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Autism - Support Across the Spectrum Autism - Support Across the Spectrum

"You Can't Hate Autism and Expect Acceptance"

Posted by on Jun. 25, 2012 at 3:03 PM
  • 55 Replies
1 mom liked this

Well, I thought I'd offer up a different view from what I've been seeing lately.  This is from a blog called "Mama Be Good," and I highly recommend it.  

Mama Be Good


He's beautiful. He's funny. He's autistic. Mama's just trying not to mess him up.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 28, 2012

You Can't Hate Autism and Expect Acceptance

April is Autism Acceptance Month, a month when many try to improve supports, services, and acceptance of autistic individuals.  This year, 2012, is the fourth anniversary of the U.N. designating World Autism Day, April 2nd.  Four years, one day, and a month dedicated to embracing autism.

And yet, some autism parents are still defending their right to say "I hate autism."

Why?  Those who have used the phrase say it's an honest assessment of the difficulties of raising an autistic child.  They cite the disruption to their family, the meltdowns, the sleeplessness, the worry.  And they say it shows support for other parents who feel ashamed to admit their feelings and who feel isolated because of them.

But wait.  There are many ways to communicate stress, support, and community without using "hate" and "autism."  No matter how much stress a parent feels, we can vent and support each other without putting down a biological part of our kids and of many adults.  We can recognize the emotions and challenges without encouraging hatred or hateful talk.

So why "I hate autism?" 

Why would a parent put her own child at risk for abuse and neglect by making it okay to say "I hate autism"?  Parents have immediate impact on how autism is perceived and how their child is perceived.  Parents are the biggest influence on their child's life.  They can protect or put their child at risk for emotional distress and violent behavior.  By one doing one simple thing.  The most important and predictive factor for negative outcomes in a child's life is one thing: a parent who fully and unconditionally understands and accepts him.  (The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, Journal of American Medical Association, Sept. 10, 1997.)

A parent cannot fully and unconditionally accept his child, but not "the autism."  That's not unconditional.  That's not acceptance.

Why? Children quickly and easily feel their parent's negative emotions and they internalize it, believing that they are at fault for their parent's stress.  While you think you can separate out "the autism" from your child, hating the negative symptoms while loving the child, your child doesn't make such fine distinctions.  He will recognize the feeling, maybe only subconsciously, and he will translate it to "I am acceptable only if I hide part of me.  That part of me is shameful.  There is something wrong with me."

Suppose a parent thought, "I hate the female side of my child: the hormones, the migraines, the mood swings, the possibility of promiscuity and pregnancy.  Parenting a girl is so much harder than parenting a non-girl."  The child doesn't think "You hate me being female."  She feels "You hate me."

It's the same thing.  "I hate the autism side of my child: the meltdowns, the sleeplessness, the fear of not knowing.  Parenting an autistic child is so much harder than parenting a non-autistic."  The child doesn't feel "You hate the autism."  He feels "You hate me."

"You hate part of me" equals "You hate me."  "You hate the situation that my brain wiring is causing" equals "You hate me."

Even if you reword the phrase, the feelings - anger, hate, and fear - are still there.  The anger leads to shame and aversion.  It prevents you from making a rich, complete connection to your child.  You'll focus on the negatives.  You'll feel disconnected and angrier. 

I don't want you to change your language.  I want you to change your language and your heart.  

And not just for your child.  "I hate autism" dehumanizes an entire category of people, including adults, including my child, including my friends' children, by reducing them to "autism, a hateful condition."  You can't hate only part of a person.  That's why we have laws prohibiting discrimination based on race, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, medical condition, and religion.  We have these laws because you don't want people saying "I hate autism" to your child.  You don't want them saying "I hate autism and, therefore, I can't hire, befriend, be near, or like you."

Why is it okay for you to say it? Because you're the one doing the parenting and it's difficult?  Does that mean you hate parenting?  'Cause it's difficult.  You hate babies?  Marriage? Special needs children? 

April is Autism Acceptance month.  Not just awareness, but full-on acceptance, embracing the ups and the downs.  Not "I accept parts of autism,  the ones that are easy."  Not "I accept parts of my child."  But "I embrace my child, every single part of him, easy and difficult."  And "I acknowledge that hating an inherent, biological part of my child is unacceptable."  

I want to challenge how you think about autism.  Because I care about you, your child, our community.  I care about the world my child will live in.  I want that world to greet him kindly.  I want that world to be filled with people who lovingly embrace all autistic individuals for who they are.   

So that my child will never know a person who hates only a part of him.

****
by on Jun. 25, 2012 at 3:03 PM
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Replies (1-10):
mallowcup17
by on Jun. 25, 2012 at 3:16 PM
Great post thank u
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
greenmommo
by on Jun. 25, 2012 at 3:20 PM
1 mom liked this
I often wonder about the patents who accept the "hate" mantra-so many of the people they get assistance from and parents of other kids (let's just say if no parent in a support group has autism, someone's in denial) do you hate the adult too? As a kid, it's often seen as "can't help it" and I think some parents are on a rescue mission for life. What does that mean as an adult with autism? If they aren't "better?" To say a person hates autism isn't just hurting the child, I think it's hurting the adult they will become and the adults around them who are often their peers. Am I less of a peer if I have Aspergers? At times I get that impression more from moms than just "normal" society. I think moms have, or strive for, control (not saying that's bad) and it can turn into a us versus fix them mentality. Instead of us with them.

