By now, most of you have read the anonymous letter sent to the grandmother of two autistic children that she cares for regularly. If not I’ll summarize it for you: Insane woman would like autistic people removed from the planet or at the very least, placed far away from civilization.
I’ve crafted my own response to this offensive and horrific letter.
To the Woman Living Near This Address:
You claim that you have a problem and that problems seems to be–although it isn’t totally clear–that you are upset because a child with autism makes loud noises while outside. I feel like this is a simple-enough problem–go inside. There it is. Granted, I do have a college degree, but I feel like that was kind of an obvious solution–one that almost anyone could come up with.
But we should back up a little because the truth is that this letter says volumes about you and I’m not just talking about the grammar. It appears to me that you grew up in a world where a person’s value isn’t in their humanity, but it what they can do for you. You don’t see the unique gifts that make each person special, but rather a list of deficits to be fixed.
I’m sorry that you were taught only one way to live a life. That marriage and a certain type of job are the only things out there. I’m sorry that your definition of success is limited to dance team trophies or making the high school baseball team. That seems very sad and small to me and I feel certain that you’re missing out on all kinds of amazing experiences with that set of beliefs.
We don’t love our newborn babies because one day they’re going to be lawyers. We love them because they exist. The beauty in another human being isn’t in what they can do for us, but in their ability to share an experience with us. In the connections we form. Another human being doesn’t need a stellar IQ to laugh with you. They don’t need a college degree to snuggle or listen. I struggled with this for a long time myself, but it’s true–happiness is not synonymous with perfection. In fact, those two rarely go together.
Do not mistake a person’s value to you with their value–those are not the same thing. I’m sorry if someone taught you different. I’m sad that your children might learn these same damaging lessons. I pray that you are never faced with a moment where someone you love dearly is found lacking by the public at large.
I realize you’ll probably never read this, but that’s OK. I need to say these things out loud for myself so I don’t forget. The world can crush you with its expectations til one day you see the absurdity of it all when one human being suggests another be euthanized because they make loud noises outside. And there you see it. Absurd.
Wishing you well and hoping your heart is turned.