Full title and full disclosure: Autism 101: hating your autistic child … and teaching her or him self-loathing.
Twice in the past week I’ve seen “I love my child, but I hate autism” posts by parents of autistics. One was written by a real-life friend I respect greatly, and one was by a Facebook friend I’ve never met.
It’s not that this language is rare. Somewhat shockingly to me, despite much good work by many autistic adults and autism professionals, it is a language still common to many of the largest autism organizations and associations. It is a language still common to many autism parents. It is a language still common to media and general society.
It is, indeed, a language and idea most common and base.
Most times I wince, shudder, and keep moving, because it happens so often and it is so heartbreaking and we can only afford so many broken hearts before we, too, shatter. Or maybe I’m just too cowardly or tired on any given day.
But occasionally I’m triggered, and I say or write something. I have to. Well, I choose to. So here we are.
Let me put it plainly and directly: If you are a parent of an autistic child, you cannot hate autism and love your child.
If you hate autism, you hate your child.
Also, you are teaching your child to hate herself or himself.
Autism is essential to your child’s identity. If you took away her or his autism — which isn’t possible — your child would be a different person.
If you want a different person for a child, you don’t love your child.
So, you aren’t hating autism. Autism isn’t a thing that exists to hate. It does not exist outside of its expression in actual human beings. We’ve just created an idea and given it a name and clustered definition, representing a shared way of being for some people. The only place autism exists is in people — it exists as real people. Instead, you are hating your child, despite your words and beliefs to the contrary. And you are teaching your child self-rejection and self-hatred.
Autism is no different than race or sexual orientation or humanity itself. It is simply part and parcel of a person’s being.
I love my black child, but I hate blackness. I love my gay child, but I hate homosexuality. I love my son, but I hate men.
I love my autistic child, but I hate autism.
Like the others, that is a failed formulation, incoherent thought and emotion and obviously harmful.
It is not love.
It is abusive parenting.
Autism is integral to every part of your child’s personhood. It informs the way he or she thinks, feels, acts, and engages —receives and expresses — with the world, including interacting with people, most certainly including you.
If you want to take away your child’s autism, you will fail. And you will also fail as a parent in every important way.
If you hate autism, you not only hate your child: you hate every single autistic child, every single autistic person.
You are prejudiced, and when you say that you hate autism, you are engaged in hate speech.
Haters gonna hate, the saying goes. But there’s hope. The hope resides in you.
It’s like when someone who is anti-gay is told that she or he has a gay child. A lot of disowning used to happen after that. It was terrible. It caused unimaginable harm. People tried to be who they weren’t. People were rejected. Lives and families were injured.
But the world has changed and people have changed. There’s more acceptance now, more embracing even: embracing that child or adult as every bit as beautiful as anyone else, embracing her or his orientation as an essential expression of who they are, and loving who they are.
Society is a little bit further back on the curve for the autistic population. We’re still trying to cure. We’re still trying to eradicate.
But, setting aside language about there being nothing to cure, there simply is no cure — even if children’s or adults’ expressions of autism are overridden, that’s still who they are inside and how they process and engage the world and exist in the most essential way. It’s like someone gay pretending to be straight or a lighter-skinned black person pretending not to be black. There have been times and places, and there still are places in this time, where that might lead to greater societal acceptance. But no empathetic person thinks such artifice could possibly fulfill a person’s best life — a life that is truthful and joyful and real. I ask you to strive to support your real child in having her or his best authentic life.
It does get complicated, including for me. My son, Nicholas, is 14. He has been described by professionals as having classic Kanner-type autism, at a time when the definition of autism is undergoing undulating expansion.
There is a difference between supporting a child — or any person — and trying to change them into someone else. The difference is in some ways obvious but in some ways fairly sophisticated: we can fool ourselves into thinking we’re doing the former when we’re really doing the latter.
