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Barnes and Noble 2089, Which is Nowhere Near Bungalow 89

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The wives of Hollywood power players liked to wheel their small children here in thousand-dollar strollers, especially on Wednesday mornings for Toddler Time. They gathered to preen and posture while they sipped half-caff lattes and gossiped about the next “it” person they would be entertaining at their grinder box-house, spat out by some visionary architect that got his rocks off at pitching radical, indulgent building plans to rock stars and movie hustlers.

 

I decided to sit in the Barnes and Noble, at the Grove at Farmer’s Market, to do some writing and cull some characters from the upper-crusty crowd that was in dire need of a culling. If I didn’t get something in to my editor soon, I would be back to answering calls at a reception desk and making up excuses for the boss when he was screwing his assistant in her studio apartment at lunchtime. I waited until Toddler Time was over, since what I was looking for were three-dimensional characters, not the flat, high-gloss kind that came out of the pages of a bored and morally bankrupt magazine. There, at the corner table of the cafe I sat with my laptop, trying desperately to tease some depth from the characters on the screen. It was impossible not to notice him when he walked in, strode in, without so much as a glance in any direction to get his bearings. It was the entrance of a man who had spent a good deal of time practicing casually dramatic entrances.

 

Franco. Not this guy.

 

He was known in equal parts for throwing himself into a movie role to the extent of cutting off contact with family and friends, as well as creating videos and short stories parodying other famous people. He was the perfect yin-yang of perfectionism and douchebaggery. And on this particular morning, he was at the Barnes and Noble #2089, headed for the literary fiction shelves.

 

Now there was a character in need of a culling. His $200 distressed-by-Zimbabwean-hunters-who-beat-them-against-rocks-by-hand jeans sagged a little in the ass, and his carefully half untucked t-shirt had a crease line from being ironed by an Ecuadorian housekeeper. He was the living, breathing embodiment of a Lorde song, complete with a timepiece on his left wrist because James Franco doesn’t wear just a watch.

 

I ignored the excited teenage giggles I heard echoing from the corner of the bookshelves where I knew the actor/professor/writer/self-caracaturist was being idolized somewhere between Twilight and The Secret Life of Bees. My attention wandered to the bakery case where I ogled a slice of chocolate mousse cheesecake. There was no telling how old it was since nobody in this neighborhood would be caught dead eating cheescake. I pushed it out of my mind and took another drink of cranberry juice. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all. The location was proving to be more distracting than inspiring.

 

As I slowly pecked away at creating a catalyst for my character’s slaying of the two guards outside his rented Moroccan slum, Kitty, by POTUS blaring through my ear buds, I sensed a presence had entered my personal space, and I glanced up.

 

As if a lightswitch had been flicked, the face in front of me instantly lit up with a smile that was just a little too bright, a bit too…rehearsed.

 

Franco.

 

As I yanked an earbud from my left ear, I heard him saying “Mind if I use this seat, it’s pretty crowded in here today?”

 

The long, drawn-out sigh wasn’t meant to be audible. Physical betrayals like that are only one tiny reason that I would never be part of that crowd in this town. Somehow I summoned half a smile, nudged the chair opposite me out a few inches with my well-worn Chucks, and said “Sure, help yourself. Hopefully my keyboard tapping won’t bother you too much.”

 

I popped my earbud back in before he could respond and wondered to myself if people like Franco fear being too close to the common people. We of the wristwatches and Gap jeans and subpar grooming habits…after all, I hadn’t had a haircut for at least three months, and manicures were an unrealized extravagance.

 

Tap-tap-tap, I glance up only briefly, but long enough to see the book jacket that he’s behind. I yanked out the earbuds again.

 

“Why would you choose something that’s so utterly expected?”

 

He lowered the book and peered around at the title, as though he’d forgotten what he was reading. A large black box with the name Sacrilege was on the front cover. He looked at me with one eyebrow raised, his left one, and replied “Not a fan of Salinger?”

 

“It’s not that,” I answered. “It’s just that after the Lindsay article, I would expect a new gimmick.” I’d never been one for flattery, simply for the sake of flattery, yet this was beyond my usual boldness. But I didn’t care. What’s he going to do, write a “fictional” story about me? Pffft.

