There is currently a book out that is causing quite an outcry in the Autistic community (not to be confused with the autism community from which the book stems). To Siri with Love is an #AutismMoms story. The thing that is most upsetting is that she advocates for sterilizing her autistic son.
No, I do NOT agree with her stance. Yes, I find it deplorable.
But it is not the first…though I wish it would be the last. It is a practice that was once all too common…especially with those with Downs Syndrome.
Not just those…and not just Mengele types either. I know…it happened to me…but not with my #HappilyAutistic little human.
I have another special needs offspring…now adult. My ex-husband and I adopted Little Brown Boy when he was seven months old. He has a chromosomal disorder called neurofibromatosis (NF). In addition to tumors growing on nerve sheaths, it also has a host of learning disabilities.
When we adopted him, the social worker warned us that he would never be able to hold a full-time job or live on his own. He has done both…for years now. He actually needs no more support than my ‘normal’ offspring. Though he does struggle with mental health issues…as the result of being different, the adoption, and my idiot parenting skills or lack thereof.
Growing up, he had the BEST doctor. Annual checkups and evaluations. Hour long plus discussions about how he was developing…where the doctor actually listened to me…and fed back to me with the latest research and trends before he even published them. He was the most empathetic doctor I have ever met…to this day.
But I will never forget the visit where he suggested that I consider having my son sterilized. Yes, this brilliant and caring man advocated having my son vasectomized without his consent. He told me that worried because he saw NF parents bringing in their NF children whom they did not have the capacity to care for properly.
I nodded…the younger me did not run screaming from the room or throw something at him. Honestly, even now, I consider him as I said the best doctor I have ever known. If PanKwake’s seizure disorder came back, I might even take her back home to see him.
BUT obviously I did NOT follow his advice.
At almost thirty, of all my adult offspring, Little Brown Boy would make just as good or better a parent than the others.
Of course, there is another and perhaps even deeper issue involved in that book…
Not just informed consent to a medical procedure…but the issue of a parent sharing such private things with the world…without fully informed consent.
Now some may think that is the pot calling the kettle black. After all, I often write about PanKwake’s meltdowns and other challenges. And if you search through old blogs you might be right…BUT…
For the past two plus years this has been a joint venture…a fully informed decision…because both PanKwake and I feel that parents need to see first hand that being #HappilyAutistic and #ProudlyPDA is an option…and that it is the best one…that not only the autistic person but the whole family reaps the benefits of a home filled with #UnconditionalLove and #Laughter.
While I do NOT get her approval of every single blog I write, because she does not have the patience for reading or being read to, I do for anything that is controversial.
What is more…in case you have not guessed…PanKwake is NOT her real name. It is her YouTube identity. That is a concept that she understands well…telling me of a YouTuber who was actually even kidnapped. And for years, I did NOT post identifiable photographs of her…or allow anyone else to either. It was HER decision to change that. She who told me that you cannot be a YouTuber without going on camera.
And I draw lines in the sand. There are some subjects that are so personal that they are not fodder for the world…even though I know they might be very helpful to others. That may one day change…but only IF PanKwake says so.
But last night brought home a point that I want to make…
Consent is NOT just an #ActuallyAutistic issue.
It is a world-wide internet phenomenon one.
Last night, PanKwake shared with us a YouTube video of photos of children, toddlers, and even babies in some of the most outrageous costumes imaginable…
- A baby girl dressed in hot pink net stockings and bikini…on a stripper pole!?!?
- A toddler as Hitler?!?!
- Another restrained on a back board and masked aka Hannibal Lecter!?!?
And dozens of others.
These photographs were taken and posted most likely by THEIR PARENTS! Well before any of them were capable of giving any type of consent. What will these little humans think and feel later when they see those photos?
And of course, there is the issue of whole families on YouTube…I know pot and kettle again? But again, I point to the fact of true consent…and in fact PanKwake being the YouTuber. I’m just a blogger after all.
Reality TV? Though both PanKwake and I would be totally up for that one. People really do need to see inside #HomeCrazzyHome to understand how #HappilyAutistic and #ProudlyPDA as well as #RadiCoolUnschooling can possibly work. Though Cookie Monster fears if ‘they’ did, ‘they’ might lock us up…to keep us from spreading the freedom. (Real Matrix? We are definitely ‘unplugged’.)
The point? Yes, I have a point…
Consent is NOT an #ActuallyAutistic issue…be it big things like vasectomy or stripper photos posted to facebook or YouTube videos or ‘kiss uncle’ or passing a baby from person to person.
All of it is just another symptom of a truly dangerous trend…
Not recognizing the PERSONHOOD…the humanity…of children. That is why I use the words…LITTLE HUMAN…to remind us all that is exactly what they are…with wants, needs, and rights all their own.
And ALL parents…#neurodivergent, #neurotypical…it does NOT matter need to be aware of the complex issues that go with that.
Little Humans are not slaves, dolls, or Pavlovian dogs to be controlled and conditioned/trained. They are…
HUMAN BEINGS TOO!
And yes, please join me in #BoycottToSiri.
And spend an hour discussing these complex issues with your little humans at midnight too.