To @Rosie, an Open Letter

Dear Rosie O’Donnell,

I first learned of your tweet about Barron from another Autism Parent.  Let’s just say since I’ve learned about it the amount of feedback both positive and negative towards you has been, let’s say, overwhelming.

There are those that agree with you, that the video raises more questions regarding Barron.  Of course there are those who believe you are attacking Barron in this light and wanting to label him – amongst other things.

Personally, as I think you have discovered, the diversity that is not only our society – but that of the Autism community.

I read your follow up defensive stance – https://www.rosie.com/what-we-see-and-why/, and discovered to my surprise that you are in fact, an Autism Mom.
Allow me to formally welcome you to the diverse and incredibly vocal Autism community.

As you may have discovered, our community is full of those who are verbal and non-verbal, parents and caregivers… and the list goes on.  Whether anyone likes it or not, you are now among that list of Parents trying to share a perspective many of us have been sharing for years, yet with little progress.  After all, it’s hard to share about our journey with autism when we’re just trying to learn about it ourselves.

I won’t apologize for anyone’s behavior, nor will I say that your actions need defending.  I’ve seen you be more vocal over other issues and come out just fine.

My concern, as with all things associated with Autism, is the fact that Barron’s privacy is no longer something he can take for granted.  Not just because of his Father, but because now there is a potential label that people may now believe he is on the Spectrum.  The fact that someone openly brought up a question of this matter, does cast a very big light upon Barron for quite some time.

Would it be a good thing for the community if the incoming first family is actually an Autism family?  Who knows?

But…What if Barron isn’t Autistic?   Could he go the rest of his life with people believing he is?

As you expressed, we are all human.  We all do, in fact, make mistakes.

You’re new to the subject of Autism, and a new Autism parent.

Be grateful that you learned of Dakota’s diagnosis at 3 1/2.  It took us, and many others, well over four years (some well into decades) to get a formal diagnosis… and my son was essentially non-verbal.  We did not have the luxury of obtaining an early diagnosis, as many of us had to fight with doctors, speech therapists and other professionals to get the services we need to just get us to the point where we are now at.

You are in a position to address these concerns because of your celebrity status.  However, the choice is always yours on how you would like to share your journey – and that of your experience being an Autism Mom.  It is good that you were able to obtain a diagnosis, now the real daily work begins – and I hope in time that we all can work together to benefit the community at large.

I invite you to join Autisable and share your journey, to ask the tough questions you may come across in the coming years.   I’d be happy to include your blog among our long list of syndicated bloggers and non-profits.  Not only does the Autism community need a voice such as yours, the reality is you need to hear more from the Autism community.  After all, you are pretty new to this side of things as an Autism parent.

Sometimes we parents need a reminder of when we first started our Autism Journey, and new parents need to hear the wisdom of those that have been around awhile.  We’re all passionate about our children and can be defensive and/or combative at anytime.  We are in a constant battle advocating for those that we so dearly love.

Thank you for taking a few moments to read this, it is appreciated.  I hope that you have the opportunity to read this, and look forward to your response.

Sincerely,
Joel Manzer
Founding Lead Editor, Autisable.com

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Joel Manzer
Husband to an Amazing Wife, and Father of a Child with Autism. Founding Lead Editor of this site called Autisable. Click here to join Autisable!
Joel Manzer

Joel Manzer

Husband to an Amazing Wife, and Father of a Child with Autism. Founding Lead Editor of this site called Autisable. Click here to join Autisable!

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