From Proud Mom to Bigot

by Jo on February 24, 2012

So this is why people fear speaking up and speaking out and making their opinions known; because there will always be someone out there who will twist and mangle and misinterpret their message to make it fit their own agenda.

Good thing I don’t give a damn.

In the past 24 hours, since my SUCK IT AUTISM post went up, self-advocates on the spectrum have called me more names than I can keep track of, some of which, like curebie, I had to look up on google.

At first I was mildly amused, then briefly annoyed, and for a split-second I even felt a little famous when I got my very first threat via a Facebook message:

“If you’re out here, Jo, keep your TACA people nearby. I have no use for curebies.”

The gentleman has since apologized, and I’ve accepted, because that’s what us BIGOTS do, but it still counts, right? Because I would hate for it not to count since it sort of made me feel important and like maybe I needed to start traveling about town with an entourage or something.

This morning, my post was dissected by Landon Bryce, autism self-advocate and webmaster for thAutcast.com -A Blogazine for the Aspergers and Autism Community – and he has all kinds of fun interpretations about my intentions behind my post, though my favorite has to be when he suggests that I was abusing Andrew:

“I think Ashline’s use of a picture of her own son in order to try to show how awful her life is and engage the reader’s pity is cruel and disrespectful.  It makes me concerned about abuse.”

You know what I was thinking the entire time I was reading his blog this morning? How fucking amazing it would be if Andrew was ever able to defend himself and his friends and loved ones like that. How fucking insanely happy I would be if he could sit in front of a computer and string coherent and intelligent thoughts about something he was passionate about. How I would give ANYTHING to know that his would be a life filled with conversations and disagreements and debates.

How quickly a mother’s raw and unfiltered expression of hope for her little boy can be savagely pissed on by a group of people I’m guessing don’t wear pull-ups and pull their pants down in the middle of the school yard while fellow classmates stare in judgment. I’m also betting that while they’re busy calling me names they aren’t simultaneously playing with their shit, because they KNOW BETTER.

That’s what I want for my Andrew.

To be able to live a life where he’s not playing with his own shit because HE KNOWS BETTER.

So if that makes me a curebie, or a bigot or a child abuser or an ableist or whatever other fucking word du jour you come up with, so be it. You guys are just a bunch of bullies. You bully parents like me who want more for their kids and you do it all from the comfort of a life we would give anything to be able to promise our own children.

You took my message out of context and used it to make yourselves look like the victims, when the real victims here are the very children parents like me are trying to save; children who are easily overlooked, children who are in physical and emotional pain,  children who will someday be adults that society will have no idea what to do with so it’s OUR JOB TO FUCKING FIGURE IT OUT.

Which is why I will continue to tell autism to SUCK IT; so that maybe someday, if Andrew is confronted with something or someone he doesn’t like or agree with, he too can express and defend himself and give them hell.

But in the meantime, I’ve got his next couple of flashcards ready to go:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, and the bumper stickers and t-shirts are in the works.

 

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{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

christina February 24, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Very proud of you Jo could not better said you are a super mom

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diedrestary@gmail.com February 24, 2012 at 8:21 pm

I agree SUCK IT AUTISM! I wants T-shirts and bumper stickers!

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Jenn-Anne February 24, 2012 at 8:21 pm

Fave line: You bully parents like me who want more for their kids and you do it all from the comfort of a life we would give anything to be able to promise our own children. go, jo

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Kirsten Wright February 24, 2012 at 9:41 pm

If every parent cared as much about their children as you obviously do about yours…this would be a MUCH better world.

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Gentleblue Mom February 24, 2012 at 10:21 pm

I’m so sorry people have been so cruel and bullyish towards you and your comment. My son doesn’t have autism, but he has apraxia and many, many times when I’ve seen him make an accomplishment in his speech, I’ve said outloud and on FB that apraxia can kiss our a** or that we’re kicking apraxia in the a**. It doesn’t mean that I’m putting down children or people who have apraxia – it means, despite difficult situations, we see glipses of progress and we want to relish and rejoyce in it…man, I used a curse word, I can imagine what someone would say about me…

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Loren February 24, 2012 at 11:32 pm

Hang in there. I wish you got even one hundredth of the empathy that you so deserve coming to you from the outside world. But just because you aren’t doesn’t mean that those of us who actually know you and your family aren’t filled with respect and admiration for what you all go through on a regular basis!

