Most parents have experienced some level of judgment from others when it comes to their kids' behavior. If we're lucky, we get away with a disapproving look, a tut or a barbed, under-the-breath comment. But the judgment went to a whole other level for one Philadelphia mom recently. An anonymous note received by Bonnie Moran, a stay-at-home mom of three sons, reveals the shocking attitudes of some people towards children with developmental disorders. Moran shared the letter on Facebook, and it quickly went viral — basically for being completely hateful.
The letter in full:
"To the parent of the small child at this house,
The weather is getting nicer and like normal people I open my windows for fresh air. NOT to hear some BRAT screaming his head off as he flaps his hands like a bird. I don’t care if it’s the way you raised him or if he is retarded. But the screaming and carr[y]ing on needs to stop. No one wants to hear him acting like a wild animal it’s utterly nerve wracking, not to mention it's scaring my normal children. By you just standing there talking to him don’t do anything. Besides you look like a moron as he walks all over you. Give him some old fashioned discipline a few times and he will behave. If that child needs fresh air…take him to the park not in out back or out front where other people are coming home from work, have a day off, or just relaxing. No one needs to hear that high pitched voice for hours. Do something about that child! (sic)"
Two of Moran’s sons have autism, and one of the them, 3-year-old Ryan, also has ADHD and pica (a disorder that gives him an appetite for non-food items). When Ryan gets excited, he sometimes squeals loudly, and Moran believes this is what triggered the insulting note.
The support the family has received from the public as their story has been shared around the world will hopefully bring them comfort, and some good will come from this if even a small fraction of the people who read it adopt a more understanding approach towards children with special needs and developmental disorders.
Kids with autism — and their families — need support and patience, not judgment and hate. Sure, we've all been there — the screaming kid in the supermarket who sets our teeth on edge; the toddler playing rough at the play park who makes the other kids want to go home. It's easy to react without considering what the truth of the matter may be. We really know nothing about what goes on behind the closed doors of our neighbors' houses.
That uncontrollable child may be facing significant communication, behavior and social challenges because their brain develops and processes information in a different way than others. This doesn't mean they're not normal, just different. And their life will be difficult enough without having to deal with the uneducated, sanctimonious views of others.
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