The Canadian woman whose autistic son was the target of an anonymous hate letter has written a touching response that emphasizes the importance of tolerance, acceptance and respect for children with special needs.
The Daily Mail reports that Karla Begley, 44, is taking the high road, refusing to “stoop to [the] insulting level” of the disturbing letter which suggested euthanasia for her 13-year-old son Max. The missive, which was sent to the house of Max’s grandmother in Newcastle, Toronto, complains about his “noise polluting” wailing, and calls him an “idiot,” a “nuisance” and advises that the family “take . . . body parts he possesses and donate [them] to science.”
Begley, whose older child, Jack is also on the autistic spectrum, accepted an invitation to write a letter to Love That Max, a blog about special needs children. Her aim was to address the controversy by offering insights into the challenges Max faces, and offer suggestions about how to interact with him.
“People with special needs are people first,” she reminded readers. “They have every right others do.”
Referring to the complaint about the noises her son makes, Begley, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and is wheelchair bound, explains that this is the only way he can communicate.’
“If Max's sounds bother someone, I'd hope that person would let us know in a respectful way,” Begley wrote. “Give us a chance to handle it instead of being cowardly about it.”
She asks that neighborhood children come to her and ask questions if they are curious about the sounds her son makes.
“I'll tell children, ‘He has autism and he has trouble with speech, but you can say 'hi' to him.’ And then I'll have Max say 'hi' back and it's OK,” she wrote.
“I'd rather kids ask than grow up to be the sort of people who write nasty letters about autism!”