Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Walk in Issy's Shoes, not Kelli's

I am scared of the dark. As an 18 year old, I probably shouldn’t be, but the fact of the matter is, I have this fear. It is completely irrational, and I hope I will, one day, overcome it. Irrational fears really mess with someone, because we are completely aware that we shouldn’t be afraid, but here we are. There is, however, something worse than an irrational fear; it is so much worse to have a completely rational fear, and have people who don’t understand call it nonsense. This is the category that a common fear among many Autistics falls under. Many Autistics are scared of the people that society glorifies above Autistics - caregivers.

I am quite lucky; I have loving, accepting parents, and I am in a position where I can advocate for myself. For many Autistics, this is not the case. There are Autistics whose communication is not seen as valid because of a diagnosis, or because of a nontraditional way of communicating. There are many Autistics with abusive parents, or abusive caregivers.

With the case of Issy Stapleton, there are so many people who tell us to “walk in Kelli Stapleton’s shoes.” If I walk in Kelli’s shoes, I see that she did not want to bear the burden of raising an Autistic child. I cannot see any other way someone would attempt to murder their own child. A parent’s job is to help their child through life, not condemn their child to death. While I am not a parent, I was raised by parents, and these parents have told me that no matter what happens, I am their child, and they will always be there for me. This is what a good parent says, and this is what a good parent believes.

If I walk in Issy’s shoes, I see fear. I see completely rational fear of someone who is supposed to love and care for Issy. No one should have to fear their parent. If a parent attempted to murder their neurotypical child, there would not be a controversy; there would be a clear cut conviction, and every news outlet would be in agreement. The fear that those children fear is no different from the fear that Issy felt, yet there is a controversy because parenting an Autistic child is “hard,” which means that Kelli Stapleton’s feelings are more important than Issy’s life. Can you imagine how terrifying that must be to Autistic children? It is terrifying to hear that your life doesn’t matter.

I would like to close with a message for the Autistic children who have the same fear that Issy Stapleton has. Your life matters. You are a beautiful person, and the people around you are better for you being in their lives. Anyone who doesn’t see that beauty is mistaken. If you are scared of the people taking care of you, this is their fault, and not yours. Seek help if you can, because you are worth so much more than these people are allowing you to see.

Skylar Gordon is 18 years old, and from the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a proud activist. When he isn’t in school or online, he can often be found volunteering with the numerous causes he supports. Skylar is in his first semester of college, and will be majoring in Computer Studies. You can find him online at or

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