 

“‘Gimmick’ is an interesting word choice. What makes you frame it that way?” he asked.

 

“It made for a nice story, didn’t it? Reading Salinger in bed to a fragile, fallen star? It’s pure image promotion.”

 

“Ah, it would seem that way, wouldn’t it? That is, if one assumes that the ‘fragile’ starlet had nothing to do with the story being written and released.”

 

So he’s insinuating that Lindsay was on board with the release of this ‘fictional’ story? I suppose a nice bit of sympathy couldn’t hurt in getting her back in Tinseltown’s good graces.

 

“What’s in it for you?” I asked. “You took a lot of grief for that story, so why did you bother?”

 

“Because sometimes it’s better to do no harm. She’s seen enough harm come her way. A few shitty articles aren’t going to affect me much, one way or the other.”

 

“Aren’t you benevolent!”

 

“Nope, nothing that lofty. I’m just a story-teller. Speaking of which, what are you writing? I trust you don’t mind my asking since we’ve already discussed the nuances of my shameless self-promotion.”

 

I briefly wondered how I’d gotten myself in this predicament, dissecting morals with someone who probably had a very different idea of morality than most. Deciding I may as well ride it out to the end, I answered “It’s a book called Murder in Morocco. It’s my first full-length novel. I’ve only published a few short stories before this.”

 

“Could I read the first chapter?” His eyes glinted and I could clearly see the challenge he was proposing; after the boldness of my accusations, would I be confident enough to let him read my writing?

 

“It’s a first draft, so it’s raw, but go ahead.” I clicked over to the first chapter and turned the laptop around to face him.

 

For a moment I considered moving my chair next to his and resting my face against his chest while he read. The thought made me laugh, but I stayed in my own seat.

 

He looked up after a few minutes, pushed the laptop over to me, and said “It’s actually a really good start. I look forward to reading all of it when it’s published. Do you have an agent?”

 

“No. My short stories were published by a very small, independent publisher. They’ve expressed interest in seeing the book once it’s finished.”

 

“It might be good enough for a bigger audience. I have a friend who’s a literary agent, I’ll give him a call and ask him to take a look at it once you’re finished. Let me give you his name and email.”

 

How does one react, exactly, when a movie star saunters into a bookstore, takes a seat at your table, reads part of your novel, then offers to connect you to an agent? I’d like to say my skepticism and complete commitment to remaining unimpressed won out, but ultimately self-interest prevailed. So I thanked him sincerely for reading it and for his offer. I grabbed my phone and punched in the agent’s contact information.

 

Perhaps he anticipated that an awkward scene transition was imminent, because he chose that time to stand up. “Thank you for allowing me the pleasure of sharing your table, as well as the advance reading of your first chapter. Good luck with the story.”

 

“Thank you for reading it and for the contact. I really appreciate it.”

 

And with that, he strolled out with the Salinger book in hand. It was like watching a unicorn disappear into the mist, taking its magic with it.

 

As the door closed behind him, the barista approached my table and set a plate in front of me. It was the chocolate mousse cheesecake from the display.

 

“Compliments of Mr. Franco,” he said.

 

How the fuck did he do that, I wondered.

 

***

I’ve always hated the saying “time flies.” As overused as it is, it was what came to my mind five years after that chance encounter at Barnes and Noble.

The contact he gave me proved worthy, and my book was published a year after that day in the bookstore. If you’re reading this, then you’re probably already aware that it was a bestseller.

Things changed so dramatically after that day, sometimes it seemed like a dream. The biggest change came just last year, when a major studio bought the movie rights. I spent much of the last year consulting with the script writers, and now we were a month out from the start of production. Casting was complete, but I had no part in that process. Still, it should have come as no surprise to me to learn who would play the lead character.

James Franco.

Somehow this guy always comes out on top.

Except for Lindsay Lohan. He still swears he was never on top of her.

