Saturday, December 22, 2012

This is Jacob. This is autism.

I know I have fallen silent here again. This time it's because I have been overwhelmed by the fallout from the events of the past week. Newtown.

There has been a misguided media feeding frenzy focused on a possible autism diagnosis of the shooter, and erroneous speculation that autism was behind Adam Lanza's heinous acts.

There is much destructive misinformation spreading around the world.

Ignorant, spiteful people have created hate sites about how autism = violence, and proclaiming that autistic people are monsters who should all be rounded up and jailed or exterminated.

I can't...

I just can't...

I can't even breathe when I think about this.

I have not been able to write about it yet, finding myself just too devastated, frightened and overwhelmed to form a cohesive sentence. (Hence the radio silence.)

But many many friends of mine have been writing, voices of love and light to meet and answer the tide of fear hate.

For starters, read these, here:

A letter to Elisabeth J.A. by Jillsmo

My Son Has Autism. Please Don’t Be Afraid. by Jo Ashline

When Children Die, It’s Time to Grieve and to Reflect, Not to Scapegoat by Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg

And also a movement sprang up, a photo meme: "This is Autism" - to put a face to autism as we know it, with words describing some of the wonderful, quirky, delightful people who are on the autism spectrum. Parents are sharing their children, adult advocates are introducing themselves.

And that I could do; thus this picture, with these words.

And we're all sharing it here, on the Autism Shines facebook page.

Come, see the beautiful shining faces of so many of us and our children. Share your own images. Meet some people with autism who are not violent scary monsters, but our wonderful children and our wonderful selves.

OK, I realize if you're a reader of my blog, I'm probably preaching to the converted, but please share this page widely and maybe it will reach someone who needs to hear it.

Peace to you all. More words here soon.


  1. Very well said Varda. This must be so painful for you. I am sharing this post everywhere. Lots of love as always. Rachel xx

  2. Varda, my dear friend, I've been missing you, and life has been so uncomfortably busy that I haven't had time to stop by and say hello. So, hello to you! And hugs and kisses. And sisterhood in sharing the poignant tickles of this season that make us miss who is gone, and who is going. All my best thoughts and wishes to your mother and her journey, and you and your family. Here's to a brighter 2013, for us, and for us all. xoxo

  3. Thank you for writing. This is a hard time to post. I appreciate the sharing.


  4. I too am a huge fan of "farty-pants." That gorgeous son of yours has good taste.

    Thank you for writing this post, and for sharing a link to mine. Our kids are love, and we are spreading the message loud and clear.

  5. I love the Autism Picture and I think I will join in :) I too am really angered by the press giving autistics or autism a bad name. It's something my friend and I talked about the other night. She said the first person I thought of was you and your son. Dakota is such a sweet boy. She is thrilled because he opens up to her and he adores her. They share this awesome connection. Anyway off topic. Your son sounds like an amazing boy :) He surely is a cutey!

  6. I love this campaign and yours is a wonderful contribution. I wish you peace right back -- and lots of love and strength and courage.

  7. What a beautiful tribute to your son and an such inspiring campaign -- clicking on it right now!

  8. Love you. Love your son. He's beautiful.

  9. It is so unfair when the media get a story and twist it sooo much.
    When i look at Jacob - i see an impish smile and eyes that are lovely.
    It is horrific that this has happened and tonight on the news (which i turned off fairly quick) was something about firefighters being shot.
    Where will it end?

  10. Sometimes? I am genuinely afraid to leave the house. I am afraid to walk by the windows because from which will the bullets fly through? But, that's me, and while perhaps the media has worsened my feelings to damn near irrational, there isn't one "type" of person or any diagnosis that I can say is the reason. It disgusts me that people jumped immediately on the bandwagon of "why" and assigning blame -- his mother, the guns, everything. I don't think we'll ever know WHY this happened but I do know blame helps no one, especially beautiful people who happen to be afflicted with a condition that seems different in each person to a degree.

  11. I agree with everything you said. I really want to join in and create a photo of my son like this but he's not received an official diagnosis, so I'm not sure whether it's appropriate or not. But thank you for speaking up!


I am so sorry to have to turn word verification back on, but the spam-bots have found me - yikes!