I'm not wording this well. But
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lin.r
by on Jun. 25, 2012 at 3:42 PM
1 mom liked this

If you can't hate the autism side of your child or the "female" side of your child (from the article) but still love the child. How about if your child had cancer? Is it not ok to hate cancer then? Is this post saying that you can't love your child if you hate that part of them because as the post states " You can't hate only part of a person". Why not? Why can't you hate the mood swings, the anger the violence and still love your child. I do! I love my children very much. I like some parts of the autism, they are very bright and creative, the the rest I can do without.

kajira
by Emma on Jun. 25, 2012 at 3:48 PM
2 moms liked this

Thank you for this.


Now, if we could also fix the entitlement that so many adults with autism feel, who expect tolerance, and babying with out at least TRYING to put SOME effort into being polite to others and not lashing out at them constantly with no warning, or reason - we'd be a lot more likely to get tolerance across the board.


aidensmomma508
by Wendy on Jun. 25, 2012 at 3:48 PM

interesting view thank you for posting

trippyhippy
by Bronze Member on Jun. 25, 2012 at 4:01 PM
2 moms liked this
I say bullsh@t. Autism is the f@cking devil and it has made our lives a living hell. Sure I couldn't love my boy any more, he is my pride and joy and all that I do, I do to just put a smile on his beautiful little face. But autism is doing its best to ruin all of our lives. Having a child with severe autism that came with the added bonus of severe ADHD and oppositional defiance disorder makes life so hard it's pretty much unbearable . Autism is a plague that is doing its best to try to ruin everything we love. So I say I hate autism and will spend every day and ever dollar trying to either kill it or beat it into submission through therapies, meds, hopefully future medical breakthroughs and a shitload of love. People say "fuck cancer". Well I say f@ck autism!
Leobaby2007
by on Jun. 25, 2012 at 4:08 PM
1 mom liked this
Quoting lin.r:

If you can't hate the autism side of your child or the "female" side of your child (from the article) but still love the child. How about if your child had cancer? Is it not ok to hate cancer then? Is this post saying that you can't love your child if you hate that part of them because as the post states " You can't hate only part of a person". Why not? Why can't you hate the mood swings, the anger the violence and still love your child. I do! I love my children very much. I like some parts of the autism, they are very bright and creative, the the rest I can do without.




Really good point. Why can parents hate cancer or juvenile diabetes and still love their child unconditionally but we are not allowed to hate autism and still be able to fully love our children?

That's just not fair and it's a huge expectation and a lot of pressure to put on us. I resent this article very much, but thanks for posting. I love to read different points of view. :-)
trippyhippy
by Bronze Member on Jun. 25, 2012 at 4:09 PM
1 mom liked this

Exactly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Quoting Leobaby2007:

Quoting lin.r:

If you can't hate the autism side of your child or the "female" side of your child (from the article) but still love the child. How about if your child had cancer? Is it not ok to hate cancer then? Is this post saying that you can't love your child if you hate that part of them because as the post states " You can't hate only part of a person". Why not? Why can't you hate the mood swings, the anger the violence and still love your child. I do! I love my children very much. I like some parts of the autism, they are very bright and creative, the the rest I can do without.




Really good point. Why can parents hate cancer or juvenile diabetes and still love their child unconditionally but we are not allowed to hate autism and still be able to fully love our children?

That's just not fair and it's a huge expectation and a lot of pressure to put on us. I resent this article very much, but thanks for posting. I love to read different points of view. :-)



Leobaby2007
by on Jun. 25, 2012 at 4:10 PM
1 mom liked this
Quoting trippyhippy:

I say bullsh@t. Autism is the f@cking devil and it has made our lives a living hell. Sure I couldn't love my boy any more, he is my pride and joy and all that I do, I do to just put a smile on his beautiful little face. But autism is doing its best to ruin all of our lives. Having a child with severe autism that came with the added bonus of severe ADHD and oppositional defiance disorder makes life so hard it's pretty much unbearable . Autism is a plague that is doing its best to try to ruin everything we love. So I say I hate autism and will spend every day and ever dollar trying to either kill it or beat it into submission through therapies, meds, hopefully future medical breakthroughs and a shitload of love. People say "fuck cancer". Well I say f@ck autism!



AMEN to that!!!!! :-)
kajira
by Emma on Jun. 25, 2012 at 4:12 PM
4 moms liked this

As someone who's autistic, when I see you write "autism is the fucking devil" I take it personally.... as will your child.

We internalize things, so when you say that, we aren't able to seperate it out, because it IS a part of us too, a hard-wiring part that is part of us... so you are hating a part of us. 

Maybe, if people stopped trying to eradicate a part of who we are as people, we'd have less depression, less anger, less melting down and less lashing out.

Reading some of the comments about how you want to make your child be something so opposite of their wiring... and you wonder why the kids grow up to be so miserable... It's really sad to me.

You can learn to blend in and function - with out changing your wiring, or feeling broken because of your wiring.

Quoting trippyhippy:

I say bullsh@t. Autism is the f@cking devil and it has made our lives a living hell. Sure I couldn't love my boy any more, he is my pride and joy and all that I do, I do to just put a smile on his beautiful little face. But autism is doing its best to ruin all of our lives. Having a child with severe autism that came with the added bonus of severe ADHD and oppositional defiance disorder makes life so hard it's pretty much unbearable . Autism is a plague that is doing its best to try to ruin everything we love. So I say I hate autism and will spend every day and ever dollar trying to either kill it or beat it into submission through therapies, meds, hopefully future medical breakthroughs and a shitload of love. People say "fuck cancer". Well I say f@ck autism!


Living with Autism - The quirky kitty.

Our autistic Family - A Dad's point of view on living with Autism

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