 

 

This fictional short story was inspired by James Franco’s recent short story, Bungalow 89. Mr. Franco, it seems, is a font from which flows boundless artistic expression. And other things, I assume. But I don’t know anything about those other things.

 

 

 

 

 

I Hurt

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It’s easy being angry at injustice. It feels right, especially when it’s a cause greater than yourself. I can channel all my rage and anger into beating my fists against the walls of inequality, knowing I’ve put enough of myself into it when the blood runs freely down my fingers.

 

Humor comes easily, too. It would be impossible to put one foot in front of the other if I gave in to the feeling of defeat. You can’t make me cry. I’m able to find humor in the most unlikely situations, and the darkest of places. Laugh with me, friend. We will lose ourselves if we become too serious.

 

What’s not easy is pain. Pushing the words “I hurt” past my throat feels like giving away a part of myself. No. That’s not even right. It’s like…like I just trusted you with the most vulnerable part of myself and hoped you wouldn’t drop it and break it.

 

I had no business being surprised by the results of the state testing. No matter how much I shore up the dam of emotions, they just seem to spill out around the edges.

 

It doesn’t mean anything. Life isn’t about how well you do on tests. Not everyone tests well. It’s only a snapshot, of that moment on that day.

 

Still, I hurt.

 

(It’s less gut-wrenching to type it, than to say it.)

 

There will be extra classroom accommodations put in place for the next school year. They will focus on helping him in those areas…because the test told them to. I could have done that. I did do that.

 

So many words, they all blur together.

 

I’m glad for those supports, truly. Sometimes though, I just want my boy to be a boy. Just a boy with a sassy mouth and a new pogo stick for his birthday.

 

Just once…to be defined by his strengths, not his weaknesses.

 

The other day in the car, Connor began singing along to the radio.

 

“And I am feeling so small

It was over my head

I know nothing at all.”

But I didn’t start crying until I’d dropped him at school.

Because, there in the car alone, I hurt.

 

Misogyny is an Inconvenient Scapegoat for the Isla Vista Murders

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You make me sick. You, Washington Post. And you, The Guardian. There are too many media sites to name that are working overtime to sensationalize the tragedy in Santa Barbara as a “misogynistic” rampage.

 

Elliot Rodger was mentally ill; it’s as simple as that. Anything or anyone he hated was secondary to, and a consequence of, the primary issue of mental illness. All the relentless chatter and moral outrage at what took place is an insult and an affront to both women and people with mental illness.

 

You want to draw attention to misogyny in our society? You want to start a movement to end the discriminatory way that women are viewed and treated? Good for you. But to use this horrible event as the catalyst for that is insulting. If you want to change the way women are treated in our society, then why not address the fact that women still earn less than men in comparable professional positions? Or how about taking a good, long look at how women’s reproductive rights continue to serve as a political pawn by male (and some female) politicians? Or hey, how about the way women are portrayed in advertising? No? Is that too REAL for you? Too…pedestrian?

 

But NOW you want to talk about women’s rights and dignity? Now? A mentally ill man has to go on a shooting spree for some of the media outposts to decide that misogyny was newsworthy?

 

Here’s a newsflash for YOU: misogyny has been going on for a long, long time. Fuck you for taking this horrendous nightmare and turning it into a self-serving, opportunistic media circle jerk. Thanks for trivializing the real challenges that women face and hanging the issue neatly on the door of this man whose issues were much, much bigger than just hating women.

 

Why not talk about the shortage of quality, intensive mental health services in this country? Wait, you’re not going to insult people further by spouting off the uninformed drivel about there being plenty of mental health services out there, are you? I have many, many friends that could enlighten you about that myth. They are people trying desperately to raise children with mental illness, and they have been left to fend for themselves time and time again.

 

No, you guys went for the easy approach, the low-hanging fruit. Murder! Death! A tragedy against women! A trail of blood and a manifesto, the son of wealthy parents, privileged!

 

Real journalism would look somewhat different. It might reflect on society’s misplaced values in the way we treat (or don’t) our population of mentally ill, disabled, and elderly people. Real journalism might explore the great American secret, that we simply do not value the lives of the mentally ill, disabled, and elderly as much as we do the lives of others. If we truly did, there would be as many comprehensive mental health facilities as there are botox clinics.