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Elise Ronan February 25, 2012 at 12:27 am

Like i said last time YOU GO GIRL. Autism can suck it. I say it everyday when my children can go to school, have a conversation and maybe just maybe have the ability to be independent adults making their own lufe choices. Glad u stand up to them. They are hullies pure and simple. Curebies…ableism tough s$$t on them. If i had that pill in a Speed of Dark I’d crush it into my boys chocolate cake asap. And guess what my boys r very high functioning and you bet i can still see everything that they r missing in life.

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Shannon Primer February 25, 2012 at 2:51 am

TACA mom, Curebie, PITA, and a bunch of other names and I am standing right next to you Jo!!! When Austin and I can have a discussion on his health, he will have a choice in it, until then he is just like my other kids until they move out, its my way (there is no highway in this house).

I want for Austin the same things, I want for my NT kids, I want him to not be dependent on his parents, his siblings or society, unfortunately the only way he is going to have that opportunity is for me to be all those names we are called.

You getting called out by by Landon Bryce, autism self-advocate and webmaster for thAutcast.com -A Blogazine for the Aspergers and Autism Community is a honor, it means people are listening not just Landon, it means your message matters and you have people who need to hear your words, because “Well-behaved women seldom make history,” Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Until the day that Andrew and Austin can tell us otherwise, all those who disagree can get the f-out of the way and SUCK IT, because we have work to do to get Andrew and Austin to that point!!

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Mary Luce February 25, 2012 at 3:40 am

Thank you! You have articulately stated how I feel. *HUGS* My son has moderate to severe autism, and autism does suck. I love him more than life itself, but that makes me just hate his autism more. I hate how it is trying to rob him of anything resembling a normal childhood and adulthood. Those bullies who attacked you have no idea what our kids or what adult low functioning auties are going through. And if any of them want to attack me for it, they can get off their high horses. I am an aspie as well. A dx of aspergers does not give anyone the right to “advocate” keeping a low functioning autie low functioning or to demand a parent celebrate the the dysfunction (the scope of which the aspie will never know).

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Sherri February 25, 2012 at 12:23 pm

YOU ROCK!!!!! My son is 6, has autism, and you put into words here, and in your original post, so much of what I feel. Thank you!

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Sarah February 25, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Jo, I am a recently new reader and I am hooked on your articles! I’ve gone back and read every one I can find. My 5 year old daughter has special needs (who the hell knows WHAT she has though! We’ve been told developmentally delayed, ADHD, Autism, speech disorder, etc, etc) and though she is not medically challenged like your son, I feel every bit of pain you write in your words. Keep writing what you write, because Autism and all those other diagnoses, really ANY diagnosis that affects a child from developing typically and having a chance at an independent life, can SUCK IT in my book too. We moms will stick behind you, 100%. Where can I buy a t-shirt? :)

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nikki February 25, 2012 at 3:40 pm

I have worked with children with special needs for over 20 years..
And in that time I have never seen a parent jumping for joy that their child has special needs..
I have seen the most amazing love , courage. determination. strength, and stubbornness from those parents….
I have also seen the utmost despair, heartbreak and sense of loss come from those same parents… All completely normal reactions from people who have/had dreams for those children.
Never once did I see parents attacking each other because they wanted more for their kids..

If these people with Autism wish not to be “cured”, then that is wonderful.. but like you said.. THEY have the ability to let you/us know this.. its the ones that cant communicate that to us, that need our help, support and yes protection…

Im sure if they had been born with cancer those same people yelling leave me alone would be out there yelling “cure”me …..

