Whether we care to admit it, we have all done it – rolled our eyes as we’ve listened to someone go on about how difficult they have it. I know I have. Whether it’s food allergies or diabetes or behavioral issues, I’ve acted as if intently listening, truly concerned about what the speaker or speaker’s child is going through, all the while rolling my eyes internally thinking, really? you’re complaining about that? Oh. My. GOD! Will you shut up with your non-problem?
don’t try not to do that anymore. I learned quite a while ago that for each of us, our issues are just that – ours. They are personal, they are deep, and they can cause much distress in our lives. I once rolled my eyes at food allergies – but you know what? Food allergies can kill. I used to roll my eyes at diabetes, self induced in particular – but you know what? Diabetes can kill.
Unless you are living it (or have lived it) you can’t fully understand it. Even within the autism community, there are such a wide range of experiences that are as unique from individual to individual as diabetes is to food allergies. I cannot begin to truly imagine what it would be like to have to wipe feces off the wall on a regular basis. I haven’t lived it, so I can’t/shouldn’t judge a parent in that situation for some actions that may seem a little “different” to me.
Which brings me to the awful events surrounding Mikaela Lynch. Earlier this week, 9 year old Mikaela, who was more impacted by autism than my Brooke, slipped out of her parent’s care. Sadly, a couple of days ago she was found in a creek, deceased. Regardless of whether one was part of the autism community or not, I would have assumed that everyone would mourn the loss of this young girl and if nothing else, have thoughts of condolences to her parents and family.
But that was not the case.
To my horror, there were some who decided that maybe less than 24 hours after Mikaela’s body had been found, it would be a good idea to ask if blame should be laid on the parents. Now, I am not going to name anyone, in part because some bloggers get paid by the number of times people click on to their page and even more with every comment that is left on their posts. The more clicks and the more comments, the more they get paid (I wonder what kind of writing such writers are inspired to produce?).
It became apparent that one particular person throwing blame at the parents was not a parent. That person, when called on that fact, rightfully asked if the market on criticizing parents was cornered by those who are parents. It’s true, non-parents have just as much of a right to criticize a parent’s action as anybody else…
…but that person, as any of us who would judge someone else, should have at least made an intellectual attempt to walk in their target’s shoes.
As much as we over share our lives via social media (and believe me, I know I am guilty in the first degree) how well do we truly know each other? Not nearly as well as we think.
Were Mikaela’s parents negligent? I can’t answer that because I didn’t know Mikaela, her parents or her 8 year old brother, who was apparently keeping an eye on her. YOUR first reaction may be what? an 8 year was supervising a 9 year old autistic girl? Horrors! but then you would fail to recognize that you were looking at the situation through the lens of your life or your personal experience and knowledge of 8 year olds. I have known a few 8 year old kids who I would have trusted to keep an eye on things while I went inside to do dishes, sweep the floor or whatever it is that Mikaela’s parents were doing inside their house. NT (neuro-typical) siblings are unfairly
asked forced to grow and mature quickly. Unless you really know them, how can you really judge them?
I try not to jump to judgement on a daily basis and I fail at it over and over again on a daily basis (see Amy’s Baking Company meltdown on Kitchen Nightmares – it’s really hard not to judge) but I try to remind myself every time to at least imagine walking in someone else’s shoes for a bit before dropping the hammer. I hope people will do that before snapping to judgement on Mikaela’s family, or anyone else’s for that matter.
It would appear that there are actual specifics to the timeline that one certain mean-spirited blogger chose to ignore. The blogger chose to write that the parents didn’t notice Mikaela was missing for 30 minutes and that they were inside the house the entire time. Sensationalist at best, mean-spirited and money driven (clicks and comments – there’s a reason why this blogger responds to comments with insults; to get a rise out of commenters who will then leave more comments, putting more money in her pocket) more likely, this blogger painted the worst possible picture without any real facts. Here is the timeline and what the mother was doing according to to the National Autism Association -
While her two children played on a trampoline on Mother’s Day, Mikalea’s mother was in the back of their vacation home putting screens on vent holes because the wasps were building hives in them. During this time, a bee scared Mikaela’s brother, he ran and Mikaela disappeared. Based on video surveillance and time stamp, Mikaela’s parents were two minutes behind her. Thirteen minutes into frantically searching for their daughter, they called the police.
Please stick to reputable news sources when forming an opinion – the examiner.com, though generally entertaining, is not one of them.