 

We simply do not value human life as equal among all people. If you are flawed, you have less value.

 

Thanks, but I don’t want your salacious headlines about misogyny simply because it’s a convenient time to bring it up and catch a ride on the media circus train. You want to impress me with your heartfelt embrace of women as equals? Then show me the money and keep your laws off my ovaries.

In the meantime, at least Time got it right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey You Guys, I Invented Something! At Least I Think I Did.

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As a child, Sunday nights were a mix of anticipation and dread. I looked forward to watching The Wonderful World of Disney each week, but I knew that bedtime followed the end of the show, and that meant the very next thing would be going off to school the next morning. I still dread Mondays, when the weekly rush of getting Connor and myself out the door will begin.

 

This past Sunday evening I was feeling particularly unsettled. We don’t do ADHD medications on the weekends, both to give Connor a break from them as well as to try and maximize their effectiveness during the school week. Unfortunately that means there is a lot of correcting of behavior and constant reminders about respect and personal space. Sometimes I don’t feel good about the weekends because it feels like we spend more time punishing or criticizing behavior then actually having fun together.

 

I was thinking about how frustrating it is to tell him something, and have him turn right around, completely forgetting what he was just told, and do the undesirable thing again. The phrase “working memory deficits” flashed through my mind, and then I had an idea for a game that would  practice memory skills AND build his self-esteem.

 

I have no idea if a game like this already exists. If it does, someone should let me know so that I can stop saying that I invented it! But if it doesn’t already exist, then hells yeah I’m taking credit for it.

 

I also have no idea if it will actually improve memory. I’m not a doctor, people! But it certainly can’t hurt, and the game will still be providing the child with a positive feedback loop, which is a good habit to start. At the very least, it will help with self-esteem.

 

I’ve not tried this yet, but am going to implement it this next weekend. If any of you have a chance to try it out, be sure to let me know how it goes. My hope is that it will help Connor learn how to hold something in memory, like “don’t slam the door”. But I also want him to know, despite the many, many reminders about not doing this or that, that he is still an awesome kid.

 

I wrote out the game on a handy sheet that you can print or share. Be sure to let me know how it works for you!

 

memory game

 

 

What’s In a Name?

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What’s In a Name?

Something that comes up from time to time is the subject of my name. Although I started blogging on a whim, I made a conscious decision to use a pseudonym as a means of protecting my son’s anonymity. Since one of my hobbies is genealogy, and there is a lot of Scots-Irish ancestry in my family, I chose a name that represented that. And I was fortunate enough to be able to tie in my name to the name of this blog, as an homage to a wonderful writer.

 

In addition to my pseudonym, I don’t post pictures of my son where his full face is showing. I could go into all the reasons why I made this choice. I could talk about him not being of an age to give informed consent to put his face or name out there. But all that really matters is that I gave it considerable thought before making the choice that I thought was best for my child.

 

It’s odd, though, that the name issue comes up. If I blogged under the pseudonym of “Tammy” or “Claire”, I suppose no one would say anything. It’s funny that my choosing of a unique name is what makes people question me. I get the impression that people think they would somehow know me better if I used my real name. But you wouldn’t. If you don’t know me through my writing, then you will never know me. And believe me when I say that you can know everything about a person, and still not know them. There have been people in my life that never uttered their thoughts or opinions on things, always playing it safe. And all it does is leave me with an empty space when I think of them, because I will never really know them.

 

Many bloggers have chosen to put their child’s face and name out there, as a proud declaration about autism. That’s their choice, and I don’t judge them for it. Some of my very close friends share their children’s beautiful faces. They made a choice for their children, just like I made a choice for my child. Different choices don’t make anyone better than the other, just different.

 

How we write, and the different choices we make about what we share in our writing is very similar to advocacy. People choose to advocate in different ways. For some people, autism is something they celebrate. They make a concerted effort to never publicly discuss autism in a negative way. Others experience autism in a different way and, for them, it’s not always a positive experience. They might choose to write about autism in a more honest way that reflects their personal experience.

 

My approach, in case you’re a new reader, is one of honesty. This blog wasn’t created with advocacy as the main concept. I created it so I would have a place to write about my feelings and experience as an autism parent, as well as other random things that come to mind. I write as honestly as possible because, as a reader, I don’t like reading things that leave me feeling like I’m only getting part of the picture. If I read a blog and it leaves me feeling like I’ve just spent time with a used car salesman, someone who tells you about all of the great and wonderful features but neglects to tell you that the air conditioning doesn’t work or the car was in a fender bender, then I usually don’t come back to that blog. That’s my choice, because I want to experience authenticity when I read about people. But some people prefer a purely positive experience, I suppose. Some people can’t handle anything negative, so they want to hear about fields of daisies.

 

And since the spectrum is so very vast, I think that different people need different kinds of advocacy. People that can communicate and function reasonably well will advocate for equality and inclusion. But others that have found no way to communicate their needs will have someone advocating for them, and they need much more than equality and inclusion. Each is doing their part to advocate, but ultimately their needs and sense of urgency is different.

 

Imagine the absurdity of someone insisting that all bloggers must use only their real names, and photos of their children must have a full frontal view of their face. How laughable would it be for someone to presume to tell others how they should write about their family on their own blog?

 

It’s about as laughable as telling people that they all must advocate in exactly the same way, using exactly the same language.

 

There is someone out there right this moment, who is in crisis with their child. They are desperate and they are frightened, and right now they don’t have the kindest things to say about autism.

 

There is also someone out there right now who is learning to celebrate their uniqueness and feel good about everything that makes them different. They want people to know that autism isn’t always something to be feared.

 

Can both of those examples be right? For me, they are just as right as the fact that I blog as Flannery, and you blog as Joe.

The Autism Hate Fallacy

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I had the misfortune of running across a post where the author wrote about a friend fighting ovarian cancer. She drew a comparison between cancer and autism by saying that she wouldn’t say she hates “femaleness” because her friend is battling cancer. The message you are supposed to take from that is that, if you’re a good and thoughtful person, then you would never say that you “hate autism” because it’s saying that you hate your child.

 

Except, it’s not.

 

It’s not the same thing at all.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate the employment of a good logical fallacy from time to time, if it serves the greater good of the writing. But when it’s used solely for the purpose of manipulating the audience into blind adherence, then it kind of makes me sick. I don’t like dishonesty.

 

An accurate comparison would be to say that your friend is fighting cancer and you hate the cancer. Not femaleness. And this is what’s meant when someone says they “hate” autism. They don’t hate their child…they don’t hate the autistic person. They hate the challenges their loved one faces because of autism.

 

I hate that my son has such a hard time making friends. It’s because of autism.

 

I hate that my son feels overwhelmingly anxious when a routine changes. It’s because of autism.

 

I hate that my son struggles to infer the meaning of a reading passage. It’s because of autism.

 

I hate that my son doesn’t always understand humor because he is such a literal thinker. It’s because of autism.

 

I hate that sometimes my son cries because he can’t express himself the way he wants to. It’s because of autism.

 

I hate that if someone says they hate autism, people come out in droves to tell them their feelings are wrong.

 

I hate that people think advocacy means making someone else wrong so they can be right.

 

I hate that people don’t realize that advocacy is fighting for something, not against something.

 

I hate that some people think you have to love every minute of autism to be an advocate.

 

I hate that people can’t make the connection that someone hating the effects of autism can still be someone who advocates for inclusion.

 

I hate that a huge part of the community is ostracized because their autism is much different from the autism of someone who can communicate enough to work with legislators.

 

But I don’t hate people.

 

Hating behaviors, actions, and labels isn’t the same thing as hating a person. People will create logical fallacies to tell you otherwise, though.

 

I hate ovarian cancer, but I love femaleness.

 

And sometimes I hate autism, but I adore my child.

 

No amount of red herrings or false analogies can change that.

