Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Morénike's Outrage

So many people have dug into their hearts and contributed phenomenal viewpoints to this justice flashblog.  Post after post, the authors convincingly and eloquently described the many reasons that it is beyond unacceptable to sympathize with the “parents” such as Kelli Stapleton and Dorothy Spourdalakis, who choose to harm or murder their autistic children (Issy Stapleton and Alex Spourdalakis).  These authors have addressed the matter so thoroughly that there’s little I can truly add that would be substantive on this topic.  Reading through the posts, I noted the various emotions that each author displayed.  Some were saddened, some were angry, and all were passionate, so I should have felt moved.  Except I wasn’t.

Because this entire flashblog shouldn’t have to exist in the first place.

I pride myself upon generally being able to channel my emotions into useful energy and into advocacy that gets real results.  But I’m not wearing that hat today.  Moreover, I typically hold in high esteem those who are able to work collaboratively with “outsiders” and inside personnel to facilitate paradigmatic change, especially under adversity.  Ordinarily, I also count myself among those able to.

But today?

Nope.  I can’t.  I just can’t.  It is nearly impossible…no, wait, it is completely impossible, for me to relate to or understand how people feel the need to justify the actions of individuals who willingly inflicted deliberate, irreversible pain upon their very own children.  As such, I cannot effectively craft a diplomatic, yet articulate counter-argument that would appeal to, and possibly persuade, those who hold those views.

Maybe tomorrow I will join hands…or raise a proud fist; I don’t know.  But today, my fingers are itching to do something else--something that’s not “politically correct” and certainly not going to win any friendships.

I’m here to throw stones.

Yup.  Throw stones, cast blame, criticize, call people out… all of the above.  And that’s it.  I’m not empathizing, I have no statistics to share, and I’m not offering any helpful resources or ideas (beyond this idea:  It’s not okay to kill your kid.)  Call me the flashblog’s weak link if necessary; I’ll own it.  Because no other course of action makes any sense to me right now other than to stand up and try to shout some common freakin’ sense into people.  And by PEOPLE, I mean autism parents.


What on EARTH is wrong with you, autism parents???  (And by YOU, I mean those of you clamoring for us to have some sympathy for Kelli, saying we shouldn’t judge until we’ve walked “in her shoes.”) What is wrong with you?  To even consider for a moment that murder is a viable solution to any difficulties you might be facing because your children have disabilities? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?

You are nothing but a bunch of spoiled brats.  You disgust me.  (I stopped cursing more than a decade ago, so my language isn’t going to as colorful as it could be.  Lucky for you, too.)  It’s all about you; everything is all about you.  Not about your child, though you’d love for everyone to think otherwise.  Poor, poor you.  Your child doesn’t live up to your—not his/her own—expectations, but yours.  That darn autism just keeps getting in the way!  Why, oh why can’t your child be just like everyone else’s, right?  Your child is different, and different=bad, right?

So first you milk the situation for a few years to gain sympathy from others about how hard you have it and how much you’re suffering under the weight of this autism diagnosis that has “stolen” your child.  Post it online for the world to see to get some REAL attention, complete with detailed info about your child’s meltdowns, struggles, toileting troubles, seizures.  Don’t forget to use your child’s real name and several close-ups of his/her face.  If you’re really savvy, include some video footage too, because nothing spells comfort and support to a distressed child than to have his/her parents recording the moment rather than addressing it.

Fast-forward a few years.  The whole martyr role has gotten old, and you’re now bored with the whole autism thing.  Time to really step up trying to “fix” the kid.  Maybe through a starvation, oops, I mean elimination, diet, or maybe through chelation, a hyperbaric oxygen tank, chemical castration, bleach enemas…who knows.  Pick your poison.  No?  Not fond of any of those options?  Well, you can always pull a Dorothy or a Kelli and just go for the straightforward, violent approach.

Not you, you say?  You love your child? Of course you do.  “In spite” of the autism, right?  You love him/her, you just “hate” the autism.  And by the way, autism “doesn’t define” your child.  S/he “may have autism, but autism doesn’t have him/her.”  And if I don’t agree with you, it must totally be because my children are “SO much higher functioning” than your child is (insert cookie-cutter fecal smearing/aggressive/non-speaking anecdote to prove your point here).

All through this post I’ve said “you.”  But maybe I should I say “us,” because whether or not I like it and whether or not you like it, I am one of you.  Just like you, I have children on the autism spectrum.  Just like you, I face challenges meeting all of my children’s needs.  Just like you, I regularly encounter insensitive “professionals” and judgmental onlookers.  Just like you, I fight for my children to be treated as competent and whole individuals.  

But unlike many of you, I share my children’s diagnosis (or will in a few weeks, once I pay the remaining balance on my nearly $2,000 worth of diagnostic assessments to the psychologist who evaluated me for autism earlier this year).  So while my kids are not clones of me, and I can’t understand everything that they do/feel/think/say, I understand and can relate to the majority of it.  And what I can’t understand? I TRY.  Like any other parent, regardless of their neurology.  I do what I can to make it my business to learn how and what to do what is best for them, even if it isn’t always the easiest route for me.  Because that’s being a parent.

You aren’t Dorothy and you aren’t Kelli, you say.  So why am I so mad?  I am mad because every day you help to foster the development of future Dorothys and Kellis in the way that you, either by omission or commission, contribute to negative autism stereotyping.  That whole doom and gloom, fire and brimstone, autism=disaster/tragedy thing?  Very damaging—not just to those on the spectrum, but also to everyone.

And I am mad because inadvertently, you represent ME.  And parents like me, both autistic and non-autistic, who truly love and embrace our beautiful, unique, quirky, weird, awesome autistic kids.  Your hollow, negative voices drown out ours, and we are TIRED of you misrepresenting us.  We are tired of you recruiting scared, hurting parents who are searching for answers to your sick point of view and brainwashing them into thinking like you.  We are sick of you controlling the public perception of autism, and we are tired of the disparities we see nationwide regarding resources for those with autism diagnoses.

But most of all, we’re sick of the carnage you leave behind…the Alexs and the Issys of this world who had to pay the ultimate price.

It’s enough.  Grow the hell up, and once you do, open your eyes.  Open. Your. Eyes.  We can no longer afford your blindness.  I can’t, my children can’t, and your autistic children can’t either.

Justice for Alex.  Justice for Issy.  


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