Retard! Autistic!

July 03, 2012


By Lisa Ackerman

As a parent of a teen diagnosed with autism nothing makes my skin crawl and me more upset then these words - especially together: Retard! Autistic! Especially in a mean, cruel statement.

I am a child during the 1970's and the derogatory statements once commonplace plus more I don't wish to repeat here really resonate with me today. Having kids where things don't go exactly as we hoped really opens ones eyes. Open as wide as Grand Canyon. Watching kids go from perfect to regressed with pain and then a diagnosis of autism is painful. I can only imagine how my kid feels.

50cent stepped into a steaming pile this week by using autism in a hateful way on Twitter (1). Yes with Twitter you have less characters to express yourself. But that does not give you license to be a jerk.

What I get sad about is our kids. Are they deserving to be a butt of a joke? They deserve so much more. They are so kind. So genuine. So pure. They rely on us. We need to be better than that. They deserve the best of us based on what they go through.

I've learned so much being a parent of a child with autism. A mountain of information I have been exposed to. Now with TACA I've learned so much more. This blog is not big enough and my heart is so full. I am so grateful for the smallest things. I've learned so much knowing individuals with special needs.

If you live without autism there by the grace of God you go. Your family dodged the 1 in 88 statistic. Consider yourself blessed.

Please: Don't pity autism. Don't hate. Don't belittle. Sometimes a little respect and understanding goes a long way. And if you want a quippy comeback to burn a friend I got an idea.... Don't piss off a community of almost 2 million tired, frustrated families struggling for everything you take for granted. We will fight back.

1) Twitter @50cent 7/2/2012


Editors Note: Special thanks to the lovely Holly Robinson Peete for addressing this situation first.  You can read her letter here: