[CN: mentions abuse, ableist language, bullying, filicide, restraint, seclusion]
Every time another autistic child is abused or murdered by people who are supposed to care for and protect them, I get told to walk in the shoes of the perpetrator. I get told that I think too simplistically to understand the nuances of the situation.
So, I invite you to walk in my shoes, and understand the nuances of my perspective.
I am Autistic and I am the sole parent of an Autistic child.
I am angry and I am hurt.
Walk in my shoes when my mother abandoned me at the age of 4.
Walk in my shoes when my father spent my entire childhood blaming me for her abandonment.
Walk in my shoes when my father and step-mother told me there was something wrong with me; that I must be as crazy as my mother.
Walk in my shoes when my step-mother decided that beating me was the appropriate response to misbehaviour. The last time was when I was 16. My transgression was that I had given my step-sister, who was 18 months older than me, "attitude."
Walk in my shoes when I left home at 17 and slept on park benches for a few nights before I went to live with my biological mother.
Walk in my shoes when my mother told me that she couldn't figure out what was wrong with me since I was so happy in the years before she abandoned me.
Oh - but you say - I don't know what it's like to walk in the shoes of a parent of an autistic child.
I have those shoes too. This is how I came to have them. Let's walk some more.
Walk in my shoes when, after a lifetime of emotional manipulation and physical abuse, I became involved in another abusive relationship.
Walk in my shoes when I was six months pregnant, and I had to climb a six foot wall to escape the abusive father of my unborn child.
Walk in my shoes when I had my child and I was alone because his father, by that time, my ex-partner had systematically destroyed my support system of friends.
Fast forward a few years...
Walk in my shoes when my child was going through the process of being identified as autistic and everyone involved was asking questions about my personal life because being a sole parent must mean that I was parenting wrong.
Walk in my shoes when my child went to school and school staff tried to bully me into signing consent forms in order to approve the use of seclusion and restraint. I did not sign those forms.
Walk in my shoes when my child's anxiety peaked and we decided to home school, and the school staff tried to bully me into keeping my child enrolled in school.
Walk in my shoes when I am tired, or sick, or not coping with the world - not because my child is autistic, but because I am human, I am fallible, and I feel the stresses and strains of life just as anyone else does. Still, in all of those times and with all of those shoes, I have not hurt my child.
No amount of justification based on shoes will ever be enough to excuse abuse or murder. Abuse and murder is wrong, and there are no nuances to to understand when those horrific crimes have been committed.