My friend Megan Carranza from the Adventures in Autism Podcast is joining me for this raw and real conversation about these difficult and uncomfortable topics. We get on our mics, without any preparation, and we just talk about it.
We felt like addressing racism, although it doesn’t have to do with special needs parenting, because it’s something really big in our world that we are going through. We can’t be silent about it. There is also another controversial topic about Myka Stauffer. She is a YouTuber who’s recent story has rocked the autism community and world. She adopted a son, Huxley, from China and raised a lot of money from her followers to go and adopt him. All of a sudden, she came out with a video talking about how she re-homed him because there were more special needs then she was aware of.
Why are We Talking About This?
Even though the conversation about George Floyd and Myka Stauffer seems completely different, what I realized is that both of those topics are uncomfortable. The topic of racism is uncomfortable. The Myka story is the same.
But there is one thing I know to be true. It is in the discomfort that brings about change. I know that from personal experience because when I was processing through Remy’s autism diagnosis, every single day was uncomfortable. I didn’t know what I was doing, if I was fit to be a mom, if I would survive, and it was through that discomfort that I really looked inside myself and saw that it’s hard because it’s supposed to be. We are supposed to grow. That is exactly what is happening in our world and our country. It’s a serious matter no one wants to address. Now it is at an all-time high of discomfort and it’s an opportunity for us to change.
We all have those things in our lives where we have been excluded and bullied. Even if we aren’t black or whatever our circumstances are, we have been discounted because of something at some point in our lives. We might not all relate to George Floyd, but what we can agree on is that we have all been in a situation where we’ve been treated unfairly.
How Does Racism Affect Everyone?
My initial thought about talking about this with our community is that I wasn’t sure the topic related to what we talk about here. But then I started to think that this issue affects everybody. It’s the same thing as having a child with autism. We think it’s only the parent’s “problem,” but it’s really everybody’s problem.
I’m glad that it’s coming to light. This has been around for hundreds of years in our country and it keeps happening. I talk with Megan about a couple of different stories that I experienced when I was younger that really stuck with me and are a reminder that racism still does exist and it is painful.
Why We Have to Stop and Listen
It’s very common for kids with autism to have meltdowns. One thing I’ve learned over time is that if my kids ever have a meltdown, they can’t hear you. You can’t reason with them while they are worked up.
Most of the time, they have meltdowns because they don’t feel heard. They are trying to say something and they don’t have the voice or verbal expression to say it. The way you stop a meltdown is you keep them safe and let them know you are there and that they are heard.
If you can show that I hear them, I understand they are in pain, and validate why they were in a meltdown to begin with, then you can have a resolution. If you keep attacking the meltdown instead of the reason behind it, you don’t get anywhere and that keeps happening. That’s the same thing that’s happening with our country. Our country is melting down because there are so many people that haven’t been heard. We can’t let people do whatever they want, but we have to acknowledge the problem. That is the first step.
Megan says that “so often when we are upset about anything, we have been taught to sweep things under the rug. This time we need to acknowledge what has happened and the injustice that has happened. Until we can acknowledge, validate, and listen to people of color and have respectful and open conversations, we aren’t going to see the change. We need to grow and change as a society.”
The Myka Stauffer Story
Megan and I share our thoughts about the story and what our opinions are on how Myka responded to having difficulties with Huxley.
Raising someone with autism is very very hard. It is NOT easy for anyone. No one knows what they are doing when they first hear that word. It’s no doubt that it’s very hard. But if you stick it out and get through the breaking points, that’s when you see the breakthroughs and grow together. This community doesn’t have a lot of support, but how amazing would it be if we had the support that we needed?
The thing that keeps coming back to Megan is that they had professionals telling Myka and her husband that their son would be better off with another family who was more equipped. Were any of us equipped for this journey when it started? We are mothers, parents, and we love our children to our core and we will do whatever we can to equip ourselves with the knowledge and do everything we can. But we have to grow and get there.
Why These Topics Matter
I am glad this topic became public. This kind of stuff happens all the time, but we don’t hear about it because they aren’t celebrities with a huge following. It kind of takes the veil off of the challenges that our community has. One of those challenges is that it is very hard and we can’t do it alone, and we do need resources and help. Most of us don’t have that at our fingertips. We don’t have enough therapy, respite workers, funding, insurance, or our school district is ignoring us, and that HAS to change. This isn’t just our problem. It is a global problem.
You may not exactly know what it’s like to be black, but you do know what it’s like to be treated differently for some reason. If we stick to that empathy, that is the FIRST step. We don’t need to know what to do beyond that. We move step by step. Just as it is raising a child with autism. You don’t need to know the whole mountain. Just focus on this step.
This wasn’t an easy conversation to have. But we were so glad to be a part of this conversation. Let’s come together and share the commonalities that we have.
- It is in the discomfort that brings about change. What this country is going through right now is discomfort, but it is important in order to see a difference and see progress happen.
- Our country is “melting down” because there are so many people that haven’t been heard. We can’t let people do whatever they want, but we have to acknowledge the problem. That is the first step.
- Until we can acknowledge, validate, and listen to people of color and have respectful and open conversations, we aren’t going to see the change. We need to grow and change as a society.
- Raising someone with autism is very very hard. It is NOT easy for anyone. No one knows what they are doing when they first hear that word. It’s no doubt that it’s very hard. But if you stick it out and get through the breaking points, that’s when you see the breakthroughs and grow together.
- For the special needs community, we don’t have enough resources to help us with all the challenges that come along with special needs parenting or care taking. That HAS to change. This isn’t just our problem. It is a global problem.