A Mother’s “An Open Letter to A Troll”

Megan, ” a wife, mother, and a teacher” wrote a letter on her blog Define Crazy to someone who had commented on the picture of her son with Down Syndrome. The comment was, “Ugly.”

Down Syndrome is not an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), but I have still posted this under “Autism Awareness” because this is something that children, teenagers, and adults with an ASD go through. Anyone that people consider “different” are ridiculed and insulted.

I don’t know what that person was talking about even thinking Quinn (that’s the boy’s name) is ugly. Quinn is an adorable little boy with bright, blue eyes and a brilliant smile. Megan has the picture of Quinn on the letter.

On April 14, 2014, Megan created the post “An Open Letter to A Troll.” You can read the entire letter on her blog by clicking the following link: http://meganmennes.blogspot.com/2014/04/an-open-letter-to-troll.html.

Dear Troll,

Since I started blogging about my son Quinn and his disability, I knew this day would come. There’s no shortage of trolls on the internet who hide behind the anonymity of a screen name with the intent to be cruel, and I’ve seen their hostility many times before. In fact, just last week, in the wake of a robbery at the Down Syndrome Association of Houston’s headquarters, in which $10,000 worth of technology was stolen, there was no shortage of ignorant comments on the news story reporting the incident. One user asked, “how will they learn to count to potato?” Another claimed that wasting computers on “retards” was stupid anyway and that the organization deserved to be robbed. These comments, while offensive, simply serve to showcase people’s hate-fueled ignorance and aren’t worth my time. I grimace when I read them, but realize there’s little to be done about such stupidity.

I don’t want to make assumptions about you, but I can guess from your immaturity and ignorance that you know little about the helplessness that parents feel when caring for a sick infant with respiratory issues. Quinn was sick last week, but was feeling much better by Friday. We decided to sit in the backyard and soak up the sun after school. There aren’t many things in this world more beautiful than seeing your recently-ill child light up in a smile, and I snapped a few photos to celebrate his recovery, then posted them on Instagram with the hashtag “#downsyndrome.” I love to look through those photos myself in my spare time because damn if those kiddos aren’t adorable. Of course, you feel differently because you found this photo and left a comment with one simple word:

Ugly.

The fact that you find my child ugly is one thing. You are entitled to your opinion. But the fact that you intentionally search #downsyndrome to find pictures to insult (sadly, Quinn is not the only victim of your behavior; I came across many other inflammatory responses) is both childish and sad. Your profile is also full of offensive posts and crude statements, all of which point to your own illiteracy. In one such photo, featuring two kids with Down syndrome and the word “wiitard,” you get bent out of shape because many, MANY people called you on you prejudice. You claim it was a joke and that people should lighten up. But what about purposefully seeking out pictures of our children? What about the fact that a beautiful photograph of my son was tarnished by your hatred? That’s not a joke. That’s cyberbullying. Needless to say, I reported your profile, which was removed temporarily, but is now back up. It might be wise to remove it soon before the authorities look into your harassment; these things are taken quite seriously now.

This will not be the last time someone discounts my son because he is different. It will not be last time someone makes a joke at his expense, but to actively seek out actual people to tease goes beyond cruel. It’s inhuman.

I recognize that you want to see me get worked up about your little “joke.” I’ll be honest, it’s hard not to be angry about it, but I can’t allow myself to carry that weight on my shoulders. I can’t allow myself to feel anything but sorry for an individual with so little tact. Because in end, you will be the one to face the consequences of your choices someday. There are few people in this world who tolerate that kind of backwards thinking, and you’ll eventually mouth off to the wrong person. My guess is that you already have, which is why you hide behind a screen name like a coward.

God knows there were plenty of cruel adolescent boys in my time: boys who took pleasure in pranks and jokes at others’ expense. There were even a few of them that were directed at me, but it gave me tough skin and I grew from the experience of facing such mistreatment. Maybe that’s why I’m willing to let this one go; I know where most of those boys ended up and it’s nowhere I’d want to be. And as a teacher, I’ve seen kids like you crash and burn. Go outside. Read a book. Compliment someone. Most importantly, enlighten yourself; there’s already enough cruelty in this world and anyone worth their salt should be striving to make this place better, not worse.

I simply hope my own children learn to look past ignorant comments and actions and treat others with respect and dignity. We all deserve it, even you.

