Sunday, August 25, 2013

We are all beautiful

Earlier this week a hateful letter went viral on social media.  It was written by "Pissed off mom" basically telling a grandmother that her grandson with Autism should either be hidden away from society or euthanized.  This letter was written by a coward who would not even own their opinions by signing their name. 

Excuse my language, but this is bullshit.  Plain and simple.  Even babies can understand "object permanence", just because you don't see it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. 

I try to imagine how she must have felt after she read this letter.  Unfathomable but I will try:  heartbroken, irate, deeply saddened, disappointed.   Police determined that it was not a hate crime which I don't understand at all (possibly because there was no direct threat), but it certainly was hateful.  To know someone in your neighborhood possibly right next door is thinking these thoughts and propagating ignorance is horrifying.  I would certainly be terrified that someone might try to harm him and he would have no way to defend himself.

I have had the pleasure of meeting many children and some adults with Autism all with different abilities.  I spoke with one boy who knew the complete schedule of events at CHEO and attended as many as he could since he was in the hospital for quite a while.  Children with Autism are not typically social, but once an interest is piqued, watch out!  They will talk your ear off for hours.

I also had the pleasure of meeting a teen who communicated exclusively through his iPad.  Talking out loud was so uncomfortable for him but with today's technology he has been able to have a voice and interact with others as long as they are willing to take the time to listen.

Everyone is different.  Some get "labels" for different reasons, some don't.  Kids with special needs are not getting special treatment.  They are getting the treatment that they need.  Speech therapy for a child with Autism is as necessary as a wheelchair for his peer with paralyzed legs. 

Down at the bottom of it all, we are all the same.  Black, white, red, blue, green and all colours of the rainbow.  No one is better, no one is worse, we are just different.  We need to start seeing the beauty in others, really taking the time to know someone without prejudice or judgement.  I would also challenge people to ask questions in a respectful way if you are curious about someone with a known disability.  Many are quite willing to talk openly and will answer questions given the right situation and their comfort level.  

Not all disabilities are visible, ANYONE you know could have one. 


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