My child is the heart of the world. And I remember quite well the years of tantrums and self-injury, kicking and flailing, no talking, triggers of all sorts in every aspect of his life. He wore a helmet for years to avoid fracturing his skull.
I tried to help him, not change him. That desire drew us to North Carolina and the TEACCH supportive model of structured teaching (and living), rather than “curing.” The strategies we employed helped him feel more a part of the world. They supported him and alleviated some of his stress. The world became more sensible to him. He became happier.
Still, there’s always a balance to be found around “helping” — around parenting and therapy and teaching models. When does supporting someone in their happiness and well-being cross into sending a message of trying to transform their autism — assigning characteristics to autism and labeling them as bad and needing to change — and thereby of rejecting the autistic as an autistic? When do we shift from good intentions, even good intentions with substance and not just parental self-interest, into abuse?
What does the child feel and hear and know?
The answer isn’t easy. It can’t just be about intentions. It’s also about what’s received in words, feelings, actions, perceptions, and emotions. Over the years Nicholas has done an awful lot of occupational therapy, speech therapy, TEACCH sessions, social skills sessions, and more. The thought gave me pause last night. So, as I tucked Nicholas into bed, I asked him — utterly out of the blue for him, but he didn’t hesitate in his replies:
“Nicholas, do you think I hate autism, like autism, or love autism?”
“Poppa loves autism.”
“Why do you think that?”
“Because I am Poppa’s guy.”
“And Poppa loves me.”
Right. Just right.
Still, acceptance and embracing aren’t always easy. While I’ve never wished Nicholas didn’t have autism — I’ve never hated autism, much less said so — Nicholas had a stroke a few weeks ago, causing significant facial asymmetry, among other effects such as cognitive regression and a diminishment of fine-motor skills and clarity of speech.
His smile, especially, made his face seem contorted. When he would try to smile, his mouth would torque downward and to the left. It looked painful, even though it probably wasn’t. Nicholas was confused and upset both by his appearance and by his inability to control his own facial muscles. He became very anxious, and his tics and stereotypic movements increased significantly over the next few days.
I felt some anguish: this kid sometimes has had a rough time of it. I hoped that the effects of the stroke would just go away, even as I knew that if they didn’t, we would need to accept and embrace them.
Certain effects from a stroke can correct quickly, a good while later, or never. The facial asymmetry improved a lot for Nicholas, relatively quickly, although it still is present and worsens sometimes, at unexpected moments and especially on long days. Also, strokes predict future strokes.
I know I need to help my son find a language and attitude of accepting and embracing should the facial asymmetry increase again or should another major episode occur down the road.
And the only way it will work, the only way it will be authentic and meaningful for him, is if I really mean it.
Thank you for engaging with this article. If you’d be so kind as to share it on social media channels using the buttons below the post, I’d appreciate it. I also invite you to explore some of my other articles about autism on this blog, among them:
- Top 10 List: Things to Remember When Working with Autistic Children
- Accept or Reject: Part 1 of a six-part series on autism value contrasts (with links to the other five pieces)
- On Blackness and Autism, Identity and Essence
- Nicholas Thurman Jackson Hemachandra: the puzzle known as Superman
- Anti-Autism Prejudice
- Autism and Grief
- Roads Not Taken: Lessons in Autism, Inclusion, and Life
- The Autistic Spectacle
- Autism and the Human Condition: Ourselves and the Other, Ourselves as the Other, Ourselves and No Other
Thank you for this insightful post. As one who is still struggling with self realization, and where my children fit in with this diagnosis, it is vindicating to have my frustrations justified. Though I struggle, I do feel that it is important to address ASD as a challenge, rather. Than something to be hated.
Reblogged this on Glass Half Fuller.
