Love No Matter What

Andrew Solomon

I’ve come across an amazing person….

Andrew Solomon is an author and lecturer who writes mostly about psychology and politics, and in June, TED posted a talk by Andrew called, “Love, no matter what”

It’s a beautiful expose based on his new book, Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the search for Identity, in which “Solomon tells the stories of parents who not only learn to deal with their exceptional children but also find profound meaning in doing so.” http://andrewsolomon.com

Why is this important?  Because too often in the world of autism, the word love gets overused, underappreciated and lost.

I’m speaking specifically to the recent news accounts of parents who attempted to kill, or were successful in killing, their autistic kidsI Frankly, what I was most horrified by were the comments posted by readers – in many cases these readers were almost condoning the alleged actions!

Seriously?  When is murder, or attempted murder, ever ok?  Apparently some people feel in the case of an autistic, this is understandable.

Yes, there are loads of cases where autistic kids are violent and physically dangerous. And, yes, services are sometimes nonexistent.  But autism is not the only victim of this country’s profound lack of empathy in providing social services for those who need it the most:  ask anyone dealing with most health care issues and you’ll hear the same cry for help.

So it’s during these times –in the dark hours when murder seems to be the only option – I wish more people could hear Andrew Solomon…his message, “love – no matter what!” – is really the only answer.

Hugs, Jenifer

Is Inducing Labor Tied to Autism? (New Study)

Another new study has emerged looking at a potential cause of autism. Some past studies have identified potential causes of – or contributinJAMA 3g factors for– autism that take place during pregnancy (such as how certain medications taken during pregnancy may increase chances of developing autism). This study, however, has identified something that takes place right at the end of pregnancy for some women – inducing labor.

According to research conducted by JAMA Pediatrics, boys born to mothers who needed help to start birth, or were augmented (meaning doctors increased the strength, duration and frequency of contractions) had a 35% greater rate of autism then children whose mothers didn’t need any intervention for birth.

Check out this link for more information.

Lynsey, Community Manager 

Perfect Response to Hate-Filled Letter

If you were surfing around the internet lately, you may have read about a hate-filled anonymous letter a woman received from a neighbor regarding her autistic son.  In the letter (which was shared here), the “author” complains about various things such as the “whaling” noises her son, Max, makes, uses very hurtful names, and basically write just a terrible, nasty letter. And since we like to share positive, uplifting stories from the autism community here, this letter is not something we would ideally like to highlight.Letter

However, the mother that received this cruel letter, Karla Begley, took the much higher road and shared what her response would be to the person who wrote the letter. And this was certainly worth highlighting here for you. You can read the full response here, but here are some of our favorite parts:

Sometimes, kids come up to me and ask “Why does he talk funny?” The parents are embarrassed. But if the mom isn’t going to talk properly to a child, or teach him that kids with autism are not contagious, I will! It’s important to help kids understand and not be fearful from a young age.

People with special needs are people first. They have every right others do. Instead of glares, I wish people would give smiles. Instead of anger toward parents, I wish people would be more understanding.  

Of course, we wonder about Max’s future, whether he will ever live alone or get married. What will be will be. Everyone has a place in the world. Some people are meant to hold big jobs. Some people make you happy and smile. Max brings pure joy and love. He has taught me to slow down and appreciate life, as seen through his eyes.

The community rallying around us has been amazing, the outpouring of support is awesome. It puts your faith back in humanity: Yes, people are generally good. 

Well said, Karla! Don’t you wish everyone shared that same attitude!

Lynsey, Community Manager