As a Parent, I try very hard to look after my children’s interests at the expense of my own. That means I often go without to make sure that they have what they need and it also means that I put myself under considerable stress to make sure that they are going to be able to deal with the world we all live in when I am not around.
I read a lot of books on Autism in an effort to not only understand my children, but to understand myself. After all I too am Autistic.
I read this article on a book that came out in August this year – To Siri with Love by Judith Newman– with a certain amount of horror. Surely no mother could be that horrible about her child?
Go ahead and click through the link to read it, I’ll wait here – I’m interested in how you’d view both the book and the article:
I thought about buying a copy of the book to see if it’s as bad as the writer of the article suggests. I researched it and found an Observer article that suggests that the writer wasn’t aiming her words at those of us who are Autistic, but those who are not. That makes me disinclined to purchase even the kindle version.
If anything, it makes me more upset – the writer of the book is speaking from her own experience, (something that we writers are told to do) but she isn’t thinking about the impact of her words on her readers (something that we writers should do) and from what I can see, the writer appears to be incredibly short sighted in this respect.
I can’t put myself in the shoes of someone who doesn’t have Autism – I’ve never known what that is like and even for someone who has a great imagination, I can’t imagine what it would be like.
I can however see what the other people who are #ActuallyAutistic are saying.
It feels like an attack on those of us who are neurodivergent, and the suggestion that we are not meant to breed and have children, simply because we see and experience the world differently from those who don’t have Autism.
We are not without emotion – if anything we experience it intensely – and anything that hurts us will trigger a meltdown. No matter what audience the writer intended the book to reach, anything about Autism is going to be picked up and read by Autistics. The writer should have realised that and if not her, then her editor and agent should have!
That is what this Twitter storm is – a collective public meltdown that should have, could have been predicted. I get the feeling that even if the author didn’t consider it, the publisher certainly did and the publicity it’s getting will sell more books, rather than less as people wonder how on earth it could be creating such a fuss?
Maybe Judith Newman needs to watch Pablo to be able to understand how autistics see the world and what hurts us. It’s certainly a lot more positive an experience of autism than her book seems to be.