I really really appreciate this article. I have been internally challenged over the past few months about what the state of my heart is regarding autism and how it affects my son. I think I’ve realized today how I have compartmentalized it: the sweet face on one side and the sensory issues on the other. So if I look at it like that, then yes, I can say I “hate” autism (not that I do)…but I must admit that there’s also a bit of selfishness in there: it’s more that I “hate” what the effects of it are in terms of how it affects my life and makes me uncomfortable and extends me. That selfishness is not at all what parenting is about. The more I read the writings of Autistics and the more I ask questions of them, and the more I read posts like this one and the comments that follow, the more I realize that it’s not actually MY perspective that counts here: it’s my son’s. If HE sees it as part of himself (and there are so many things that he does, that none of my other kids have done, that I just LOVE and think are just brilliant!) and if I truly love him, then I will take the advice of those who have an inside view on his world, and love him AND his autism. Because I never ever want him to feel not-good-enough. Ever. And so I will change my heart, I will choose to love autism and love my autistic son and the many autistics who comment and stand up and advocate for our autistic kids. I will choose to look at my son as whole, not lacking anything, perfect. So thank you Ray, because you have shown me the error in my thinking; thank you, NT angry people, for showing me that I don’t want to live stuck in denial and anger, but rather to move on to acceptance and growth.
Most of all, thank you, beautiful, graceful autistic commenters, because you show me the way I want to be, which is full of grace and acceptance. I am always so impressed by how eloquent, calm and sensible autistic commenters are, and the responses to the angry comments here were just that.
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This tendency to separate one’s ‘evil’ from who one actually ‘is’ has been described in “The Nazi Doctors” by R. J. Lift on. He names it ‘splitting’ – where one compartmentalizes oneself so that one can do blatant acts of cruelly and simultaneously be ‘loving’ (to one’s in-group, as a rule).
To the Nts here who speak of the defective nature of their children, this amounts to a double-bind: they want a child – the child they (unconsciously) believe they’ve earned – but instead, that child was stolen from them – much as if this era was back in the dark ages and ‘fairies/ trolls/ malevolent djinns’ were believed to exist.
They actually DO hate the child they currently have – only they believe (unconsciously, as a rule) that it’s a ‘stock’ (historical term used regarding changelings). This accounts for the “attitude of war”
I’m sick of this.
It’s difficult having an autistic sister, and she’s mild. I couldn’t imagine raising a severely autistic person. It’s too much stress, and I’m entitled to my feelings, but they aren’t guilt free. I feel so so bad regretting her autism, wishing she were normal, but it’s difficult. Stares are difficult. Watching her get pulled out of school due to developmentally inappropriate behavior is difficult. The possibility she may never be able to live on her own is difficult. I don’t tell her to act differently or try to make her change herself; my family tries to help her find coping mechanisms to deal with her developmentally inappropriate emotional reactions. However it’s hard. Everyone in my family’s lives would be easier if she weren’t autistic. I don’t even enjoy conversations with her because I know I’m deprived of normal sisterly love.
I see everyone telling me my feelings are wrong. It’s hard to have difficulty accepting my feelings, as immorally I feel wrong. But she’s difficult. She’s stressful. She’s hard to handle. She’s a burden. I’ll never understand what it’s like to have a normal bond with a sibling. To not get stared at in public. To put mattress pads on a hotel bed because she still has accidents at 11 years old. You never get a break, time to yourself, and you never get the same bond you would with a normal person. I don’t abuse her, and I try to treat her like everyone else as much as I can, but I’m stressed out every time I’m in her presence. It’s hard to accept the stresses of having an autistic family member. Personally, if she were my biological daughter, I would have given her away as I would not be able to handle the stress independently. Everyone acts like you’re a monster if the stress is too much, but autistic people bring on much more stress than the average person, and to deny how stressful they are is a lie to promote tolerance. It’s better to give up autistic persons than to raise an autistic person and cause abuse towards them. You cannot force the love of an autistic person. They are difficult to love, as much as society tries to deny this fact.
Imagine being that autistic person. And then reading this.
Do you have any idea how stressful it is just to be autistic?