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Sandy February 25, 2012 at 3:55 pm

I think it is f**king amazing that these people feel that they have the right or need to criticize you or dissect your post. Why can they NOT be happy that a mother heard her son’s voice? A long, long wait and a mother finally hears a recognizable word and people have the nerve to “try” to make it something that it is not. From your first post on this, it appeared that by Andrew speaking, this gave you extra strength to continue trying to help your son. Who couldn’t be joyous about this? No one knows your story better than you. No one knows your life or Andrew’s life better than you and no one should be judging you because for the first time in a long time, you have something to celebrate!
Celebrate it however you see fit, but definitely celebrate it!

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Melody Sadowski February 25, 2012 at 10:24 pm

could not have said it better myself!
I would be proud to wear that t-shirt!!

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Jo February 26, 2012 at 3:18 pm

=) Thanks Melody!

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Jo February 26, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Sandy – It’s an issue of the wide spectrum that creates so much confusion not just among those who aren’t affected by it, but by those who are as well. People forget that autism is not a one size fits all diagnosis and that there are those of us whose children have the very worst of the worst. I continue to celebrate Andrew’s milestones and progress and I thank you so much for coming to my blog and commenting on what you’ve read. I hope you stick around!

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Landon Bryce February 26, 2012 at 12:02 am

You will never fail to win praise from a handful of extremists by showing how much contempt you have for any marginalized group. The wonderful thing is that you will not be able to keep Andrew from participating in the better world we are fighting you to make for him.

Detailed response here:

http://thautcast.com/drupal5/content/autism-suckfest-2012-continues-call-bloggers-autistic-mom-responds-and-jo-keeps-digging

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jo February 26, 2012 at 1:30 am

Oh Landon.

I wish you well. I wish all of those who struggle with something (myself included) well. Had we met under different circumstances, you might have gotten to know that about me.

I stand by my emotions, my right to express them, and my fierce, unending love for my little boy (and his younger brother, who does not have autism). And while I love a good pissing contest, my energies need to be focused on my child.

I respect your disdain for what I have written and your right to express yourself and I do hope that you find someone to write about what it’s like to have high functioning autism and/or Asperger’s because I believe in a society where folks are able to express themselves without being stifled by those with a differing opinion.

And you are right. I don’t write from that point of view because my columns are about MY experiences as a mother and so yes, they are so very different then what your experiences are. Which is the whole point Landon. I am NOT you and you are NOT me and when I wrote that post (which I still stand by) I was writing it from MY point of view about MY life with MY child and Landon, that’s MY RIGHT.

The idea that a small group of people believe that I hate people with autism should devastate me. Your post about me maybe abusing my child should have me up in arms. But you know what? As I played with my son on the playground today and looked into those giant big blue eyes staring back at me, and that huge toothy grin directed right at me, I was reminded that at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. None of that matters. What matters is what I know to be true in my heart and the feeling that comes over me when my son curls himself against me long after the sun has set each day and for a few moments we become one again.

So pardon me if I get back to the business of raising my children, and giving my child with autism the best possible opportunity for a full and healthy life.

In the meantime, I wish you well. And I thank you. Because this week I was tested, my boundaries were tested, and my beliefs were tested. And you were a big part of that. It doesn’t mean I agree with you. It just means that I believe we crossed paths for a reason. I needed to be reminded of my inner strength and determination and that’s exactly what you helped facilitate.

Godspeed.

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Denise Elsmore February 26, 2012 at 6:08 am

Hello Jo (I hope it’s okay if I call you Jo),
first of all I want to say that I get where you’re coming from. I can only try to imagine what you must feel like as a mother. And I understand that you love your boy and want him to have a rich life. It must be tough and a challenge.
But it is also true that I am autistic myself, on the high-functioning side of the spectrum. I have fewer challenges than your son does. And I embrace my autism because I am proud of the person it makes me. That is why I would feel offended if I would see someone with an “Suck it, autism” t-shirt or bumper sticker.
I get why autism makes you said but I hope you understand that me and other autistics would feel hurt if your t-shirt would tell a big part of us to suck it. Maybe you can relate with an example. What if I had a son who was killed by a Christian fanatic in Norway and that would prompt me to wear “Suck it, Christians” shirts? I would have every right to hate Christian terrorists, a sad extreme of the Christisn religion. But my t-shirt would offend all the good religious people out there.
Empathy is a thing I had to learn and I try to understand that you feel a certain way about your sons autism. But autism has a million different faces, so all I want to ask from you is: Please don’t generalize like that. Especially not on your shirt.

