The mother of a 5-year-old son with autism and former star of the Real Housewives of New Jersey wrote a compelling letter to a cyberbully who wrote a mean-spirited Facebook post about children with autism.
When your appalling and uneducated post appeared on the Facebook wall of the Autism Behavioral Services page, I couldn’t believe that a human being could have such a lack of compassion and empathy for others by having the audacity to say something so vile, and so publicly, about the life of another human being. I thought to myself, ”What a hateful, hurtful and ignorant thing to say!” For a moment, I found your comment extremely offensive and I felt anger towards you.
For a moment, I allowed your words to upset me, but I quickly choose to take that power away from you. Instead, I began to feel sadness for you. I have no idea what challenges in life that you have had to endure, or what kind of mental programming you’ve grown up with for you to think the way you do. I don’t know what has caused the anger and bitterness to build up inside of you that compelled you to lash out to hurt others the way that you did. I just know that [post] hurt people.
I began to think that maybe I could help you in some way. Maybe if I educated you, just a little, I could open up your mind into a new way of thinking and possibly open your heart to allow in a little more compassion. I believe it’s worth an effort.
As a very proud mother of a beautiful, intelligent, loving child with autism, I want to provide you with an answer to your seemingly seething question that you so boldly and publicly asked,
“Why do people give birth to autistic kids? Waste of societies resources.”
Well, let me educate you.
1. There is no medical detection or prenatal test to tell you that your child will be born with autism. (That answers your question.) Even if I had known of my son’s autism prior to his birth, I would have still chosen to give him life.
2. Autism signs and symptoms are usually discovered within the first few years of life. (The life you believe should never exist.)
I am a mother that waited six-and-a-half years and went through five miscarriages to finally give birth to, what I consider, my miracle child. I couldn’t wait to hold him in my arms, look into his eyes and love him forever. The love for my child is immeasurable and I will continue to love him unconditionally regardless of any challenges he may have. He is a joy to our entire family and has taught us more in life than we ever imagined we would be teaching him. Thank God he exists! He is worth every resource we can get that will help bring out the best individual that he can be. He is worth every skill we can teach him that may make his life a little easier in the future.
3. In case you’ve never done the research, autism is a neurodevelopmental disability that affects the normal development of social and communication skills. Those with autism can also exhibit some self-stimulatory and repetitive behaviors. People with autism spectrum disorders process and handle information in their brain differently than other people. Differently, but not less, than other people do!
4. Autism is the fastest growing developmental disorder, affecting 1 in 68 children born in this country, yet it is heavily underfunded. (So we need more of those limited resources that you say are a waste.)
What I am wondering is what makes you feel that you are more entitled to life and the use of our societies resources to better yourself, than someone with autism? What makes you feel more superior? I’m curious what useful and positive lessons you feel you are teaching the world with the resources you’ve already received from our society?
5. Although there is currently no known cure for autism, it is treatable. With early detection, intervention and treatment services (the resources you say are a waste), the signs and symptoms related to autism can be greatly improved and in some cases completely overcome. (So you see, the resources are not a “waste”.)
Every life is worth fighting for and improving on, even yours.
6. Every child, with or without autism, or some other challenge in life, matters!! Every human being has something to contribute to this world if people would pay attention to the lessons to be learned from each individual.
7. Many well-known people that have been “suspected to have,” or have been diagnosed on the autism spectrum have successfully contributed to this society. (People that you feel should never have been born because you feel they wasted society’s resources.)
I hope you take some time to understand how your insensitive words may have affected families, such as my own, who choose to see the beauty of children with autism. We love them unconditionally and endlessly. As parents we will continue to fight hard to give our children whatever we can to give them the skills they need to help make their lives easier for their future. We are parents who will continue to believe that these bright souls not only have the power to continue to learn, but also have plenty to teach the world. Raising a child on the autism spectrum is a joy and challenge every single day, and we appreciate any information, resources and support we can get from others. I hope in the future, you choose empathy over your lack of compassion.