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As an autistic adult, I would be so hurt if I was your relative and saw this. The world is already hard enough. Finding acceptance is already hard enough. Reading this would kill me inside if I was your sister because you make it very clear that she is unwanted the way she is.
Yes, people with autism are stressful to be around. How do you think it feels for us? I’ll tell ya what, as stressful as it is for you, it’s ten times more stressful for the autistic person.
Your sister CAN sense this from you, by the way. If she seems more stressed out around you, guess why. You sound just like MY older sister, who has the same attitude as you. I avoid her as much as I can because I can feel the disapproval coming off her like a bad smell and I get the sense that I am only tolerated in her presence. That’s it. Tolerated.
Your sister and I both deserve to be loved. We want to be loved. Even if it’s hard. Love her anyway.
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You’ve come to the wrong place looking for sympathy. I’m sure your life is horrendously difficult. /sarcasm
This is literally awful, you’re awful. I feel sorry for your sister.
I understand addressing something that is commonly said & addressing the issues with the false belief. I suggest that what would be most helpful is to try to HELP people who say this, or who express their extreme anger/frustration about this. I think that someone who says they hate autism is crying out for help, and realizes it it is socially unacceptable to say they hate their kid sometimes. If we can’t get help, we’re doomed to “teaching our children self-hatred”. How about some pointers & encouragement for when we are at the end of our rope? We don’t have to agree in order to have empathy.
Thanks, Anonymous for sharing.
I am autistic, and can I just say, neurotypical people like you are not easy to love, they judge and judge and try to make you fit in. They discribe you as being a burden and a waste, they describe you as wanting to be put away, they describe you as worthy of nothing more than being given up at birth. They are difficult to love. My sister are neurotypical, but the good kind. They kind that don’t imagine a world without me. The kind who would never describe me as difficult to love. Fuck you. I have a right to exist that is equal to yours. I have a right to be, that is equal to yours. I have a right to exist in all of my autistic glory that is equal to your right in normality. You are hateful. Go get help. Stop teaching autistic people to hate themselves.
I am assuming by the context here thst you are still fairly young, teen or early 20s maybe, so I am not going to degrade you or call your feelings immoral in and of themselves. They are normal teenager feelings, but i am going to be frank that the whole of your post could have been summed up with “I am embarressed by my sister” and “I wish i had the normal life that I believe everyone else has” (even though no ones life is nearly as normal as I think it is.” Guess what, those feelings have less to do with your sister than it has to do with your age. Every teen is embarrassed of at least one family member (sutostic or not) and every teen thinks that their stress is the very worst kind of stress. Im not trying to diminish how awful those feelings feel when you feel them, but they are not unique. They are not what makes you special.
A teen’s biggest job is to live through those awful feelings long enough to figure out what it is that DOES make you special. Hating your sister ain’t it. (Literally anyone can do that). Figuring out how to empathize with her, understand her, and stand up for her would be.
Thank you for this. I am not autistic, but I suffered a brain injury as a baby. This all applies to my experience as well.
I remember my parents constantly wanting to “fix” me. First of all, it’s not possible. 2nd of all, when you have a brain injury that young, it is a part of you. It is a major portion of what makes you who you are. All my life I have felt like I am a burden, like I am in everyone else’s way. I hate myself for needing help with anything, or making any mistakes. I’m finally beginning to realize why that might be, which means maybe now I can heal from it. The part of me with the disability was always rejected, always thought of as “bad”. Self-acceptance is hard, but it’s necessary. I think I might finally be on that path.
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The love/hate dichotomy.
Mother: I love my child, but I hate his Autism.
Mother: I love my child, but I hate his transsexualism.
Mother: I love my child, but I hate his homosexuality.
Mother: I love my child, but I hate his skin tone.
Mother: I love my child, but I hate his hair.
Child: I want to love my mother, but she hates everything about me.
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Do you see parents saying
“I love bipolar or schizophrenia because my child is inseparable from it so that’s their identity.”
