Tuesday, October 14, 2014
I am a parent, and I am NOT like Kelli Stapleton
I am a parent, and #IAmNotKelliStapleton. I am grateful that more autistic adults are speaking out. I really hope it helps parents on their journey to accepting that while autism is a pervasive condition, it is not a tragedy nor a death sentence. It is simply a different neurology.
I cannot, and have never been able to, relate to the parents who feel that autism has "stolen" their child away. I am not belittling them for feeling this way (society promotes that reaction), but it is so very alien to me that I can't empathize. I have such a deep, all-encompassing love for my children that I can't imagine ever wanting to do anything but accept who they are. Strengths, weaknesses, and all. I want to help them grow and blossom, but not to "transform" into something different or "recover" from autism.
And that's the difference, I think, between the way that I think and the mindset that Kelli Stapleton had. Long before that awful day last year, Kelli had already made a decision. That decision was that she had to adhere strictly to a time and money-consuming plan to "fix" her daughter's autism by whatever means necessary. Even as her daughter clearly rebelled and grew increasingly unhappy and violent, Kelli opted to "stay the course."
Our relationship with our children is more important than achieving some societal "standard" for them. Perhaps if Kelli had come to a different understanding of things, she would have never deteriorated internally to the point of making those life-altering, disturbing plans that day in September.
I hope other parents are listening, and will choose a different way too.