By Kim Stagliano
With horror and a sickening flashback to a Stephen King novel (and film by the same name) I watched the Bay Village Ohio teens play a terrible "prank" on a student with autism, using the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge as their "medium." (See below.)
As the epidemic of children with autism grows older, I fear they are in more danger than ever. Toddlers are naturally protected by most all mothers, not just their own. The "it takes a village" method of child rearing, one could say. Which of us would not run to the aid of almost any child under the age 12, 13, even 16? Ah, but as our children turn into adults, that coccoon of safety becomes eroded. Cute faces have pimples. Chubbie tummies change into burgeoning figures.
I'm in the position of having three teen daughters with autism. You want to talk about paralyzing fear for them? Pour a cup of coffee and we'll chat - for six months. Already one of my girls has been criminally abused (school bus, 2010.) And yet, like parents of typicals, we have to find a way to let our kids grow up and move forward. We fight our own instincts to protect our vulnerable children, and force ourselves to "let them go" a bit and learn about the world. But for the love of all that is holy, NOT this way.
Bay Village, Ohio has an opportunity to set an example for ALL villages. As of this writing, police are considering arresting the teens.
Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor of Age of Autism. Her new novel, House of Cards; A Kat Cavicchio romantic suspense is available from Amazon in all e-formats now. Her memoir, All I Can Handle I'm No Mother Teresa is available in hardcover, paperback and e-book.