I had the honor of interviewing Susan Senator for BlogHer about her upcoming book The Autism Mom's Survival Guide. Here's an excerpt from what I wrote; you'll need to go to the interview to read Susan's own words of wisdom:
Did you know that autism parents can choose an identity other than Avenging Warrior or Martyr? That it is reasonable to aim for happy lives for us and our children, despite our kids' challenges? If this is news to you, then you need to read Susan Senator's forthcoming The Autism Mom's Survival Guide, A.S.A.P.
The Autism Mom's Survival Book is an important book, a desperately-needed book, a book that can help the next wave of autism parents sidestep the kind of post-diagnosis anxiety & depression that hit me in 2003 due to a lack of guidelines for my new Autism Mom identity.Left Brain/Right Brain seemed to think the interview was useful. (Thanks!)
Autism parents and advocates throughout the Internet reeled after Niksmom tweeted her dismay over blogger SmockityFrocks stating outright what so many autism parents fear: that people assume our children are spoiled and ill-mannered before they consider any other explanation. Like, you know, autism. Liz Ditz, Emily, and StorkDok have all written blog responses as SmockityFrocks's original post's comments are closed.
Updated: SmockityFrocks took down the post, with additional defensiveness rather than an apology. Jesus is still crying. The rest of us know how to use Google Cache.
Update 3.29: Cache is gone. Here is a permanent Google Doc link to SmockityFrocks's original post: http://is.gd/b5AAy
Update 3.30: SmockityFrocks posted a sincere apology. My reaction: Excellent, we're cool, and thank you. I also left a comment on each blog post below, notifying the blogger about the apology if they hadn't yet updated (except Barb's Kim's and Down the Rabbit Hole, as for some reason their comments weren't working for this computer).
Here's my take, from a comment I left on StorkDok's site:
People rarely have epiphanies of compassion when they're feeling as defensive as Smockity. What I hope she's learned from this, whether it sinks in now or later, is that our children with autism deserve more tolerance and empathy than people might naturally give (although as [StorkDok] pointed out, I'm sure Jesus would have given the girl and her grandmother the benefit of the doubt), and that kids with autism have watchful, vocal advocates.But hey, I'd like to thank Smockity for inspiring so many bloggers to write Autism Awareness Day posts! I'll list responses here as they come in (be sure to read the comments as well ... that's where some of the most helpful thinking is happening):
- Liz Ditz: A Message for SmockityFrocks
- Emily at A Life Less Ordinary: Thou Shalt Not Mock Other People's Children
- StorkDok: So this is what those Moms are thinking when they give me and my son "that look"
- Elise at ASD2mom: Snarky Ignorance and Autism Awareness [3.28 Updated with Must-read postscript]
- Terri Mauro at SpecialChildren.About.com: What Those Snippy Typical Parents Are Thinking Behind Your Back
- JoeyMom: Judgments Aside
- Life as the Mother of Four: I Wrote an Email to SmockityFrocks but William Erased it so I Can't Print it Here
- Melissa H: We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming
- Kim Wombles: When Life Gives You a Chance to Show Empathy, Get Defensive Instead
- AutismHerd: In Which a Mother Chooses a Mote Instead of a Pen
- BeThisWay: Hey parents of Autistic, Asperger’s and other ASD kids! Some of us parents of typical kids get it!
- Mittentime: I Don't Often Post About Autism
- Confutata: In Which Squillo Considers Motes and Eyes
- Barb Dittrich: All Eyes Are on You! [Christian perspective, really lovely]
- Kristina Chew at We Go With Him: Yes We Are the Weird Ones
- Lynne S at Understanding My Son: Judgment
- Tim at Both Hands and a Flashlight: Grace on Aisle 5 [hanky-worthy in a good way]
- BCPSS Parent at Surviving the System: Maybe It's Not Paranoia [This has really shaken her up; please leave a supportive comment]
- Raising Complicated Kids: Want a Little Challenge?
- 9.39: Our Mall Meltdown, or, The One Where I Tell Smockity Frocks Where to Go
- Jean Winegardner at Washington Times Communities: When Autistic Behavior is Misunderstood
- Retired Waif: When Awareness Means Nothing [longtime disability advocate's perspective]
- Ramblings By a Liberal Feminist Geek: Autism Awareness (or Lack Thereof)
- Jennyalice: How a Person's Name Becomes an Adjective [If SmockityFrocks reads but one reaction, I hope it's this one.]
- Fuchsia With Yellow Polka Dots: Compassionate Disapproval for the Autism-Ignorant
- Melissa at Miracle Baby: It Really Does Take a Village
- Mom-Not Otherwise Specified: Autism Awareness and the Smockity Flap
- Down the Rabbit Hole: Oh the Joys of Judgmental People [Perspective from a person with autism who used to *be* that four-year-old child]
- ASDmommy at What We Need: What Comes Around
- Martian Momma: Frocking Hell - It's World Autism Awareness Day!
- Caitlin at Welcome to Normal: The Legend of Smockity Frocks
- Christa at Hyperlexicon: Untangling
- ShePosts: Smockity Faces Backlash After Inadvertently Mocking An Autistic Girl
Iz's Godfather Michael, with whom I've been friends since we were both younger than Mali, continues to demonstrate just how much-more-than-a-food blogger he is, for KQED Bay Area Bites. His last post was about an elementary school classmate of ours, the same age as Iz is now, who was murdered the summer before middle school. And, well, I'm not going to provide an excerpt. One read of Michael's post is all I can handle for now. But I hope you find it compelling.
Grab bag: Leo's classroom setting is changing (more on that soon), he's been the sweetest boy in the world, and he's starting to eat carrots willingly; Mali is obsessed with Tudor Revival architecture (don't you call it plain Tudor! SHE KNOWS THE DIFFERENCE!) and finally had enough with Leelo pushing her and turned around and clocked him even though he has 60 lbs and 18 inches on her; Iz has declared that she will "go emo" if she doesn't get to see her beloved Violet (who moved schools this year) soon, and continues to be the world's most fortunate child as she is being whisked off to a ski hill with her cousins for the weekend. Which is good, because at the moment Leelo is my model child; I would give almost anything to separate those bickering girls for an entire weekend.
Hope your weekend is loverly. We're going to go see flamingos.
You're doing it wrong.
If you want to get involved in autism research, then go to school, get an education, and get in a lab. If that's not what you want to do, then leave the science to the scientists, and get involved in your local autistic community. Volunteer. Donate. Raise general awareness. I'm pretty sure you mean well, but the fact is, all you are doing is confusing the folks that don't know any better, dividing the community as a whole, perpetuating a myth, and putting thousands of children a year at risk because their parents bought some of this bad science from someone like you who sounds like they know what they're talking about.