I'm going to pull a Foghorn Leghorn on you: Have you seen -- I said, have you seen -- the astounding weekdaily essays we're showcasing at The Thinking Person's Guide to Autism? In just the past three days:
- Frances Vega-Costas wrote about Hispanic autism advocacy in Autism: An Equal Opportunity Disorder.
- Hartley Steiner wrote about special needs parenting and self-care in All Showers Lead to Australia.
- Pia Prenevost let us see her bruised and fragile heart in An Open Letter to Special Needs Professionals.
I believe some commenters may have misinterpreted Pia's open letter, and inferred negativity and hostility where none was intended, and when in fact Pia was apologizing for any misbehavior on her (and our, the parents', part).
We consider teachers and the other professionals who work with our children part of our community. We also consider TPGA a community-building space, one where we promote greater understanding and the greater good on behalf our our children and (again) community. I would ask that everyone try to come from a position of understanding and questioning when commenting, rather than defensiveness.
If an entry makes you upset, I would ask you to do four things before considering commenting in a way that could cause harm or strife:
1) Walk away from the screen for a while, and think about why you want to comment.
2) Re-read the essay or comment. The writer might not have written what you think they wrote.
3) Consider why you want to comment. Are you trying to bring about greater understanding of important perspectives for the good of the community, or are you feeling angry and defensive? If it's the latter, go back to #1.
4) Ask the writer if they are saying what you think they said. Think carefully before using provocative phrases.
And remember that you're never alone.