It’s hard to imagine anyone could be so cruel, so full of hate. Last week, Canadian mother Karla Begley received an incredibly vile, anonymous letter from a neighbor, who complained about Karla’s autistic son. In the letter, the woman says his “noises” were a disturbance to the neighborhood and that he would be better off living in the woods or dead.
As LifeNews reports, the writer calls Maxwell, 13, a “hindrance to everyone.” She says he will “always be like that” and suggests that whatever “non-retarded body parts he possesses” be donated to science.
“Do the right thing and move or euthanize him!!! Either way, we are ALL better off!!!”
It makes me shudder to read such hateful words.
Max can’t help the noises he makes. As LifeNews reports, autistic children often make loud noises called “stimming,” slang for self-stimulatory behaviors. “People with autism make repetitious movements or noises such as rocking, squealing or head banging in order to calm themselves… [T]he act “may counteract an overwhelming sensory environment, or alleviate the high levels of internal anxiety these kids typically feel every day.”
LifeNews also asks, what if the letter had suggested Max should have been aborted when he was still in the womb? Would that have been received any better? “Prenatal testing can determine if a child has Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis, a cleft lip, or even if a child is at risk for autism,” the article notes. “This now begs the question, should autism be eliminated or “cured” through abortion so that it never gets to this point – the point in which a frustrated neighbor lashes out against an innocent child?”
Thankfully, the story gets brighter for Max and his family. Friends, family and community members are all coming out to support Max and his mother. More than 120 people showed up in the Begley’s neighborhood on Sunday, cheering Maxwell on and giving him high fives. Thousands of others have shown support to the family online.
Several Crosswalk writers have written about their experiences with autistic children. While none deny how hard it is to raise an autistic child, all are quick to mention the blessings it has brought them. Kym Wright shares the goodness her autistic, adopted son has brought her family.
God has brought much good into our lives because of Morgan and his situation. No, we would never have chosen to go down the path of autism on our own, but God’s wisdom supersedes ours, and we are grateful for all we have learned.
Kym also shares specific biblical promises that God has for his special children:
- Their children also shall be as formerly... Jeremiah 30:20a
- And all your sons will be taught of the Lord; The well-being of your sons will be great. Isaiah 54:13
- Commit yourself to the Lord; let Him deliver him; let Him rescue him, because He delights in him. Psalm 22:8
- Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me. Matthew 25:40
- Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; Mark 9:37
Rebekah Wilson and Richard Nations also shared their stories on how autism has affected their children. Their stories are worth reading to help us understand the lives that these families lead. Their journey is a challenging one, filled with struggles- but also filled with hope.
Every life is special, every life valuable and valued by God. To suggest someone’s life is worth less than another is to completely disregard the one who made us all in his perfect image.
Do you have a family member or friend with autism? How has that person positively impacted your life?
Kelly Givens is the editor of iBelieve.com.