who is living with it. Not one.
    “They don’t experience love from their child like others. The bonding is mitigated.”
    The hell it is! STFU. That is pure bullshittery. It’s like saying you aren’t writing my name because you’re writing in cursive instead of printing in all caps.

    Why do I get all worked up? Christian is nonverbal by every medical/neurological/diagnostic definition. He is a seeker- he craves physical input. He runs and jumps and crashes into things and wants to be bear hugged. All the time. The pressure and impact soothes his mind and body. He doesn’t sleep much – ever.
    I am his caregiver. That is my choice. It is my privilege.
    Read the second to last sentence I wrote:
    That. Is. My. Choice.

    I am physically ill and I am angry as hell that another child has been hurt by the person he trusted most.

    There are always options.

    Those who say the mother suffered from depression and was stressed and overwhelmed–
    Are you telling me you couldn’t think of a single option that isn’t better than killing her child? She threw him off a g*d damned bridge.
    And some are trying to make that okay!
    Call a social worker.
    Hell, she could have handed him off to the police officer she passed as she walked to the middle of the bridge to murder her child.

    I look at my son and he is magnificent. His brain allows him to see and experience this world in ways I can’t even begin to fathom. He’s pure, undiluted love. There is nothing about him that is a burden. I’m sad to think there are people in this world who think he is.
    ———-

  19. Thank you for being a passionate and loving voice, fighting back against those who would devalue and diminish our lives, to try and justify their own failings.

    It gives me a bit more hope every time i read something like this.

  20. I agree with what you say, but I also know that I have wondered the same thing about the rate of parent-to-child violence. Every time I read or hear about a tragic death of a child, I then look around at the exhausted, strained expressions on fellow mom’s on the spectrum (because, face it, when autism enters your life, you have to join its wacky world in order to understand it) I am surprised and grateful that so many moms do make it through the struggle. I think that not acknowledging the fear, not staying alert to when we are at a breaking point, gives it more strength and power to rule us.

  21. Reblogged this on omaimae and commented:
    This is what Autistic child can transform us to, a very wise, very strong, very empathetic, loving, caring, humane, tremendously tenderhearted, compassionate, fair, smart, sharp thinkers, dedicating, angelical, great, sacrificing, prophetic, observers, communicators in the most perfect way! I do agree with you, and I believe in Brook as well as other autistic children and adults, they are a land that grows what is planted in, if we plant love, we cultivate it,and the same applies to education, awareness, compassion, human value, communications in other ways, tenderness, and all the beautiful things they learn from us by role play not just “word of mouth”, and this is the difference between them and other people, they are smart their own way. Son of my husband brother is an 8 year old autistic boy, it happen that he visited us with his father and stayed at my place for a month, I was afraid in the beginning that he won’t be alright since his mother is not coming with him, and he might go nervous if he did not find her, but he responded to my love, and he started to hug me whenever and where ever I pass by him where his dad always kept him in couple of steps far from him. The boy expected much from me than he does from his own uncle, I had my twin girls around, he sometimes grabs their toys and play with it, but I did not notice that he plays with them, he just plays around, and share stuff. they were just two year old, he never made any aggressive move against them. though sometimes he hit his head against the wall, and smearing his stool if he found no one around, so I had to force him wear an overall with a zipper on the back, just to prevent him from hurting himself. I used to sing with him the songs he loves and sing repeatedly, so until now when we are not living with each other, and when I visit his family’s house, he run to me and hold my hand, bat it against his thigh while sitting on the tempo of the song asking me to sing as he don’t speak. and I sing his song to him, so he smiles and smiles and dance. He know me, and interact, though I am almost a stranger as we do not see each other often. I love him, he made me research on Autism and be well informed in this disorder. So he also gave me a sense of activism in this cause. May god protect all of them, and guide their parents and caregivers to the right way to deal with them. I loved your post so here I am re-blogging it. Thanks for writing, and for the love you have for your daughter it inspires all of us.

  22. I agree with all what you wrote, and would like to tell you that you should be assured since there are millions of people like you, devoted fathers and mothers, please do not let the negative thoughts and feelings affect you, you have a greater mission, and your daughter need not to worry about you, she has a radar that tells her of your emotions situation. She gets her assurance and stability from yours, be assured since there are not much of these cases, because they are people like you, and killing a child is not even a usual activity to an expert murderer. It is horrible to hear such news, and to have that child go through such experience, it is a society and government common responsibility to try to protect both people with mental issues and also victims who could be also of mental issues. I can see you made good effort in bringing awareness on this point. Congratulate you for writing such important, comprehensive, and vital post. Please keep on the struggle, this what autistic lovely children make out of us, responsible, courageous and energetic, goodhearted people who are tirelessly fight for the good of this vulnerable loving little people.

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