“I love my child’s suicidal impulses because that’s who they are.”
“I just love my child’s seizures because they’re part of him”
NO, that would be ridiculous. No parent wants to see their child suffer or have to worry about whether they will ever function independently or what will happen to them after they’re gone. To go out of your way to characterize them as monsters or even Nazis, as some others in the comments have, is incredibly wrong.
My autism is a condition that has not benefited my life and caused a lot of suffering, it may be part of my identity but it is not essential to my identity. It is not me. I actually am a person not wholly based on my neurological condition, if I hate the way my disorder affects me and limits me in life it does not mean I was abused or brainwashed into being self hating. I find this article full of deliberate fallacy (like choosing to comparing it only to examples of bigotry), and I find this benevolent attitude incredibly insulting and infantilizing to my agency and intelligence.
I hated wanting to do things but not being able to make the connection.
I hate the mood swings and depression and being chained to unregulated emotions.
I hate wanting to be a part of things, but being unable to because of sensory overload and anxiety.
I hate that being unable to read people makes me vulnerable to walking right into very dangerous situations.
I hate that it gets in the way of things I want to do. I hate wanting children, but being afraid to because I get so easily overwhelmed by everyday situations that I don’t know if I’m really equipped to be responsible for someone else, especially if they also have special needs.
I hate not being able to trust my own mind.
My mother loves me, she hated my condition because it was hurting me, and no one wants to see the ones they love hurt. I am considered high functioning now, but that was not always the case. I am glad I’ve grown so that I can work, go to school and have relationships. My mother worked very hard and helped me to overcome it as much as possible because she loved me, and I am capable of understanding the difference, thank you very much. Do not presume to speak on my behalf.
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So I shouldn’t love other people because of their neurotypicality? That’s what we’re really talking about here, a difference of neurology that becomes problematic upon negative input from others, whereas the conditions you’ve described are negative without input of any kind, thus complete opposites. Please come back once you’ve quit hating your child’s brain.
Um, she is the child in that relationship. Not saying it’s right or wrong, but I wanted to point that out. Love the screen name, btw. CHEESE! CHEESE FOR EVERYONE!!!
Pretty dismissive man reckon you only read the first paragraph before commenting as jessi is the one living with autism. It’s like when white people try to tell people of colour what racism is when they themselves have never personally experienced it. Reckon Jessi offers an insight into autism that, while you also possess goes a bit deeper as she is actually navigating her way through the world with the disorder(hate that term)..
Sorry but I must agree with Maria – no one living with classic severe non-verbal autism would wish to be that way nor wish to be defined that way. My son breaks walls with his forehead because he cannot let me know that he wants lunch- how does that define him as a human? That does not…that is autism. My son laughs at funny movies, loves to be cuddled and tickled, adores his aunts and uncles, would live in the ocean if he could. All of those things are my son…none of those things have anything to do with being autistic. My son bruises himself by punching, cries for no reason or giggles when something goes wrong, my son repeats the same words over and over 10 times and gets mad when you try to get him to stop. My son broke through the glass of the front door today with his head because I made him stop a ritual involving locking and unlocking the back door. That’s autism…that’s not my son. Autism is a neurological screw up that left my son struggling so hard to be who he wants to be while not allowing the rages and confusion and verbal challenges define him. More power to you if you want to be defined by a miswiring….go for it if you feel better knowing that you can make a good thing out of this but some of us, we see it differently. I don’t judge you for making your claim but I resent the fact that you seem to judge me for hating autism. Because let me be very clear…I HATE AUTISM WITH EVERY CELL IN MY BODY. I LOVE MY SON WITH THE VERY SAME CELLS. and surprise to you….I can do it.
Ray, you might want to add a trigger warning for ableist language at the top of the above comment.
