The other day on my Facebook feed, an essay called “For 2013 I’d like these things to go away.” I liked her list and I liked her idea, so I am mimicking it. And just like in the spirit of Ms. Eshelman’s, for the record, I do not wish anyone any harm or wish them dead. I just want them to go away. So here is my list.
Go away Rick Santorum-In Ms. Eshelman’s essay, she wants him to go to Virginia. I don’t think that’s far enough–he needs to go away to a place much farther than that. Not only does he not represent Pennsylvania, he does not represent the best interests of families with special needs. I’m glad that his daughter is doing so well, other families are not quite so lucky–and we need a bit of help, a bit more services than Mr. Santorum would like to allow.
Go away Jenny McCarthy-And other celebrity parents of kids with special needs that think they speak for us. You don’t. Media-you need to stop giving these idiots face time and air time to spew their drivel. They don’t speak for most of us.
Go away bullying-2012 showed us some absolutely horrific examples of bullying, like a father and son who routinely bullied a girl with CP at her bus stop. Thankfully, he was arrested. But it shouldn’t take a viral video to stop an incident of bullying. Parents, get your heads out of the sand and start having some real conversations with your kids about bullying, and some real repercussions if your kids are the bullies. It has to stop. Period.
Go away PA DPW co-pays-Are you listening DPW? In October, you said that at this time, the co-pay thing was “suspended.” That doesn’t sound very permanent. Make it permanent.
Go away R Word-I think my favorite example of using the R word in 2012 is the soulless Ann Coulter. When her new book came out, she repeatedly used it and then even went on to defend using it on talk shows. That’s some marketing plan. Ann, why don’t you go away, and take the R Word with you. And folks, let’s not make “autistic” our new go-to insult, k?
I want to see more inclusion-2012 brought us many good moments. An athlete with prosthetics running in the Olympics. Several prom and homecoming kings and queens with disabilities. Awesome Halloween pictures of kids in wheelchairs that warmed our hearts. Keep going, because this stuff is awesome! I know good does overcome evil and I want to see more stories like this in 2013.
I want to see more people first language-I’ve posted about this and tweeted about it a few times, and I still just don’t get it. I mean, I get it–but not from parents who have kids with autism and are still referring to them as their “autistic son.” Why in the world would you define your son by his disability? Here’s just one recent example (not by a parent though). So now, everyone that meets this girl is going to see the autism first, the girl second. Because the media has now defined her that way. Sigh.
I want to see more cool and popular celebrities representing Team Us-I did a slide show about this, but later pulled it because I received some negative comments from parents who viewed it incorrectly, or not the way I intended. But basically, my opinion is–we have no A-List celebrities speaking out for us, because it seems that special education is a lot less fashionable than many other causes. There’s no shortage of people to speak out about the environment or animals or Prop 8, but it seems there are not many speaking for us.
I want to see more results-Last year it was reported that autism research is moving at a record pace, and Time Magazine listed “possible reversing of autism” on their Top 10 Health Stories. That’s great, but give me news I can use. Specifically what can parents and kids do? How is this going to change our lives? Where do I sign him up? Because some days, ‘teh autism’ makes life very, very difficult.
I want to see special education funded appropriately-Hey, a girl can dream, can’t I?