Sincerely,

A Proud Mama

Moves

“Moves” is developed by ProtoGeo. It is normally $2.99 but it is free for a limited time. It is compatible with the iPhone, iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G, iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular (3rd generation), iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular (4th generation), iPad mini Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad Air Wi-Fi + Cellular, and iPad mini with Retina display Wi-Fi + Cellular and requires iOS 7.0 or later.

iPhone Link: Moves – ProtoGeo

iPad Link: Moves – ProtoGeo

Source: App Shopper

Animal Circus: Toddler’s Seek & Find. An interactive activity book (2+)

“Animal Circus: Toddler’s Seek & Find. An interactive activity book (2+)” is developed by wonderkind GmbH. It is normally $1.99 but it is free for a limited time. It is compatible with the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch and requires iOS 5.1 or later.

iPhone/iPod Link: Animal Circus: Toddler’s Seek & Find. An interactive activity book (2+) – wonderkind GmbH

iPad Link: Animal Circus: Toddler’s Seek & Find. An interactive activity book (2+) – wonderkind GmbH

Source: Smart Apps For Special Needs

Today Moms: “11 Things Never To Say To Parents Of A Child With Autism (And 11 You Should)”

On April 15, 2014, Karen Siff Exkorn added the post “11 things never to say to parents of a child with autism (and 11 you should)” to the Today Moms website. Below are quotes from the article.

1. Don’t say: “Is your child an artistic or musical genius? What special gifts does your child have?”

We’ve all seen “Rain Man” and know about the extraordinary artistic and musical gifts that some individuals on the autism spectrum possess. But the truth is that most on the spectrum do not have these gifts. In fact, only about 10 percent have savant qualities.

Do say: “How is your child doing?”

This is what you’d say to the parent of a typical child, right? It’s perfectly acceptable to say this to the parent of a child on the spectrum. They can share with you what’s going on in terms of their child’s treatment and/or educational experience.

2. Don’t say: “You’d never know by looking at her that she has autism! She looks so normal.”

While the speaker might view this as a compliment, most parents of a child on the spectrum would not take it as such. Additionally, in the world of autism, the world “normal” is usually replaced with “typical” or “neuro-typical.”

Do say: “Your daughter is adorable”

Or offer any other compliment that you would use with any typical child.

3. Don’t say: “God doesn’t give you what you can’t handle” or “Everything happens for the best.”

Please don’t use clichés. Unless you’re the parents of a child on the spectrum, you don’t really know just how much there is to handle. Statements like these seem to minimize a parent’s experience by implying that this situation is something that they should be able to handle. Also, while it’s tempting to try to put a positive spin on the diagnosis, most parents of newly diagnosed children don’t feel that the diagnosis is the “best.” Over time, parents come to a place of acceptance, and some even view the diagnosis as a gift or as a way to gain a different perspective on life. But don’t be the one to instruct them about coming to those terms.

Do say: “Is there anything I can do to help you out?” or“I’m here if you need to talk.”

You can offer practical solutions to help a parent handle the diagnosis or the ongoing tasks, like help with grocery shopping, babysitting or other daily responsibilities. Sometimes, parents just need to vent and it’s helpful to have a friend with whom to share their feelings.

4. Don’t say: “I know exactly what you’re going through. My cousin has a friend whose neighbor’s sister has a child with autism.”

It’s human nature to try to show empathy for the family affected by autism, but it’s not right to say that you know “exactly” what parents are going through if you don’t have a child with autism.

Do say: “I don’t know what you’re going through, but I’m willing to listen if you need to talk.”

By honestly acknowledging the gap in your knowledge and offering heartfelt help, you will be a much better support system for the parents of a child on the spectrum.

There are also wonderful resources and organizations that can help educate you about autism.

5. Don’t say: “Do you have other children and are they autistic, too?”

While research shows there is a higher than typical incidence of autism among younger siblings of children with autism, it’s still not appropriate to ask this question. Also, it’s more acceptable to refer to children on the spectrum as “children with autism” rather than “autistic children.” When a child has leukemia, we say the child has cancer, not that the child is cancerous. To many parents, saying a child is autistic defines them only by their autism.

Do say: “Do you have other children?”

Just as you would ask this of parents of a typical child, this is a perfectly acceptable question for a parent of a child on the spectrum

Click the following link to read the entire article: http://www.today.com/moms/11-things-never-say-parents-child-autism-11-you-should-2D79526244.

Zorbit’s Math Adventure Preschool – Learning. Reimagined.

“Zorbit’s Math Adventure Preschool – Learning. Reimagined.” is developed by Best Boy Entertainment. It is normally $2.99 but it is free for a limited time. It is compatible with the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad and requires iOS 4.3 or later.

iPhone/iPod Link: Zorbit’s Math Adventure Preschool – Learning. Reimagined. – Best Boy Entertainment

iPad Link: Zorbit’s Math Adventure Preschool – Learning. Reimagined. – Best Boy Entertainment

Source: Smart Apps For Special Needs