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'Real Housewives of New Jersey' Mom Responds to Vile Comment About Autism

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To the person who suggested people with autism are a waste:

When your appalling and uneducated comment appeared on the Facebook wall of the Autism Behavioral Services page, I couldn’t believe that a human being could have such a lack of compassion and empathy for others by having the audacity to say something so vile — and so publicly — about the life of another. I thought to myself, ”What a hateful, hurtful and ignorant thing to say!” For a moment, I found your comment extremely offensive, and I felt anger towards you.

For a moment, I allowed your words to upset me, but I quickly chose to take that power away from you. Instead, I began to feel sadness for you. I have no idea what challenges in life you’ve had to endure or what kind of mental programming you’ve grown up with for you to think the way you do. I don’t know what caused the anger and bitterness that compelled you to lash out to hurt others the way you did. I just know that hurt people… hurt people.

I began to think that maybe I could help you in some way. Maybe if I educated you, just a little, I could open your mind to a new way of thinking and possibly open your heart to allow in a little more compassion. I believe it’s worth an effort.

As a proud mother of a beautiful, intelligent, loving child with autism, I want to provide you with an answer to your seemingly seething question that you so boldly and publicly asked:

“Why do people give birth to autistic kids? Waste of societies resources.”

Well, let me educate you.

1. There’s no medical detection or prenatal test to predict that your child will be born with autism. Even if I had known of my son’s autism prior to his birth, I would have still chosen to give him Life.

2. Autism signs and symptoms are usually discovered within the first few years of life. (The life you believe should never exist.)

I’m a mother who waited six and a half years and went through five miscarriages to finally give birth to, who I consider, my miracle child. I couldn’t wait to hold him in my arms, look into his eyes and love him forever. The love for my child is immeasurable, and I will continue to love him unconditionally regardless of any challenges he may have. He’s a joy to our entire family and has taught us more in life than we ever imagined we would be teaching him. Thank God he exists. He’s worth every resource we can get that will help bring out the best individual he can be. He’s worth every skill we can teach him that may make his life a little easier in the future.

3. In case you’ve never done the research, autism is a bio-neurological developmental disability that affects the brain’s normal development of social and communication skills. People with autism can also exhibit some self-stimulatory and repetitive behaviors. These individuals process and handle information in their brain differently than other people — differently, not less than other people.

4. Autism is the fastest growing developmental disorder, affecting approximately 1 in 68 children in the U.S. It’s also underfunded. (So we need more of those limited resources you say are a waste.)

What makes you feel that you’re more entitled to life and the use of our society’s resources than someone with autism? (Different, not less!) What makes you feel superior? I’m curious… what useful and positive lessons do you feel you’re teaching the world from the resources you’ve already received?

5. Although there’s no known cure for autism, with the right early detection, intervention and treatment services, the challenges autism can present can be lessened.

I believe every life is worth fighting for and improving on… even yours.

6. Every child — with or without autism/some other challenge — matters. Every human being has something to contribute to this world if people would pay attention to the lessons to be learned from each individual.

7. Many well-known people who have been “suspected to have” or diagnosed on the autism spectrum have successfully contributed to this society. Imagine if none of them had been born.

I hope you take some time to understand how your insensitive words may have affected families, such as my own, who choose to see the beauty of children with autism. We love our kids unconditionally and endlessly. As parents, we will continue to fight hard to give our children whatever we can to give them the skills they need to help make their lives easier. We’re parents who will continue to believe that these bright souls not only have the power to continue to learn but also have plenty to teach the world. Raising a child on the autism spectrum is a joy and challenge every single day, and we appreciate any information, resources and support we can get from others. I hope in the future, you choose empathy over your lack of compassion.

Jacqueline Laurita


This letter was published with permission from The Real Mr. Housewife, where a longer version of it appeared exclusively, with an introduction from Editor Matt Richards.

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Originally published: March 31, 2015
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