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Jo February 26, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Of course you may call me Jo. We are dealing with two very different autisms here Denise. The labels may sound the same but the realities of those labels and diagnoses couldn’t be further apart. Denise, I’m not saying you suck. But the version of autism we deal with on a daily basis here in the Ashline household does suck. It sucks royally most of the time. And when Andrew does something amazing we don’t attribute it to his autism. We attribute it to the fact that we spend our lives trying to circumvent the various physical, emotional, and cognitive challenges that his autism diagnosis creates. I suppose it’s an issue of looking at autism as a gift vs looking at it as something that we need to constantly wage battle on. I am of the latter because that is what our truth and reality dictates. This is not the same as waging a battle on you or others that are high functioning and living full lives. This is because my determination to suit up and go to battle is based on my belief that my son deserves better and trust me when I tell you Denise that his version of autism is nothing like yours.

Thanks again for stopping by to comment.

I want you to know though, that I truly appreciate your taking the time to respond here in a way that is calm and creates opportunity for further dialogue.

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Christan February 26, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Jo and Denise, I think this is the type of constructive dialogue that can unite our community. Our instructional tech person in the school system where I work says “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.” All of our experiences are so disparate. Because no two experiences are the same, no two reactions will be the same. Because I always favored the “person first” approach to disabilities, it makes sense to me that “Suck it, autism” is directed at the condition itself, and not those who have autism. My son is very high-functioning (Asperger’s). He graduated from high last year, with honors, and is currently in his second semester away by himself at college. I love his sweet spirit, boundless curiosity, and ability to hyper-focus. I could not be more proud of him or who he is, but with all that said, not a day goes by that I (and he, for that matter)don’t wish he had an NT’s ability to empathize, read people and have interactions with his peers that don’t leave him vexed and

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Christan February 26, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Sorry. Guess I hit reply too soon. To continue…interactions that leave him vexed and overwhelmed. As the world looks at those on the spectrum and those of us who love with fear, mockery and suspicion, as we have to fight tooth and nail for accommodations and acceptance, why must we fight amongst ourselves? It makes me proud and inspired to see self-advocates who are proud of who they are and what they can do, but it is no less amazing to see a parent who so vehemently loves her son and who works tirelessly to make each day better for him. Why does either have to be wrong? Best wishes to you all. To understanding and acceptance.

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Bryan Wright February 26, 2012 at 2:03 pm

I agree with you Jo.

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Jo February 26, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Thanks Bryan

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Amy Armstrong February 26, 2012 at 2:18 pm

What Landon and other advocates who bash parents don’t realize is that the ONLY reason they are able to self advocate is BECAUSE of parents like you and me. Parents before us who fought schools, doctors, society to CREATE the path. Forged with their sweat, tears, and tireless meetings to combat those who said “they can’t, won’t, shouldn’t, couldn’t”

Instead of attacking you it’s praise for caring for your child no matter who gets in the way.

No child typical or not can self advocate. It must be taught and learned over time through life lessons. My typical son is learning this the hard way in high school.

My daughter is severely and profoundly delayed and will never ever learn to self advocate thru a blog. However I am teaching her to make choices of what she wants to eat, drink, and play with. THAT is self advocacy for HER ~ and anyone who says otherwise can … well to steal your words …. “suck it”.

Love you and what you do

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Jo February 26, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Thank you Amy. The passion we have for our children is amazing, isn’t it? So are the dreams, even if they require we modify them or let go of previous ones that no longer make sense. And saying it sucks is a part of that journey. And it’s our right. And I truly believe it makes me a better parent, because I am able to face the challenges, knowing my Andrew is worth the fight.

