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Posts Tagged ‘punishment’

My daughter does not have a disease like cancer…despite what PETA or Autism Speaks might imply.

My daughter is not God’s vengeance…despite what Toni Braxton may have once thought.

My daughter is no more a potential killer than any of you…despite what the Washington Post might say.

My daughter, Brooke, has autism.

She IS autistic.

Is being autistic all sunshine and rainbows and unicorns?

Um, no.

Are there days that Brooke struggles mightily, in part because she is autistic?

Sure, no doubt.

Are there days when Brooke excels, in part because she is autistic?

Absolutely.

***

Words matter.

Stigma matters.

Demonization matters.

The way Ms. Braxton or PETA or the Washington Post or Autism Speaks talk about autism undoubtedly has led to unnecessary  tragedy.  I am not trying to convince a struggling parent that their autistic child is a gift from god, unless you believe that ALL children are a gift from god.  I am not painting a picture that is all rosy and “happily ever after” when an individual or family receives an autism diagnosis.  I am not trying to hold a scared parent’s hand and say, “everything will work out fine”.

BUT…

But individuals, parents, families and friends need to understand that autism and being autistic is NOT a death sentence like cancer can be…

Individuals, parents, families and friends need to understand that autism and being autistic is NOT a punishment of the parent for some imagined slight against his or her god…

Individuals, parents, families and friends need to understand that autism and being autistic is NOT an indicator of murderous tendencies any more than being any other member of the human race is…

***

My daughter is autistic.

She struggles a little more than others.

She also giggles and smiles a little more than others too.

She sees the world a little differently than you or me.

Sometimes that hinders…sometimes that helps.

As her parents, Jess and I do what we can to make the world a friendlier, easier place for her to exist in, while providing her with skills that will allow her to navigate it.

***

For the love of whatever deity you pray to, please stop seeing her as a diseased punishment, hell bent on hurting people.

My daughter is autistic.

She is different.

And that is okay.

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She IS driving…

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It’s all over the radio now.  Whether I’m listening to Sports Radio or Talk Radio or even NPR or the local oldies station, everyone is talking about Jerry Sandusky, his horrific crimes, the mind blowing cover up by Joe Paterno and the Penn State administration and what should happen to Penn State’s football program now that the truth has crept into the light of day.

People are arguing back and forth.  There’s the side that believes the people directly responsible (Sandusky, Joe Paterno and certain administrators) have been removed and with the possibility of criminal charges being brought against the former President of Penn State the story should be over.  The other side believes that Penn State should suffer the NCAA’s “Death Penalty”, essentially taking away the football program for two to five years.  Those who believe that the removal of guilty parties is enough punishment argue that the death penalty would recklessly harm local businesses and unfairly punish the students in the football program.

I would suggest a third, and far more punitive measure – kill ALL sports programs at Penn State for a minimum of the number of years that Jerry Sandusky did the heinous things he did, at which point the NCAA could review what Penn State had done to make sure something like this never happened again…anywhere.  This extreme punishment is not meant to solely punish the school, but to act as a deterrent for other schools considering turning a blind eye to abuse.

Some would argue that the football program should continue and that a large portion of the revenue from those games should then be given to programs that work to help abused children and/or prevent it.  That to me is letting the school take the easy way out.  If you are going to take a cut of revenue from a school as a punishment, it must hurt.  I would argue that whether the football program survives or not is a moot point.  The school should still make a hefty, painful donation to the the families that put their trust in Sandusky and Joe Pa and establish endowments for prevention programs.

The punishment that Penn State faces should make every University and College President think twice and then a third and fourth time when confronted with choosing between doing the right thing and choosing dollar signs.

In all likelihood, Penn State will get off with a slap on the wrist and somewhere out there in the land of the NCAA, there will be Administrators and Coaches breathing a deep sigh of relief…and another child will be abused; another young woman will be raped; another man will learn that money trumps justice.

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