This is my son Andrew.

He has autism.

He loves the ocean


garbage trucks

bounce houses

stained glass windows

his brother Ian

the tractors from CARS

getting raspberries from his daddy

being helpful

Jesus

and his iPad

Andrew has autism.

He may be different in a lot of ways,

but he is most certainly not less.

He is not someone you should be afraid of.

But do you know what should scare you?

How quickly our society jumps to conclusions, how quickly society will believe dangerous lies in its pursuit of a scapegoat when tragedy strikes.

Did you know that after the media reported that the Newtown shooter may have  had autism, someone started a Facebook page and promised to burn a child on the spectrum for every 50 likes the page got?

Do you know what that feels like, as a parent of a child with autism?

Did you know that the autism community wants to be able to grieve with the rest of the country, but instead, we’ve been backed into a corner and forced to dispel rumors and myths that are hurtful and have potentially incomprehensible consequences for those with an Autism Spectrum diagnosis?

Did you know that people are turning away from family and friends with children on the spectrum out of fear and ignorance?

Do you know how dangerous misinformation can be, especially in the hands of people desperately seeking revenge?

Do you know how petrified I am to send my son back to school after winter break because of how some people may perceive him, judge him, based on irresponsible reporting by the media and society’s obsession with jumping to conclusions?

Please.

Don’t let fear mongering, misplaced anger, and inaccurate information infiltrate your hearts and your minds.

Autism is nothing to be afraid of.

There’s nothing scary about my son, or others like him.

Just ask me

or Andrew.

 

 

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28 Replies to “My Son Has Autism. Please Don’t Be Afraid.”

  1. Beautifully said! I totally relate- My 14 year old is on the spectrum and there are so many similarities I can see between Andrew and my Nicky. Thank you for speaking up for our kids!

    1. You are most welcome. You’ve been doing an amazing job this week Rachel. I know it’s overwhelming and daunting, but you are making a difference. Trust me.

  2. OMGosh, tears in my eyes!!!! Did u pull those words out of my mouth??? Andrew is simply gorgeous and I want to hug him!!!!! I will share this til the cows come home!!! 🙂

    1. =) Thank you for reading Courtney. You are welcome to hug Andrew anytime. He loves hugs!! Thank you for sharing and I’m so happy the post resonated with you!

  3. As a grandparent of a 4 year old on the spectrum, I know how difficult it is to cope, without the disparaging looks and assumptions of strangers. D is awesome and despite his issues, we wouldn’t change anything about him. He just wouldn’t be D. Good luck to all who are living this life.

    1. Our struggles are made exponentially more difficult when our children – both young and old – are presented in a negative and/or dangerous light. Our kids are amazing human beings and worthy or respect. To compare them to a killer will only bring harm to our community. Your D is so lucky to have a grandmother who loves him for who he is.

  4. You have taken the words right out of my mouth! I am a mother of a 4 yr old on the spectrum and I too have a fear of sending my son back to school after Christmas break! The one thing that riminds me it will be ok is knowing the Lord will have my back! And that if I can help educate the people around us it will certainly make a difference even if its just locally! Thank you for sharing.

  5. Wonderful and honest piece of writing. Andrew is quite a handsome boy and you should be very proud of him! But it saddens me to know there is ignorance concerning this subject. And even sadder is that it has caused parents like you to feel concerned. Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season. It’s obvious that Andrew is surrounded by much love.

  6. Santa has way too many awards, so he’s dropping a bunch of them for you to do with as you choose. There are some real goodies in there, including another star for the Blog of the Year 2012, and 4 or 5 others. Take’em all, take your pick, enjoy. It’s Christmas, almost!

    http://teepee12.wordpress.com/2012/12/22/blog-of-the-year-2012-six-stars-and-the-liebster-most-inspiring-versitile-and-reality-awards-too-plus-my-favorite-youll-see/

  7. That was brilliant. I LOVED, LOVED the photos and description of Andrew. And especially the one of him shining in the light of the stain-glass window. You’re so right about people’s rush to simplistic conclusions, rush to blame, rush to find a way to distance themselves from this horrible tragedy. Have you read Far From The Tree by Andrew Solomon? You may be interested in this article of his in the NY Times today:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/23/opinion/sunday/anatomy-of-a-murder-suicide.html

    Thanks for stopping by BLOOM and hope to see you again!

  8. I seriously don’t get what’s wrong wth ppl. You don’t have to have a child with autism to be sickened by such hate and prejudice. Any and all parents should be. We’re talking about children for Pete’s sake! You can’t give any attention to idiots who look to exclude ppl for whatever reason. Those are the same people who exclude ppl of color, or women, or short ppl, etc, its all ridiculous! Please know that there are plenty of parents outside of the autism community that support you and your family.

  9. One week after the tragedy and the only people with a medical diagnosis of autism are two of the little angels and NOT the perpetrator. Does the media even comprehend that for two families dealing with loss, their grief has been compounded by this misinformation? Funny how in their haste to get headlines, they play fast and loose with the truth but when the dust settles, they aren’t in a hurry to clean up the mess.

  10. Brilliantly written.. I really wish and hope the society becomes more conscious and be less judgemental. You have a lovely boy!! 🙂
    Hugs and lots of love!! Have a beautiful year!!

  11. I have give you the “Shine On Award” for service. This is not a “blogging” award, but is an actual real award given to people who make a different. I think that you work on behalf of autism and you opinion pieces make a real contribution. There are NO “requirements” involved. You can pass it to others you feel deserve it or not. No questions to answer either.

    Please drop by: http://teepee12.wordpress.com/2013/01/13/shine-on/

    All the best,

    Marilyn at Serendipity

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