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I also hate Autism when the behaviours come and cant be controled!!! The yelli g and hitti g when we are all soung happy things, he prefers to be elsewhere! So i hate Autism with all of me!!! But i love my grandsons because they are oart of me!! They are smart and funny, AUTISM IS NOT!! So i dont care who doent like my response, ITS MY RESPONSE!!!!
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Yes! Kdelany! Everything you said! I couldn’t have expressed it any better. I hate my daughter’s autism, the fact that she destroys everything around her and hysterically sobs because she can’t control herself and doesn’t know why she never feels ” right”. I hate autism, but I love my daughter. She’s not defined by the most negative parts of this disorder, it’s not who she is!
Your children are going to grow up and read these things and resent you for them.
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I hate autism and my son. His autism ruins everything. My husband won’t have more children because of the autism. So I’m stuck with this violent non responsive non empathetic child, who may improve, but will never get better. Great you love your son’s autism. But that’s not my reality. I will be his carer and jailer until I die.
I understand you, it is so rough! And then these politically correct buffoons want to guilt us into not speaking the truth. I was a single parent, LOVED my son dearly, did the best I could but ended up having a NERVOUS BREAKDOWN from so much stress, at which point I had to send him away. It was so painful to do it. But now 7 years later hes doing ok and my life is better. Just remember if you ever break down completely or have thoughts of hurting him or yourself or of suicide or homicide, dont hesitate to call 911 or take the child to a childrens hospital.
The empathy problem is a two-way street.
“The models of autism as presented by cognitive psychological theories, much like the triad of impairments, locate the difficulties faced by autistic people solely within the brains/minds of the ‘autistic person’, rather than the world in which they inhabit, or in the relations and interactions people have, that can lead to a sense of total disconnection through to a mutual shared sense of ‘social reality’. A number of sociologists view ‘versions of perceptual truth’ as contested and negotiated in interaction. Milton (2011, 2012a) argues that the social subtext of a situation is never a given, but actively constructed in the interactions people have with one another. From this point of view, it is illogical to talk of an individual having a ‘social’ deficit of some sort. Rather, that in the case of when autistic people and those not on the autism spectrum attempt to interact, it is both that have a problem in terms of empathising with each other: a ‘double empathy problem’. Indeed, autistic writers have been talking of empathy being a ‘two-way street’ for many years (e.g. Sinclair, 1993).
A more serious problem ensues however, when one side of an interaction are able to impose their own views of a situation onto the other. This can also lead to the subsequent internalisation of this dominant outsider view and a loss of connection with one’s sense of authentic selfhood.
“I had virtually no socially-shared nor consciously, intentionally expressed, personhood beyond this performance of a non-autistic ‘normality’ with which I had neither comprehension, connection, nor identification. This disconnected constructed facade was accepted by the world around me when my true and connected self was not. Each spoonful of its acceptance was a shovel full of dirt on the coffin in which my real self was being buried alive…” (Williams, 1996: 243).”
And, it’s at this point, I’m going to have to say, “I’m to autistic for this s***” and stop reading this comments section. :)
Agree 100%. This article is ridiculous. I hate autism and the suffering it causes daily for my child and would take it away from him in a heartbeat if I could. Just as I would take away my other child’s chronic health problems. Autism does not make my child who he is. It seems the some higher functioning people enjoy that autism makes them different from others and so they wear their diagnosis as a badge of honor. Autism puts my child’s safety at risk every single day. Violence and self harm are a result of his disability not a part of who he is. I’m so tired of hearing that it’s just a different way of operating. That’s like saying someone who is required to use a tube for feeding has an advantage because it’s easier for them to eat healthy things, not having to deal with unpleasant flavors or textures. So really they don’t have any sickness. When autism requires a person to have supervision throughout their adult life without the ability to live independently, that’s not a gift. That’s not a blessing. That’s not just a different way of seeing the world around you, that’s a disability. That’s a problem.
