One of the things that my wife and I have always tried to do was take the high road. We felt that it was always better to set an example for our kids. We addressed anything that needed addressed but not in a half-cocked or unproductive way.
However, having said that, I’m beginning to rethink my approach. For those of you that haven’t seen this yet, I want you to read this letter. It was originally posted by Phillip Haines over at Autism Speaks. Please be aware that this letter is offensive and you might want to punch something when your done reading it. Please do so in a safe and conditions constructive manner.
After reading this I was really, really angry. I know this wasn’t written to me about my kids, but that doesn’t matter. The reality is that this letter, in a way, was written to anyone that has a special needs child that can be disruptive at school.
I don’t even know where to begin, as this letter is wrong in so many ways. I was going to pick the letter apart and point out all the ignorance and judgement but you can do that for yourself. I think the more important thing to do is figure out how to best address this type of situation.
What more can we do to better educate people so that this type of disgusting behavior never sees the light of day again?
Is the problem the ignorant cowardly parents that wrote this letter? Is the child referred to in this letter, in the right classroom? These are both good questions. However, as with many things in life, nothing is ever cut and dry.
The only thing I know for sure is that the people that wrote that letter are not special needs parents and thank God for that.
So often we, as the special needs community, face this type of cruelty. Our kids face this kind of cruelty all to often as well. How can we expect our kids to be treated with understanding and respect by their classmates, when their classmates parents are idiots.
I realize that my words aren’t very diplomatic but this kind of ignorance really pisses me off.
It shows how much work we have to do and what we have to fight against.
I understand that a parent could be concerned about the safety of their child if my child is aggressive and violent in the classroom. Having said that, this was not the way to handle it.
I can honestly say that when Gavin was extremely aggressive in the classroom, we approached the school several times about whether we needed to pull him. The last thing in the world we wanted was for someone to get injured.
I hope that this letter is an eye opener for everyone. We need more education and absolutely more compassion and understanding.
If I ever received a letter like this, I don’t know what I would do. I would be very interested to hear how this situation was addressed. My heart goes out to this family. As if life wasn’t challenging enough, now they have to wonder who to trust and who their friends are.
Please, we need to put an end to this type of ignorance. How can we expect the next generation to be understanding and compassionate if they are being raised by parents like this.
If these parents felt that something needed to be done, they should have contacted the school directly and expressed their concerns. Because of that way this was handled, it stinks of intolerance to me. If the parents were that concerned, they should have addressed it with the school. If they did and the school didn’t do anything, than perhaps it isn’t as bad as they are making it out to be.
Let me end with this. I understand that my kids can be disruptive at times. I know that school can be difficult for them and their classmates. However, if you have a concern about my child, sack up and address the issues face to face and in a mature, productive manner. Hiding behind a screen name or an anonymous letter as a means of attacking my family while concealing your identity makes you a spineless coward.
I’m always open to discuss something if it’s presented in a tactful, respectful and compassionate way.
What are your thoughts on this letter? How would you have handled receiving something like this? Please feel free to share in the comments or if you prefer, take it to the Autism Help Forums.