Unless you live under a rock, you’ve no doubt by now heard about the hate filled, horrific letter that was sent to the family of a boy with autism in the Oshawa area. I haven’t commented on any of the links that I have seen posted throughout my newsfeed. I just can’t even imagine that someone actually wrote this because it was actually how they felt.
My mind will only allow me to think that the person who penned this is nothing other than a bored teenager with zero sense of judgement, compassion or empathy.
The words that were used throughout the letter were searing. Retarded. Nuisance. Hindrance. Wild animal. Euthanize.
I really cannot imagine a grown adult thinking such thoughts. Much less a mother. I honestly thought it was a bad hoax the first time I saw it.
Then I saw the news report.
I saw Max, the boy with autism – stimming the exact same stims as my son.
Bouncing a ball the exact same way as my son.
Vocalizing the exact same way as my son.
I also saw the people in his community surrounding the family with love and support. Just like my son’s community.
The similarities are incredible.
I can only imagine that the similarities don’t end there. Cuyler spends the majority of his time at home out front bouncing a ball. Skipping. Jumping. Stimming. I think he likes being out there because it affords him time with people.
Anybody who knows my son knows that he is so much more than a little boy with autism who skips around flapping his hands and bouncing a ball.
They know that Cuyler likes to greet them with an enthusiastic “HI <insert name>!” as they get out of their car or “Where are you going?” as they get into their car.
They know that Cuyler will never forget when their birthday is.
They know that Cuyler loves to perform.
That he is a great magician and joke teller.
That, for a kid with a social disorder, he loves nothing more than to chat with anyone willing.
He loves to joke around and be silly.
He wants so badly to do what everybody else does.
He wants to be accepted and I can’t even articulate how grateful I am for the village that surrounds him and makes that possible. The person who took the time out of their day to write that vile letter has likely done a very good thing for Max. He is now surrounded with a community cloak that will protect him from people like that.
So I will end with this:
To our neighbours, I thank you.
You may not know it, but you are a piece of our puzzle.
I thank you for treating my child with respect. I thank you for teaching your children compassion. I thank you for never judging us (or Cuyler) when many others would. I thank you for asking questions and educating yourselves.
I thank you for your support on this journey that we are on.