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Landon Bryce February 26, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Amy,

I submit this as evidence that you are bashing me having any idea of who I am or what I write:

http://thautcast.com/drupal5/content/my-mothers-body

It is my absolute belief that I would not have attained the level of functioning I have had it not been for my mother. I stated in my first piece about this that I believe that Jo is acting out of love. As she pointed out on the OC Moms Facebook page, I have featured her work positively in the past. Most of the thousands of people who read my site are mothers of kids with autism. I am not the villain or the bully that I have been painted as here.

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Rhonda February 26, 2012 at 2:39 pm

I’d like to order the shirts in bulk please. lol

I admire your ability to write in such detail while being so emotional with your beliefs. Mine turn into angry rants. Something I’m working on.

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Jo February 26, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Thank you much Rhonda!!

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AspieSide February 26, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Jo I am sure you mean all of this out of love of your child. My son has Asperger’s (I believe I do as well). I agree that behaviors need to change but that doesn’t mean that the autism needs to change. I am teaching my son to advocate for himself and in doing so he needs to say “I am autistic, I need this” If he is surrounded by Autism can suck it, that makes it difficult for my son or your son to advocate for himself.
Also you used the example of not playing in his shit because he knows better. Many self advocates have pointed out that they used to do that. My son used to have many bathroom issues, it has gotten better over time.

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Jo February 26, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Thanks for weighing in AspieSide. I myself have many diagnoses of varying severity that impact my life on a daily basis. They include severe OCD and Panic Disorder and both of these SUCK. I don’t feel offeneded when someone else says they suck too. I feel freedom. Freedom to be honest that sometimes it’s not only okay to be that blunt, it’s necessary to move forward and continue trying to prevail despite the obstacles I face. Should my son ever get to a place in his life where he is able to cognitively understand and communicate (using whatever means he is able to) the depth of his disorder and all that it entails, I am sure he will come to me on many a occasion and inform me that autism can suck it. And I will wholeheartedly agree.

As far as the bathroom situation is considered, I do hope it gets better over time, but if it doesn’t, we’ll figure it out I’m sure. He’s taught our family so much love and patience already, we’re not afraid of a little doodie. I wish you well on your journey as a mom and I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

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AspieSide February 26, 2012 at 6:17 pm

I understand that you say your own disorders suck. My son has actually (while advocating for himself) said “damn you autism!” http://www.spdbloggernetwork.com/2012/01/15/brilliant-snowflake/ He was jokingly saying it and even if he was angry saying it, that is his right to say that. I guess it is the same thing as any other group of people. My boss is gay and one time there was a picture of him and his boyfriend under a sign that said “Queens” My boss thought this was hysterical and showed it to everyone and laughed out loud about it. If he was walking down the street with his partner & someone yelled “QUEENS!” It would be taken much differently.

I get it, I really do get it, that certain parts of any disorder suck as is stated below. All any of are asking for is for parents to be mindful that certain terms are upsetting and hold a different connotation when said. No one would argue with you that crapisodes suck! Or Meltdowns suck- I have written a post titled that myself! It is when an NT says that Autism sucks or can suck it, it feels as a personal attack. No one would tell my boss he shouldn’t be offended when someone calls him a Queen.

I went to the grocery store upset by this discussion thread because I like who I am. I like who my son is. But I am glad that I came back to read your response. I believe in the end we all want the same thing and I am actually glad to be having this conversation. As I have written many times I think we all should cheer each other on. We all have different journeys and your experiences are different than mine. I try to understand that when someone says that autism sucks or can suck it that they are dealing with something right then that is upsetting to them. I try not to react to that but certain words do cause an internal reaction. I am only asking you to be mindful of that.

I do not know you but I always believe there is no other love as strong as a mother’s love. I don’t fear that you dislike your child or aren’t accepting of him as a person. My bigger fear is the reaction that words like these cause in the community with people that already do not understand. Like my son’s teacher from last year that just did not understand him, and clearly had no interest in trying. Thought he was faking things or insubordinate or dangerous or all of the above.

Happy to continue the conversation further but do not want to monopolize your thread. I wish you well & I do support you as a fellow parent.