This is one of the best, most sincere, beautiful accounts I’ve read from a parent in a long time. I’ve exhausted the available resources in my area and have been searching to find a better place, and really just a parent with a similar mindset to possibly help me along for my son and I to find a more accepting life. I don’t care about looks, I don’t care about other people’s comfort. Even before I fully understood how my cultural environment is completely out of touch with the reality of being autistic, I knew instinctively that THIS IS NOT OK. To talk about or to a child to make them feel less than.
This was a beautiful article sir, thank you.
@ Ceaaa: Thank you for not person-firsting. Without that triggery phrasing, yours is one of the better ‘positive comments’ I’ve read.
This is a really amazing article and I’ve shared it on facebook. This is so important for allistic people, especially family members to understand. Autism is a part of us, without it we would not be ourselves– you cannot hate Autism and love us, and it’s so great to see such a well written article put it into words so well. Thank you.
After reading the original post and the comments, I have several thoughts. I agree that you have understand that autism is a part of your child. However no one needs to be overjoyed by this. My 18 son who has “classic” autism is amazing. Autism has freed him of the social restraints most kids his age have, consequently he is fearless, unabashedly outgoing and charismatic. He also is impulsive, quick to irritation and unfocused. I don’t dislike him because I don’t like those characteristics. My younger son is 13, has more severe autism and is bipolar. He is a sweet, attentive and helpful boy who is prone to daily bouts of violence towards me. I don’t like to being bitten, slap, punched or choked but that doesn’t mean that I don’t like him. I think the focus should be on collectively figuring out how to best support our children, rather than looking for yet another way to make autism seem like a super fun club or ways to make families already dealing with a lot, feel extra guilt on top of it. Autism is a hard for the people who have it as well as those they live with.
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I agree with Dawn B. My 17 year old son with moderate autistic behaviors has just started getting violent and aggressive with me and I am not embracing any of that. He needs social skills classes and psych services like anyone else who cant deal with their emotions.
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Behavior is communication. Your children need something, and they are trying to tell you the best way they know how.
Love to Nicholas. I hope he gets better fast.
I cannot express my feelings concerning autism and my children as beautifully as you do, but I agree with you completely.
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Loved your post, this is very true and I’m always shocked to see this ableist and hypocritical behavior from supposedly loving parents. I do wish you hadn’t compared autism to gay rights, and saying that autism was less accepted, when something like Orlando has just happened, and that eradication and cures are still being hopes for and attempted
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Well aren’t these comments from NT autism parents just charming?
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I like to think that as a parent of a child on what would be considered the higher functioning end of the Autism spectrum that I have done nothing to negatively impact my child’s feelings of self worth and yet, because he is acutely aware of the way his diagnosis impacts him and his day to day functioning there is a great deal of self loathing. I have always tried to approach things as being as supportive and to offer my unconditional love. I have never approached him with the thought that “I must fix this about him” but I have tried to make available the tools he needs to try to find his own way of dealing with whatever limits he perceives he has. More often that not I have found myself serving in the role of cheerleader to him, but often to no avail because he refuses to believe in himself. Yet, he knows that I am not one to offer false praise and that He should be able to take what I say at face value. Each parent/child relationship differs, and like any relationship, there may be certain attributes one could very happily do without. I often wish my child could see for himself that his perception of self is not accurate. It breaks my heart that he is so very critical of everything about himself. It breaks my heart that he self sabotages his ability to succeed by his inaccurate view of himself….. Hate is a very strong word to use, and it does not roll off my tounge easily, but I do hate that autism has made his life so difficult. Does this mean I hate who he is? I have to disagree that this feeling cannot exist on its own without also meaning that I feel the same about my child. I believe that the premise you state is a harsh one to lay at the feet of parents who see the pain in their child’s eyes and hate that it is there due to this twist of fate. I wish I was the perfect parent that never wished my child did not have to struggle daily due to ASD, but alas I am guilty of wishing he did not have this challenge in his life. I’m only human.
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