Our group has attracted controversy from amongst Autism activists because we raise questions about the ability of Autistics to parent.
A while ago we received the following comment from “Amanda”. I have decided to lift it out and feature it along with the replies from ASpar members, because it is typical of the way some AS activists attempt to delegitimise the problematic issues raised by the children of AS Parents. The letter below makes a lot of patronising assumptions, which are quite wrong.
I’m sorry that your mothers weren’t as affectionate and motherly as you would have liked them to be, but I’m sure they all were trying to do the best they could. Maybe it would help if you understood what they were thinking at the time. Here is an article written by a mother with AS: Not all parents with autism are “bad”, and it’s very destructive to these parents, myself being one of them, to perpetuate this stereotype. I hope you can all understand where your parents were coming from, forgive them, and get on with your lives.
Amanda makes the following assumptions, whether disingenuously as a tactic to undermine us, or perhaps reflecting a genuine failure to understand the point of view of others, concommitant with a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome.
- That we are ignorant of what people with AS are going through while struggling with everyday life.
“Maybe it would help if you understood what they were thinking…”
Amanda, we understand very well, and this is a tad patronising. Most of the members of ASpar report that, thanks to the support and information they get, they actually becoming more accepting, understanding and forgiving of their parents. It is true that some went through so much at the hands of their AS parents that they want nothing more to do with them, and we must respect them. I personally am now very close to my mother, and respect and admire her for how she has survived the lack of understanding she dealt with from all of us, her family, and society. Nevertheless, I expect to be on anti-depressants for the rest of my life as a result of my career as a child carer, the atmosphere of endless intolerable demands from my mother, constant uproar and shame I grew up in.
- That we believe all parents with Autism are bad.
We do not know all parents with Autism. We have not made any suggestions about all parents with Autism. We are simply telling our stories, about our parents. Now the fact that the stories we tell share common features of a standard AS diagnosis, is food for thought.
We are aware that AS is an umbrella diagnosis, and that some of the people sheltering under that umbrella may not for instance, lack empathy, may not lack the ability to read the social cues their children give them, may not have short fuses, thus subjecting their children to unpredictable violence, may not be compulsive monologuers who drive their children crazy, may not be social avoiders who cut their children off from all social contact, may not be touch sensitive so that they can hug their children, may be able to touch others in a normal way so that their children don’t cringe from their touch, and so on.
But there does come a point when we have to ask if a person who self-identifies as AS and has none of the negative features of the disorder, really is entitled to call themselves AS and use this as a platform on which to further their own profiles as activists. We may also wonder how elastic the diagnosis is even if it is made by a professional, when people who appear to have none of the diagnostic characteristics of AS, have managed to get this dx.
- That we are whingers who do not get on with our lives!
How would you know whether we get on with our lives or not, Amanda?
The reality is that we do not encourage ASpar members to stay in our group forever. Unliks some psychotherapists for instance, we do not have a vested interest in prolonging membership. We find that most of our members are so strengthened simply by being able to tell their stories at last to people who believe them that they find that AT LAST they can drop the bundles they have been carrying with them all their lives, and move on!
Perhaps this is not made clear in what has up till now been a simple retelling of our stories. I hope this is now clear.
Now read the responses of some children of AS parents to the letters , and to Ann Hayward’s website referred to above.
COMMENTS ARE NOW CLOSED.
As volunteers, we do not have the resources to run a moderated website. We cannot take responsibility for dealing with the pain and trauma some commentators report. We are so sorry. We do understand the need
but unfortunately we are no longer accepting comments.