When you start a blog and it starts to gain popularity you tend to put yourself in a position to be criticized by others. Criticized for anything you do differently than them and different ideas or perspectives you might have from them. That's just the nature of being a blogger. I knew that would inevitably happen when I started this blog; I thought the benefit of helping others find resources in their area and providing basic information and links to helpful sites preponderated the negative aspects.
I rarely get negative feedback on my blog The recent email I received was by far the nastiest, the cruelest and most bitter. There's something to be said about hiding behind a computer screen and not having to take accountability for what you say and the feelings who's you hurt. I owe it to the 2 readers out of the thousands I have to address their opinionated perspective that I am a terrible person because of my post "I WOULD Change My Child"
So without further ado:
-Anyone that knows me knows that I am a good mother and I work so hard with my kids, often times falling short. They know that I love and adore them and that I wouldn't change who they are, even if I could. Which brings me to my next point.
-I DO NOT believe that Autism IS my child. **GASP!!** (Feel free to throw your laptop at the wall, at this point.) How could I say such a thing?, you might be asking yourself at this point. For the same reason that Autism is no longer 1 in 110 children. It's now 1 in 88. How is it increasing? I believe something is causing it, and not that Heavenly Father just believes that we are all AMAZING people and wants to bless all our lives with Autism. There, I said it. If not so, then why is it increasing with each year that passes?
-When I say that I would change my child, I do not mean LITERALLY change the tiny little person they are. Yes, my child may not be diagnosed with a terminal illness or have a
drug problem or be bound in a wheel chair as you were so kind to remind
me. I'm sorry that you are so offended that I don't think Autism is beautiful. Let me tell you just a few circumstances of some of the Autism moms I know:
Autism mom #1-
Her 11 year old son with Autism wandered out of their locked home at 1 am. The mother heard the door alarm go off, bolted out of bed and through the front door. Before she could finish screaming his name, she watched her son be plowed over by a Ford Pickup. So you're telling me it's not Autism related that this boy didn't respond to his name?...
Autism Mom #2-
Had her nose broken because she was standing too close to her son during one of his headbanging meltdowns. Not Autism related?..
Autism Mom #3
Just finished repairing her dry wall because her 4 year old son with Autism put his head through it; he was trying to calm himself down. Not Autism related?...
Autism Mom #4
Found out that her daughter had been molested for 3 years by a family member. How and why didn't the mom know? Her daughter doesn't speak. Not Autism related?...
Autism Mom #5
Lost her 16 year old daughter because the kids at school thought it would all be in good fun to watch the "autistic kid" trip on acid. Trusting that they were her friends and not being able to discern for herself that she was being targeted, she took it; she had a seizure. Not Autism related?...
Autism Mom #6-Me
My daughter was sick for some time. Why? From fecal smearing. My daughter has PICA, something that affects 5% of the Autistic population. She had sores around her mouth and she was always sick. There were some nights where I would hear her up at 3 in the morning. I then would spend 2-3 hours scrubbing down her walls, shampooing her carpets, bathing her, cleaning out her mouth and scrubbing her finger nails. My point in sharing that is not to say "Oh look at me, look at how hard my life is!" I DO NOT FEEL THAT WAY so tuck away your 2-edged sword, please. Those moments with my daughter while cleaning her up...well I'll just say my heart was heavy and it's some of the times that I have felt the closest to my Heavenly Father. I knew she couldn't help it and I was never, not once mad at her nor did I curse my circumstances.
You see my point? When I say I would take away their Autism I am referring to their Autistic BEHAVIORS that impact their life NEGATIVELY. Autism, for me, ISN'T about making my life easier it's about trying to make their life easier and by THAT I mean teaching them how to discern danger, how to calm themselves and so on.
-In the email I received, well here, let me quote verbatim; I would hate to get it wrong ;)
"Here's the thing. You ARE a flag waiver. You just can't see it
because you call it by another name. You are like so many other parents
of children with Autism out there, who call what they do "activism", or
"advocating", or "teaching awareness". What it really is, however, is a
platform to voice their riotous discontent at the crappy hand they have
been dealt. My question to the parents who constantly complain about
the trials and hardships that come with raising kids on the Spectrum is,
"Do you honestly think you have the market cornered on parenting
hardships?" Are you kids in wheelchairs? Do your kids have an
expiration and/or can they be killed by something as benign as the
"...Why am I taking the time to ask you this? Probably because parents with
children on the Spectrum who are so in people's face about "try taking a
walk in my shoes!" anger me at their short sightedness and limited
-If I am a flag waver, well then, I surrender. I am happy to be one. I bet there were a whole lot of "flag wavers" behind the Bills that have been passed in 29 States demanding that insurance companies pay for ABA therapy. Not to mention the countless other bills that have provided services for our kids.
-I believe ALL children are Blessings, including my own.
-You asked me also why I would want to take away my children's free ride to the Celestial Kingdom by taking away their Autism. I'm sorry that you have only a partial understanding of the Gospel. Having Special Needs is not the only way. If it were, then the rest of us would be in a lot of trouble.
-Last, people know me. They know my family. They know and see how hard we work with our kids and how much we love all of them. They see how involved and hands-on we are with our kids. They see that we wear a smile every day and we never complain about our circumstances. They see that we bend over backwards to do kind things for other people. They have heard all of the wonderful things that Autism has done for us as individuals and a family as a whole. You can gossip about me ("That Ashlie, she's a big bad Autism flag waver!") as you insinuated you may or may not do, despite never having met me. You can try to put me down and say cruel and harsh things that you would never say to my face nor would you want your friends/family and Church friends knowing you said; just know that people know me, the real me.
I wish you the very best in your life. I hope that you can bring about all the change you are hoping and trying to bring about in UT, but don't worry; I wont accuse you of trying to make the world a better place for your child, like you did me. Clearly you are calling what you are doing by another name.