On Publicly Shaming Autistic Children

Recently, a Canadian couple live tweeted their Autistic son’s meltdown.

They claimed they did to “raise awareness” and to help other parents know they are not alone.

I am not sure exactly how publicly broadcasting your children’s most vulnerable moments, the times when they need your understanding and love the most is “raising awareness” for anything other than what a really terrible parent you are.  The complete and total lack of empathy for their child is absolutely heartbreaking.  Their inability to grasp that autism is not something that he is doing to other people, but a part of his neurology is irresponsible and narcissistic.

Let’s be abundantly clear:  Shaming and humiliation are abuse.  They are the behaviors of bullies.  Bullying and abusing your own children are not the actions of a loving parent.

If defending a parent’s “right” to publicly shame their child and receive sympathy and toxic “support” from other parents is more important to you than an Autistic child’s right to privacy and dignity, you need to reexamine your priorities.

I believe this is the “divide” that people talk about when it comes to the “autism community”.   Some of us are fighting for the rights and humanity of Autistic people, and some of us are just fighting for a platform for parents to complain about parenting a Disabled child.

If your way of “raising awareness” is at the expense and dignity of your child, YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG.

If you have any doubt in your mind about the intentions of the parents who exploited their child in the moments where he was terrified, overwhelmed and in need of love the most, just take a look at how they and their sympathizers talk to Autistic adults in a public forum:


It is NEVER okay to humiliate your child.  Your Autistic child is a human being, with real feelings.  Typing those sentences seems ridiculous because it should be obvious, but it is an unfortunate reality that way too many parents of Autistic children need to be reminded of these things.  There are many ways to receive support and educate people about autism that don’t involve harming or exploiting your child.

Parenting is not an easy job.   It has many rewards and many challenges.  Parenting an Autistic child may have different challenges than you are expecting and none of that is the fault of your child.  When you are having a hard time understanding and supporting your child, it is never an excuse to harm them emotionally or physically.   This includes not excusing your actions by saying you are obligated to support other parents or raise “awareness”.  Your number one obligation is to support and protect your own child.  Don’t ever forget that.  Your children won’t.

About Lei

PACLA is an Autistic friendly space dedicated to guiding parents toward respectful supports and accommodations for their Autistic children through the concepts of gentle parenting and a belief in the value of neurodiversity.

Posted on March 9, 2015, in Parenting Autistic Children with Love and Acceptance. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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