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SheilaRae February 26, 2012 at 4:15 pm

I agree 100%. I have a non-verbal 12 year old son with severe autism who wears pull ups and will pull his pants down when he feels like it. Autism sucks and you have a right to feel like you do. That doesn’t mean you don’t love your son or are abusing him. We do the best we can and we should never be made to feel bad about that. I’d sell my soul to Satan if I knew it would cure my son and I make no apologies for feeling that way. I will always accept him the way he is but I still have hope things will get better. Keep the faith!!!

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Kelly Mitchell February 26, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Personally, I think you are BADASS!! Your approach to AUTISM is not all that different from mine! All the bigots, haters, and especially the ones who HAVE NEVER walked a minute let alone a day in our shoes can actually SUCK IT! Then SWALLOW IT, The EFF OFF!

I believe Autism is My Road Less Traveled, it has guven me patience, a wicked sense of humor, joy, anger, and LOVE greater than I could have ever imagined! At that, Has Made All The Difference.

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Karen V. February 26, 2012 at 4:31 pm

I, too, as the patent of a 5 year old son with autism, understand what you are trying to say. I know what you are feeling when we celebrate a milestone. And, I have been rebuked by Landon Bryce as well, who taught me a thing or two. I can also understand how someone with autism can misconstrue what our parental intentions are when we communicate. The only middle ground I can see here is to say “suck it” to the disabling parts of autism. There are parts of my son’s diagnosis that I find really special and that includes his intense focus on things that allow him to learn. His innocence. His acceptance of others. I think when any of us talk about “cures” or “sucking it”, we are all really on the same page. We all want our kids to be able to communicate, to complete daily activities of living on their own and to make thei way to some form of independence and the self este that comes with that. It is those road blocks from the brain disorder that we want to go away. Really, I don’t think we’re all that different in the end.

I think you have said it well and, for what it’s worth, I know where you’re coming from and I support you.

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R. Larkin Taylor-Parker February 26, 2012 at 5:23 pm
Chelle February 26, 2012 at 7:31 pm

I agree! I always say that I am going to have shirts made up for store trips that say “My sons screaming may bother you…But, it is how he deals with having to look at you.” Probably not the most diplomatic way to deal with the gawking looks we are given during melt downs. Not my best idea by far, lol. My son, however, is an angel who would never lie, cheat, or intentionally hurt anyone…which is not what people “interpret” when they see him screaming with his hands over his ears while fighting me. They do not get to see the completely talented little boy he really is. He may not be able to have a conversation or problem solve but, at 5, he can write out 4 letter words and count to 20. I totally get where you are coming from Jo! I wish that everyone could see that it is not people we have an issue with, never in a million years would I mistreat anyone just because they are different than myself. Rather, the situation and the lack of understanding from the social society about Autism. When I told my family that my son has Autism half of them asked if they still give ritalin for that. Seriously?! I lost all but one of my closest friends since diagnosis. It is something that takes over your whole life, and it is completely worth every minute and frustrating stare. When I see my 57lbs son pass a milestone that is normal for toddlers…I just want to scream it to the world. The world that tends to look at me like I am loco.

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Gianna February 26, 2012 at 8:42 pm

Honestly, I don’t find it offensive at all….especially in the context you wrote it in. I took it as, “Ha! See? My son CAN read! We’re going to defeat the odds!”

I KNOW there is no cure for autism but there are therapies and strategies that can help pull the stereotypical characteristics out. I am a FIRM believer in that. My son was diagnosed on the autism spectrum by 2 psychologists and a developmental pediatrician. Fast-forward 3.5 years later after INTENSE early intervention services and therapy. Now, professionals are saying that he has lost many of the characteristics and we owe it ALL to early intervention. Just because I want to get my son help and I want him to succeed doesn’t mean I’m a “curebie” and doesn’t mean I want a cure. I feel the same for you. You’re doing the right things and anyone that says you don’t have the right to express yourself in that way….can SUCK IT.

