I won't give out Twitter handles, but here is part of the conversation.
"When you cure my Autism, you cure my originality".
Innocent enough. One person's opinion. No big deal. Until...the responses. Here are a few:
"Originality - that's a hell of a name for severe disability - get real".
"In severe cases it can be a lifelong drain of unconditional love. Yes...drain".
"My two children are a great gift to me. Autism - yeah, not so much".
There were a few other responses, but they are more identifying, with the names of children, so I left them out. I ended up clicking on the profile of the original poster, and found out she is 13.
I am hoping none of the people who responded to her took the time to look at her actual profile, because if they did, saw she was a child, and still decided to respond that way? Well, there are no words. Not words that I want to use here, anyway, unless I want to change my blog to 18+.
Here is a girl, barely a teenager, sharing how she feels about her own autism. Let me emphasize this: her own autism. Because she is the autistic one, after all. She can speak to her own experience, and that should be respected. Even if people disagree with her, basically cyber-bullying a child is inexcusable. Period.
Telling a child the condition with which she lives is a drain on a parent's unconditional love?
Telling a 13 year old to get real?
Response after response telling her how wrong she is, and that autism can only ever be a terrible, horrible thing?
And we wonder why people sympathize with murderers. We wonder why there is so much abuse in the special needs community as a whole. We wonder why kids commit suicide, after being bullied, and feeling unsupported.
It makes me feel physically sick.
When we are so stuck in our own self-pity, our own martyrdom, our own negativity, that we don't even think to see who we might be hurting when we open our mouths? Something is very, very wrong.
When you think it's OK to tear down a 13 year own girl, who is comfortable in her own skin, and doesn't see her autism as a curse? Something is very, very wrong.
When you understand why parents would murder their child? When you feel an outpouring of compassion for those parents, and blame the child for their actions? Something is very, very wrong.
When all you put out into the world is negativity, and darkness? Something is very, very wrong.
I've had it. I really have.
I hope others have had it, too, and we can work together to make sure every child is safe. Let's change laws. Lobby for our kids. Be on the look out for signs that a parent is about to go over the edge, and stop these tragedies before they happen. Let's make sure the outside world knows autism isn't a reason to hurt your child.
Let's make sure a 13 year old is safe to go online, express her opinion, and not be verbally assaulted by adults.
When your hatred for something makes you attack an innocent child, it's a sign things have spiraled out of control. Yes, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but when our opinions become toxic? Enough really is enough. Our children deserve better.