 

 

The Hidden Autism Community Follow-Up

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The last post I wrote about The Hidden Autism Community really resonated with a lot of people, judging by the comments, emails, Facebook messages, and Twitterings I received. I’m glad that it helped people to feel less alone with the challenges they live with every day, and I’m very glad to have been able to steer many people toward a supportive group of parents—a lifeline for them.

I’m writing a wrap-up for the new readers to explain who I am, and to respond to some of the mutterings I’ve heard around town. There were a lot of great comments on the post, some with very strong words and feelings, others with varying advice ranging from diet to cannabis, and some were just words of understanding.

First, I want to thank the parents from the group I mentioned, who were brave enough to allow me to use their private comments for the benefit of the greater “community.” That group provides a place for people to bare all; the raw and painful emotions they’re feeling at a given moment, their greatest fears about the future, and their own private pain. Sometimes I just sit and watch the group as someone pours their soul out onto the computer screen, and others come along and lift them up with their kind words, urging them to not give up, to keep fighting for themselves and their child.

It’s easier for me if I break things down into categories, since there are a few things I want to talk about:

Diet

I’m not a personal believer in any autism diet. We tried GF/CF when Connor was much younger, but there was no change at all with his behavior. That said, there are many children with gluten and/or dairy sensitivity or allergies. If dietary changes work for your child, and you see positive benefits, then go for it! It’s none of my business what diet you follow in your house. DO NO HARM, that’s all I care about.

Medication

I believe that if someone’s quality of life is being affected in a negative way, and there is medication that can help improve it, then you should try. But I understand that it’s a difficult decision to make. I remember very clearly the feeling of not wanting to put all these chemicals into my little boy’s body. But we came to a point where there was no denying that his daily life, OUR daily lives, were unmanageable. Medication has improved things and made all of our lives so much better. But you have to make your own choices for your own family, and I don’t get to judge you for it. Do what’s right for you, do it by working closely with a doctor, and do no harm.

The Autism Cure

Le sigh. I am doubtful that a cure will be found. I believe that autism occurs at the genetic level. I believe in science and reason. So no, I don’t actively advocate for a cure. That being said, do I wish there was a cure in the hypothetical sense? Sure. While many thrive and celebrate their autism, there are many and more that do not. I believe that people should have choices about their life. While one person may not choose a cure, another might jump at the chance. If there was a magic cure pill, hypothetically, would I want it for my son? Yes. I would still have the same funny, quirky child, but he would (hypothetically) not suffer with anxiety. He would not be so easily confused in social situations. He would have an easier time making friends. But he would still be the same person. But this is a hypothetical, and it really doesn’t serve me to spend time considering it. If you advocate for cure, well, that’s your choice. I don’t walk in your shoes. If our autism looked like someone else’s autism, an autism with more severe challenges, I might think differently about this topic. But it doesn’t, and I don’t get to judge you when I don’t know your life. And neither should anybody else.

 

Jenny McCarthy

No. Just…no.

Language

When you say that you “hate” autism, I understand you. I have been there. Over time, I have learned that my language offends other people. Does that mean that there aren’t days when I feel like I “hate” autism – its effects on my child, the way he’s misunderstood, the pain he feels? Of course not. And I don’t believe in censoring people’s feelings and arguing over semantics. When you say you hate autism, I understand that you do NOT mean that you want to exterminate all autistic people everywhere. I understand that you don’t judge someone for being autistic and shun them. I understand that you are not saying you hate an entire group of people. I understand you to mean that you hate the struggles your child must face in their life and that, more than anything, your heart breaks for your child when they can’t communicate, or understand, or participate. You hurt for your child. I get it. I’m not going to judge you for how you express that pain. Doing so would put a wall between us, rather than drawing us together. All I ask is that you don’t say it in front of your child. Ever. Because a child might hear something different when you say you “hate” autism. They might hear that you hate them. So just be mindful. Do no harm.

Medical Marijuana

I’m very interested to see where the research and development goes in regard to medical-grade marijuana. I’ve seen some studies that show significant benefits for many health conditions. BUT, I’m not a scientist. You shouldn’t take my advice about things like this. You should talk to a doctor. Or several doctors. And since I live in Texas, and marijuana in any form is not legal here, I cannot make a statement of support for medical marijuana. Or maybe I should say “will not.” I’ve never been a fan of jumpsuits.