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Emily Willingham February 27, 2012 at 12:02 am

It’s one thing to be bullied, I know. I *know*. But when someone in a disadvantaged group tells me that my language may be painful to them, I seriously consider my language and their position relative to mine and whether or not it’s language that I really, really need to use. “Suck it” actually refers to fellatio, as you probably are aware, and it’s a pretty degrading term to use, especially when people who are in the disadvantaged group have said as much. I understand being pissed off, deeply hurt, and offended when people call “bad parenting” and “child abuse” and other shit like that (I’ve experienced that, to0), but what I do not understand is digging in heels and insisting on being in-your-face to a group of people who are *autistic*–even if you think their autism isn’t like your son’s–and telling them to fuck off. What’s bullying to you is to them taking a stand against a society that’s treated them for years like third-class citizens because they are autistic. Reading this entire unfolding saga is actually physically painful because I can feel the pain of people on all sides here. I can’t, however, see how continued and proud use of degrading terms helps anyone, at all. I think about my 10-year-old autistic son, with whom we have taken pains to teach appreciation for some of his autistic traits so that he’s not crushed under the weight of how society treats him, and how reading something like “suck it” would confuse and hurt him because for him, autism is part of who he is.

That your son read? That’s fucking phenomenal. That you see that as a victory over autism? That’s certainly your right of interpretation. But then you placed that interpretation in a public sphere, and without awareness of all the stupid factions in the autism community–like “curebies”–insist on continuing with verbiage that *autistic people* have expressed is painful to them. I completely understand how celebratory it was for you. What I don’t understand is the insistence on continued degrading language…and all of these people who’ve come on here to celebrate this distasteful insistence on causing pain to a disadvantaged group. Where is the pride or compassion or humanity in that?

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Gina @ Special Happens February 27, 2012 at 3:32 am

I agree with and support you 100%…and so do many others! Hang in there!

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Barbi Barrett February 27, 2012 at 4:07 am

If they have an Autistic child like we do, they would know what the hell your talking about. Sometimes you can just get so tired of being PC and saying how strong you are to go threw this. Fuck it. If I had the choice for my son to “keep” Autism or “get rid of it”, I know it’s a hard one,but I would choose for him a life without struggles, frustration, confusion, sadness, and fear. SUCK IT AUTISM! and you can add KISS MY A**!

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TUC February 27, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Wow Jo, just wow. I have been reading along… your posts and those of your critics, and I have to admit I am shocked.

My daughter doesn’t have autism. She has TBI, which presents very much like autism. I hate TBI. I HATE what it did to her. How dare anybody tell me I have to “love” or even “like” or even make peace with TBI in order to love my daughter.

And call me any name you want but if there was a cure for her TBI, I’d be first in line. You know why? Because TBI can suck it.

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Jo February 29, 2012 at 4:54 am

Ah. Thank you my friend. “How dare anybody tell me I have to “Love” or even “like” or even make peace with TBI in order to love my daughter.” Amen.

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Aimee Nance February 27, 2012 at 9:51 pm

I would beat the shit out of Autism if I could. My son is just a little boy like your son and he does not deserve what Autism is puting him through. I accept him for who he is and I love him so much and that is why I am mad at the condition that is making him suffer. I think you are great and very brave for expressing yourself this way.

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outoutout February 28, 2012 at 2:51 am

This post makes me recall a similar thing that happened to me over the weekend.

I made a couple of posts on my Twitter account about my day’s activities (as I often do), and talked about a non-so-nice encounter with two sales clerks whom I described as “blonde chicks”. One of my followers immediately replied to my post and accused me of being misogynistic. Now, as someone who loves women (a whole lot) and considers herself a feminist, you can imagine I was quite taken aback. “What?? What do you mean? What would you have said instead?” I fired back to her. She explained that using the word ‘chicks’ to describe women is derogatory, and it was not necessary to say that they had blonde hair unless I was implying that they were dumb. Ooooo-kay.

My initial knee-jerk reaction was to get angry and defensive. After all, where I live, “chicks” is just a slang word for girls, nothing more. I certainly didn’t mean it to be derogatory. And I wasn’t saying anything about their intelligence by calling them blonde. I could have easily written off this Twitter follower as being oversensitive and too PC, and unfollowed/blocked her, and made some proclaimation about “those people” trying to police what I say and write. I sure felt like it.

