Almost daily, I receive messages or posts from family members alerting me to the hatred that is being transmitted over the Internet.  The ‘Call to Action’ messages I receive break my heart because I understand how hurtful the words can be. We love our children and we want to protect them from being victimized by discrimination and/or hate crimes.  Many of our children/adult-children lack the ability to report crimes committed against them; many lack the ability to speak.  Even when crimes are reported, the number of prosecutions/convictions is significantly lower than the general population.  It is often difficult to prosecute when the victim cannot testify.

Our fears are real and we have no method to escape them.  For me, I try to avoid reality.  I am unable to read the horrific stories of abuse committed upon our loved ones.  When I am confronted with these stories, it takes me a very long time to recover from the images.  I truly view all people with disabilities as my family members.  While I don’t condone violence, I don’t now how parents recover without becoming criminals themselves.  Clearly, a jury of their peers (parents and loved ones) would acquit their actions – we understand the strength of unconditional love and trust.

The trust that is involved in being able to handover your non-verbal child/adult-child to another person is unlike any other.  While they are often as fragile as an infant, they lack the cuteness. Unless you know them, they can be annoying.  Over time, family members become immune to the vocalizations, repetitive behaviors, and quirks our kids exhibit.  Our normal is a very different world. Our tolerance is significantly higher and our LOVE is unmatched and unconditional.  Few can meet our standards, even when we set the bar low.

Overall, society doesn’t value our children the way we do.  Judgments and assumptions of our families flow freely and often without a filter.  We live in a time where it is still socially acceptable to exhibit feelings of hatred and discrimination toward people with disabilities.  We are a minority group and we don’t have a strong voice, making us an easy target.

I’ve experienced the shift myself, as Mike grew older bigger, and his cuteness wore off.  Mike now looks disabled and people no longer question my parenting.  While I don’t receive as much judgment, there is an uncomfortable awareness that some people display. Rarely do people seek him out to engage him or even to offer a smile – most simply avert their eyes.

In all honesty, I don’t entirely blame society for this.  There is an uncomfortable bubble of politeness that most people respect.  At times, I have put this bubble around Mike myself.  It can be exhausting dealing with the looks, even when they’re supportive and kind.

All this said, we are incapable of changing the world we live in.  We are a minority group.   We are open to discrimination and hatred that is based simply on our very existence.  Yet, we are a minority group, unlike no other.  Our members are often helpless and mute. We must rely upon a society that is often, at best, simply uncomfortable with our very existence.

How do we ever change the heart of a person who hates us without justification?  The answer is simple, we can’t and we shouldn’t waste out time trying.  We must focus on changing the discrimination that we face in our world.  I am far more disturbed by ONE incompetent ESE (Exceptional Student Education) employee than I am by THOUSANDS of anonymous people of the Internet.  They have no real power or purpose.

My Internet blogging software provides me the web URL of people who click on my blog.  There are people reading these words who do not have family members with disabilities.  They are here to rejoice in the challenges my family faces.  The ONE time I explored these links, I was outraged and ready to mount a war.  Then it occurred to me, there is not ANYTHING that I can say or do to a person who is celebrating MY life struggles.  THEIR life, evidenced by their very existence on my blog has already punished them for ME.

So, me dear friends, blinders on and stay focused on the real fights!


9 thoughts on “The HATERS

  1. Mom says:

    Here is my thought. People hold beliefs and many people are not open to any changes in what they believe. They confront differences to their belief system with anger and furious typing (on the web) and in your face confrontation and attempts to convert.

    I am not talking about any one belief, such as religion here, I am talking core beliefs that were their parents beliefs, grandparents, and have carried on.

    I try not to even engage these people. It’s like playing verbal tennis with grenades, instead of balls. You can’t change their opinions and engaging them only results in an attempt to convert.

  2. It is the principle of the last clear chance. We are frequently the ones who have the last clear chance before a meaningless confrontation takes place. There is great wisdom in just walking away.

  3. Lori O. says:

    Thanks for another healthy dose of perspective that I’ve come to rely on you for. I need to work on not giving these faceless people the power to hurt and scare me. Instead, I will do exactly what you suggest and focus on changing the blatant ignorance and discrimination my son and I face in our own reality. For today, I will snuggle my 10 year old and watch the snow fall from our window. Haters can keep on hating. xo

  4. Denise (Skylers Mom) says:

    I find that there are more of us than there are if them. I appreciate you and your advise, your daily “goings on” with Mike, your words of encouragement any and every little time away from this crazy world. It’s nice to see other people experiencing the same exact things we go through and know we aren’t going crazy. please never ever quit, for those of us around the country who support, and applaud what you’re doing, we have your back and are behind you 100%. We have to do this for our children…because no one else will!!! I do it for Skyler. I have to, he’s my son!!

  5. Beautifully said…and very sad. I don’t have an autistic child/grandchild…I do have a severely disabled (stroke) husband. I read your blog because I want to understand more about what you and your family are going through. I wish you love!!

  6. I have a firm policy of not responding to trolls. I once lamented how it was hard to watch tv sometimes without having to explain things to my autistic 11 year old daughter like what does rape mean. People immediately started saying things like I hope you explained it. You have to tell her. You’re a horrible mother if you don’t explain these things. I ignored them but I just wanted to scream at them. My beautiful daughter only recently stopped routinely watching preschool programming and you want me to explain rape??. Though I ignore and refuse to engage people like this it is still upsetting. Hugs to us all for doing our best.

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