Sunday, January 27, 2008

An open letter to members of the Autism Hub from Mike McCarron

From Left Brain/Right Brain


What follows is the text of an open letter, Mike McCarron, grandpa of Katie McCarron wishes to pass on to Autism Hub members.

An open letter to members of the Autism Hub.

I wish to thank each of you for your words; both about Katie and about people with special needs in general. In a world where differences easily become reasons to devalue people, your words have always conveyed respect, dignity and love for those with special needs.

I know that each of you from time to time question if you should express yourself and wonder if you are making a difference. Your opinions and descriptions of your travels in life have made a big difference to one grandfather and I suspect to many other parents.

In the days following my granddaughter’s death I was very upset. As I read comments from autism “advocates”, I moved from upset into anger. Many wanted to twist what happened to fit into their own agendas. All of you know the dialogue. I began to feel that all reason and common decency had been beaten out of society and replaced with hysterical and illogical screaming. Every time I would read some “advocate” say they could understand how a person could kill a child with autism I would bristle and await their self serving monologue of martyrdom. I even viewed a film clip that turned my stomach but it was receiving wide acclaim.

Then I encountered a different film, one of a little girl bouncing on a trampoline and I met Kevin. Next I found Kristina and the rest of your sites followed at different times mostly by reference from one of these two. During the extremely long trial process of twenty months I have visited your sites, some almost daily. Sometimes I would comment under a pseudonym but most of the time I just read and drew strength from your thoughts and your love. My interest in your posts varied by topic but I was always gratified and reassured by the love you expressed for your children and the respect shown for all people with differences.

I have had the pleasure of meeting some of you in person, I have corresponded with some of you, and still others I know only through your words on the internet. But words are so vitally important. The words used by some are frightening, intended solely for shock value, but are very divisive in the long term. Every time an “advocate” classifies autism as a fate worse than death they not only display the weakness of their own mind, but they do a terrible disservice to every autistic person. Your words and posts, firmly grounded in respect and love, foster the understanding needed for social movement toward improvement.

I sincerely hope that parents new to the autism community encounter the hub and your sites long before visiting many others. I find it strange to recommend sites that value human dignity; every site should, but too many don’t. That is what makes your sites so valuable. It seems that autism falls prey to every kind of con artist, they need to be exposed. It also seems that anything can be said about people with autism if the person saying it claims it was done to create awareness, they need to be set straight. Please continue to lead by example, do it as time permits but do what you can and what you already do so very well.


Mike McCarron

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