But then I stopped, and recalled every time I’ve been ignored and eyerolled for daring to suggest that something society takes for granted is inherently offensive. I’ve fought so hard to be taken seriously for who I am and what I believe in, and here I am doing the exact same thing to someone else. So, I wrote back to this person and apologised for inadvertently offending her. Then I went and did some research. Turns out that in at least some circles, “chicks” is at very least crass. Okay, so now I understand where she’s coming from and why she objected so vociferously.

My point? One of the most difficult things to do in the face of criticism is to step back and, without emotion, think about what was said and why it was said; where the other person is coming from and how we would feel if the situation were reversed. The sentiment that “I have the right to express my emotions the way I want to” is sort of missing the point… of course we have the right to feel however we feel. But when our expressions become part of the public discourse about what it’s like to have an autistic child, then we need to really consider how we express them. We need to consider that when not-one-not-two-but-several members of the affected community come forward and say that our words hurt them, it’s probably time to change. It doesn’t mean that we’re wrong and they’re right, or vice versa. It means that we’re considerate and compassionate about others. It’s not a weakness. (not that anyone said it was, but just wanted to emphasise that point)

Full disclosure: I’m an autistic adult. You may look at me and say that I appear to be nothing like your son, but I guarantee that we are probably a lot more alike than different. It’s just that I’ve grown up and I have different issues. Not easier, different. I am also the parent of two autistic children with their own trials and tribulations. I straddle both worlds. Like other autistic self-advocates who’ve commented on this page, I am taken aback by your angry tirade in your post about “you people”. I mean, it’s one thing to be angry about something that someone said, but quite another to go off on an entire faceless group. Whose lives and issues you know nothing about.

Please, please reconsider your stance on this. Please get to know a few autistic adults and where they’re coming from. Do research, as I did. Please.

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Melissa Parent March 3, 2012 at 10:58 pm

I love you. I love you , and I live your life – and I LONG for the day my son looks at me and reads a word out loud. Just one single word. ANY word. Hooray for the self-righteous bigots who think they have the lock on how to ‘do’autism, and also, a hearty middle finger salute. they are no better than any fundamentalist or fanatic, and their opinions are just as worthless. If someone is able to say to you “I have autism, and this offends me”, then they can stop right there and kiss my ass – because what THEY have isn’t what my son has. THEY can communicate. THEY are not trapped.

SUCK IT is right. Good for you, great for your son, and don’t you DARE apologize for being happy he made a step toward being able to communicate.

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Kathryn March 11, 2012 at 11:58 pm

If someone said “Yippee! My son read his first word today! All you doctors who told me he would never do that because he’s autistic, suck it!” I would be 100% behind THAT statement. Too many “experts” counsel parents to have low expectations or give up hope. All the strong parents who ignored that advice, who didn’t put their kids in institutions or stop trying to teach them skills, did or are doing the right thing.

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Kal March 14, 2012 at 12:28 am

Without context, that “Suck is Autism” can be seen as extremely offensive. I suggest not using it or finding something else

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megansspark April 1, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Thanks for posting your experience. It’s a great move to blog the exchanges and interactions you have with people…. if another person has a similar experience, they can do a search on the people involved, and see if patterns emerge. It makes a barbed comment or dismissal a lot easier to bear, if you see the person regularly employs that style of communication. Keep sharing!

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Autistic Bean April 28, 2015 at 8:19 am

Landon Bryce is a child. He is one of those “advocates” that thinks that his job and right is to find offense at every comment anyone makes about autism. The facebook page of his blog is full of similarly overly sensitive cry babies who go out of their way to find offense at any comment and then attack on mass the person they deemed to have casued the offense. If anyone fights back and defends them selves they are banned and their comments removed. Its pathetic.

What made me chuckle today is that Landon got a taste of his own medicine when an autistic person took “offense” at some innoculous post he made. A cat fight ensued and it seems Landon can dish it out but can’t take it.

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