(Update: April 2, 2015 apparently, when I changed this post from Private back to Public, it reposted as new. Although I do not support Autism Speaks any longer, I would never begrudge anyone that does. I do stand behind the rest of this post – it was a rant at the time, but I do stand behind it)
I received a little bit of abuse since posting my last blog, not about the “streak”** but because my streak supports Autism Speaks. I’m sure I’ll get some abuse from this post as well. I don’t like conflict. I certainly try not to cause conflict. I’ve been thinking about writing/not writing/writing this post for days, but it wasn’t going to stop bothering me until I did. I could receive all of the positive comments in the world, but unfortunately the comments that stay with me are few negatives.
I used the word “abuse” to describe this feedback because that is exactly what it was…. abuse. They weren’t opinions, or simple comments like “Hey, I disagree with you and here’s why”, they were out-and-out attacks. I value everyone’s’ opinion; it doesn’t mean I will agree, but I will listen. There is always that opportunity to learn something new or look at something in a different way. Most surprising, to me anyway, was that these comments came from people with autism.
The only usable sentence not dripping with expletives was “How can you support a charity that is trying to eradicate me? I am so sick of this.” This post is really not about a few negative comments, my skin is thicker than that, it’s more about the fact that I’ve seen this kind of reaction before. It makes parents feel bad for wanting to help their children.
I can make the assumption that these folks were able to read my post, understand it and comment on it. This alone puts them on an entirely different level of the *spectrum than my son. My son cannot do that. He will never be able to do that.
On one hand, I found it refreshing (if only for a minute) to come across people, any people, who actually like who they are. Isn’t that what all of the self-help books/TV shows/magazines, etc… tell us we all need to do, love ourselves? I don’t believe anyone should have to change what or who they are if they are happy with themselves. On the other hand, I could have lived without the hostility. If I thought Autism Speaks was rounding up everyone with Autism and forcing them to into treatments, obviously I would not be supporting them.
We all need to look at both sides of the story. I support the right to be who you are, but there are many children and adults with autism that need help, will never be able to take care of themselves, live on their own, much less comment on a blog. I’ve said it before; if I could live forever, I would not want to change a thing about my son. He’s the happiest “kid” around and a joy, but he has no siblings, no one really to care for him when I’m gone. This is what my nightmares are made of. This is what keeps me awake at night.
I’m not going to feel guilty for hoping for some sort of break- through so that I know his life without me will be just as happy and safe as it is with me. I do not want to eradicate anyone; I want what’s best for MY son.
I will continue to support any Autism charity I chose to support. I will continue to fight for my son.
If you’d like to have a rational conversation, I am perfectly willing to listen.
*Streak – #AutismStreaks – 100 day walking streak using the CharityMiles app.