One of the recurring themes in Leta’s childhood development (and we sharing our ups and downs) is that people love to weigh in with advice. While advice is good, and sharing is good, some of the email and comments border on the pathological. And some are just mean. No one is surprised at the Blurbodoocery.
Asking people to be considerate on the internet is like asking some people to breath with their mouth closed (Mouth breathers, no offense. Just joking.) or to pick their knuckles off the floor (Simians, no offense. Just joking.). Instead of making a futile request, I figure that if I share some stuff, maybe people won’t be so quick with the mean emails and comments.
So here’s an email I sent to an anonymous commenter using a fake email address that bounced back. Fucking anonymous fuckers.
I don’t know if you are aware of a few things, so I’m writing in hopes that any concerns you have might be alleviated. Your tone came across a touch condescending (as if we were somehow ignoring Leta’s needs) and I thought it might be good to share some information. This is a very touchy subject for Heather and the person who made the comment previously had sent Heather a lot of email that wasn’t kind and had such a negative tone that it eventually turned into harassment. After the year we’ve had, I tend to regard harassment as something that requires action. I don’t think you were being harassing at all, just so you know, but when Heather gets comments that are well-meaning but that bother her, my protective instincts kick in.
- Leta had an MRI in September of 2004. There were no signs of abnormality in her skull or brain development. Our radiologist said that because the pediatrician had concerns, we should do it again when she’s two, but that was only because it would be a definitive way to see if there were any problems, not that there were problems. Our pediatrician, after reviewing the MRI scans, called us and said we couldn’t have hoped for better results; Leta’s brain is normal.
- Our pediatrician visits have occurred as scheduled. Leta goes to physical therapy every week. Both the physical therapist and pediatrician have not mentioned autism once.
- Many children don’t walk on “schedule” or crawl on “schedule”. One of the things I’ve learned about parenting is that there is no schedule. Every kid is different. Heather never crawled, she scooted. Leta is starting to show signs of crawling, and she sits up normally and reaches and moves normally. She just doesn’t want to crawl, but we are doing all kinds of exercises. Leta doesn’t like putting weight on her legs, but she’s starting to show signs of changing.
- Heather is extraordinarily sensitive about people making comments about Leta and Leta’s development. Whatever your opinion about Leta, rest assured that we are watching her every day, and working with her to develop at HER SPEED. We can’t force Leta to want to stand up, but we can encourage her through exercise and positive reinforcement. It’s rough going, but Leta has responded very well to physical therapy.
- We live and breathe research.
- Leta is worth every effort we are putting into her learning and growth.
jon (Leta’s dad)
Here‘s a page that talks about what parents of autistic children said they saw demonstrated when their children were infants/toddlers. Of the bulleted list, there are two items of concern for us. One is the hand flapping and the other is toe walking. Our concerns may be unfounded as my family all were hand flappers and twisters, as were Heather’s. This movement is referred to as stimming. Leta doesn’t like to put pressure on the soles of her feet, but the physical therapy we do is pretty intense and she’s gradually being less sqawky about standing up. I’m not sure if what she does in her bouncy chair is toe walking. She still has her monkey toes, but I don’t think that is a sign of autism. Leta loves to make eye contact and smiles at people who talk to her nicely. She smiles at all her extended family members and it is extraordinarily cute. She also plays peek-a-boo, and will even instigate this herself with her froggy blanket thing. She also likes to talk. A lot. Some of this is loud talking, some is very quiet. Point: we are watching her diligently. Just because we like to drink now and then, doesn’t mean Leta is being raised by Chuck and the roaming pack of wolves that frequents our neighborhood.
So, Internet, chill your shit out with the autism, ok?
Also published on Medium.