The “Murder Apologist” Label

First, the post I wrote on Wednesday made no mention of any murders. It wasn’t about murder. It was about families supporting each other when they’ve found no help from professionals or people in the community. No murder was mentioned, alluded to, discussed, debated, or reported. In the past, I have written about Kelli Stapleton. The reason I wrote about her is because I personally knew her. I was emotionally invested in her finding help for her daughter and family. I don’t know why her daughter was/is aggressive. Neither do you. You and I, we aren’t doctors. Being autistic is not the same as knowing what makes another person do what they do. You can speculate about it, but in the end, it’s only speculation. Because you’re not a doctor. Or a mental health professional. Or even a social worker. (If you ARE a doctor or mental health professional and you’re reading this, then I know you won’t make any speculations because you don’t know her or the family and it would be unprofessional for you to make those kinds of speculations.)

The reason I have written about Kelli is because I know through my own work in social services, as well as my own research as a member of the autism community, that there are many families struggling with aggression. For varying reasons. But having an aggressive child isn’t a reason to commit filicide. There are a lot of families that live with aggression that don’t commit filicide. An interesting study would be one that specifically examined cases in the autism community to determine whether the emotional and physical effects of aggression and sleep deprivation exacerbate an underlying mental health issue, causing someone to make that horrible, fatal choice. If a study was done and it showed a correlation between aggression in the family and a deteriorated mental state, then it would allow people to develop a screening tool to help identify the most at-risk families.

 

It would also be interesting to study whether the rates of filicide are higher in the autism community than other disability communities. I don’t hear about this in the Down Syndrome community. Nor do I hear about it in the ADHD community. It’s also not common in the CP community or in the Spina Bifida community (I’m sick to death of the word “community”). If it is happening more frequently within the autism community, then what can we do to change things?”

I think it’s more than a little odd that someone would refer to analysis and critical thinking aimed at preventing more tragedy as being a murder apologist. What would motivate someone to cast parents as murder apologists, just because they want to understand what’s happening to drive people to commit unspeakable acts? I suppose if they admitted that we were vested in preventing these terrible tragedies, then there wouldn’t be anyone to blame? Maybe? There wouldn’t be anyone to rail against? Maybe it’s a case of needing to create an oppressor in order to maintain a position of being oppressed?

If so, it’s a shame. There are real oppressors out there: politicians, school boards, lawmakers, insurance companies.

But for clarity, let me state: you should not murder your child. You should not kill yourself. You should not kill anybody. It’s wrong. It’s bad. It’s not up to you to choose if someone else lives or dies. Don’t do it. It’s better to have your child taken away and placed in a horrible group home than it is to kill them.

But really what I want to say is, please reach out to someone you can talk to if you’re drowning. We don’t want you, or your child, to go under.

 

 

And lastly…

 

This is my blog page. It is a free page hosted by wordpress.com. I don’t pay for a domain name or host. There is no advertising anywhere on this page. I write this blog because I like to write. Sometimes I write for fun, because there are a lot of funny and weird things in my head. Other times I write because I have to. There may be something bothering me, something I see in the community…like families being marginalized because the autism living in their homes is unimaginable. Either way, I don’t get paid to write this. It would be awesome if I did because then I wouldn’t need to go to a full-time job every day. But I don’t. I don’t make a dime off of this blog. In the four years I’ve been writing, I’ve received two free books (to review) and one free iPad case (to review). That’s it.

 

So if you ever find yourself not liking something I write, or maybe you didn’t like my cake story or the way I wrote about poor, dear Gwyneth, remember: you can go start your OWN site! It’s not hard. If you need help, you can email me and I will even help you do it. Otherwise, if you see something you don’t like, do me a favor…just say to yourself, self, she is a giant poopy-face and I don’t like her…so I will just click this little button over here and MOVE ON TO ANOTHER SITE.

 

This internet, it’s really a magical little box of glittery goodness!

 

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