Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Unthinkable Act

The Unthinkable Act

Some time ago, a female parental unit (she doesn’t deserve to be called a mother) attempted to kill her autistic daughter Isabelle (Issy) by locking her in a van with lighted charcoal grills.  There is currently a flashblog about this monstrous event.  Parents are encouraged to use the hashtag#IAmNotKelliStapleton and autistic people #WalkInIssysShoes.  I’m going to do both.
Although I am not a parent, I am a teacher who works with children with various disabilities, including autism.  I care deeply for them, and would give my life to protect them.
Yes, working with children can be incredibly difficult at times.  I’ve been called names, scratched, kicked, yelled at, and had chairs thrown at me.  But you know what?  Life is so much more incredibly difficult for these children.  They struggle in school, they have sensory overload and they have difficulty making friends.  Just stop and think about what that does to their self esteem.  Sometimes the only way they can communicate their frustration is by acting out.
In this situation, I am the adult.  It is my job to figure out what they are trying to communicate, and help them express their thoughts and cope with them.  Never once have I thought of verbally or physically hurting the students, and it would NEVER cross my mind to kill them.  Killing a child is an unthinkable act.
I am also an autistic adult.  For most of my childhood, I was subjected to the same type of “interventions” as Issy was, with the goal of making me normal.  It felt like I had people in my face 24/7 belittling my every act.  I had no sense of self-worth and therefore acted out verbally, which just led to more interventions.  I still am dealing with the emotional side effects of my childhood.

Fortunately, when I was thirteen, we moved to a different town and my parents divorced.  At that time, the interventions stopped.  I was able to develop my own personality and coping skills.  However, if my circumstances hadn’t changed, I could have ended up being Issy.
As I mentioned above, adults have all the power.  Please try to understand your autistic child, not “normalize” them.

By A Very Sad Person

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