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Guest Posting: I Am NOT Adam Lanza’s Mother!

 

Guest Posting:
I Am NOT Adam Lanza’s Mother!

 

I have a close friend who is a wonderful wife, mother and person. She has a big heart and would do anything to help people in need. Lately though, she’s been troubled by some of the things she’s seen in the media. See, she is  also the mother of a son with Autism Spectrum Disability or ASD. When it was being reported that Adam Lanza, the person responsible for the horrific shooting in Newtown, CT had autism, it was enough to spur her to action. She asked me if she could write a piece to help dispel the myths and rumors about people with ASD. She asked that she remain anonymous to protect her son’s privacy.

As a mom of a son on with Autism Spectrum Disability (ASD), here are 5 Things I want you to know:

 

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I AM NOT ADAM LANZA’S MOTHER 

Adam Lanza  

When people ask me to describe my son, Ted (not his real name), I describe him as Buddy the Elf or a golden retriever puppy. He wants to be everyone’s friend, but isn’t quite sure how to go about it.  He is pushing 6’3” and at 19, still has the innocent smile of a child much younger than his years. He is the kindest person I have ever known, and would never hurt a fly.  I do worry that people will misunderstand Ted or take advantage of his innocence and he will get into trouble.

Read more:  On Aisle 9: Three Things My Special Needs Son Can Teach You About Life

 

I HATE WHEN PEOPLE
ARE CALLED “AUTISTIC”

 

 I know many parents feel differently about this one. Personally, I believe that every single person in the world should be treated with respect for the unique individual they are. Autism does not define who my son is.  He did not chose to have symptoms of autism, like someone choses a religion or a school. Can you imagine if Temple Grandin, animal and autism advocate, Bill Gates and Thomas Jefferson were viewed simply as “Autistic” due to their “symptoms of autism?”

My favorite Temple Grandin quote is, “What would happen if the autism gene was eliminated from the gene pool?  You would have a bunch of people standing around in a cave, chatting and socializing and not getting anything done.”’

Temple Grandin, The Way I See It: A Personal Look at Autism & Asperger’s

Read more: Guest Posting: The Judgment Free Aisle 

 

 

IGNORANT PEOPLE SUCK

One of the frustrations I have as a parent of a child with ASD is that many uneducated people do not realize no two people on the spectrum are the same. I do understand that everyone does not have the equivalent of a PhD in autism, as many parents of a children on the spectrum do, but please do not judge a book by it’s cover.  Ignorant people who truly believe they know more than I, assume things about my son. They assume that he is not intelligent because his expressive language is not as well developed as others his age, they assume he is not a caring individual, they assume he will not be able to drive a car and they assume he will not ever be independent.  I am going to confess something right now…I may be smiling back, but I am giving you the finger in my head.

Read more: In This Corner.. On Aisle 9: Staring Down The Autism Opponent

THE MEDIA OFTEN CONTRIBUTE
TO THE PUBLC’S VIEW OF AUTISM

Two Broke Girls- CBS 

The false linkage between autism and violence in the news is irresponsible and perpetuates dangerous stereotypes about people diagnosed with ASD. As a human being and mom of three amazing children, my heart aches for the families in Newtown, Connecticut. There is no explanation for what transpired.  Unfortunately, in an effort to give people some answers, I believe the media may be fueling the anti-autism sentiment in much of our country.  In case you haven’t heard, Adam Lanza’s brother, Ryan Lanza stated that his brother had emotional issues.  Ryan Lanza apparently indicated that his had symptoms of autism and a “personality disorder.”  The media mentioned the potential symptoms of ASD as fact and implied it was relevant. My initial reaction was to blame the other personality disorder,  however, we do not know what set off this horrific act and I do not want to contribute to another stereotype.

Shows such as Two Broke Girls, which make immature, insensitive “jokes” which belittle the accomplishments of individuals with ASD are a disgrace and only feed into stereotypes.  If the intention is to fuel ignorance, job well done.

Read more: On Aisle 9: The Danger Of Assumptions

THERE IS NO SCIENTIFIC LINK
BETWEEN AUTISM AND VIOLENCE 

 

In fact, individuals on the autism spectrum are more typically the victims of crimes than the perpetrators. They are often bullied and taken advantage of. I do believe that if an individual with or without symptoms of autism is pushed, rejected and/or bullied long enough by society, as anyone else, it is possible they will resort to violence; these reactionary outbursts are not the same as the systematically planned and executed violence that occurred at Sandy Hook or Aurora, Colorado.  My son had been bullied for years by a student and never hit the individual.  Last night, I heard a neuro-typical football player beat up a student with ASD in our cafeteria after school. I do not have much information on this, but heard the student was taken to the hospital due to his injuries.  Perhaps I should reconsider my argument, there does appear to be a link: unfortunately, individuals with ASD are often on the receiving end of violence.

Any fool can know. The point is to understand. 
Albert Einstein

Read more: Guest posting: The Handwriting’s On The Wall

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Ted’s mother has an undergraduate degree in finance and a Master’s in Social Work. Currently a stay-at-home-mom, her dream is to open a school for kids who don’t reach their potential in traditional learning environments. 

 

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4 Comments

  1. Whitney

    December 20, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Thank you for this, I too have a 16 year old daughter with autism, I became very concerned because people are cruel and she is liked by everyone but still struggles with being social. I admit, I’m on edge, trying to ignore the remarks on social media what I see on TV. She’s a junior this year, a theater girl, she’s been in two musicals and sings from the moment she wakes until she goes to bed. I am privileged to be her mother.

  2. Ted's Mom

    December 20, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Thank you, Whitney. Your daughter is as blessed to have you, as you are to have her. Too bad we don’t live closer, it sounds like they would be great friends! Please know, you are not alone!

  3. Sarena

    December 20, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Thank you for sharing your experience and being willing to join the fight against ignorance and stereotypes. Ours (yours and mine) is a struggle to prepare our children for the world but an entirely different battle to prepare the world for our children. The more we give a mic to our stories, the better chance our children have to be seen for what they are, beautiful human beings.

  4. Ted's Mom

    December 20, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Hey, somebody’s gotta do it, Sarena! ; ) I am truly not sure which is more challenging, preparing our children or preparing the world. I do know that seeing the way our children are often treated by society is incredibly painful and doesn’t give us much of a choice. We know how wonderful our children are and that each and every one of them is gifted in their own way. Someday, the world will know the same.

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