Whose Voice Should Be Heard?

Feb 22, 2011
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I recently came across a really interesting conversation in response to a blog post on http://persephonemagazine.com/. The title of the blog post was “A Day in the Life of a Fourteen Year Old Boy with Autism.” I had never read anything on this blog before, but the title of this post caught my attention. It is written by a woman who has a son with autism – and she takes on his persona – speaking and communicating thoughts as if she is him. While the post itself was interesting, what I found most interesting were the comments on the post. You can read them for yourself here at the end of the post.

Essentially, the discussion in the comments was about whether or not it was appropriate for this mom to write from her son’s perspective. After reading through the comments and doing some of my own processing, this is the conclusion that I have come to…. I think that a mom’s insights are enormously valuable – but not nearly as valuable as the insights and thoughts of the individual themselves…and probably pretty far from completely accurate. I do NOT think it is wrong for this mom to post some of her insights in hopes that it is helpful for others – but I agree with one of the other commenters who said that it probably would have been better for the mom to frame it as her perspective instead of her son’s perspective. Because, which one of us can say we truly understand what any other individual is thinking or feeling? We all often have our own interpretations – but they are just that, interpretations. Having said that, I do NOT agree with the people who commented in a way that made the mom into a villain – because she did say openly and honestly right up front that this was just her attempt to explain things from his perspective.

My favorite suggestion, though, was to invite individuals who have autism to write – to give them the opportunity to have a voice and communicate what they are thinking and feeling. If the goal is to get the perspective of an individual with autism, then who better to hear from? My hope is that maybe we’ll see a post in response to this one – written by an individual with autism – in their own voice – with their own experiences, thoughts, feelings, etc.

I also learned that there are several blogs out there right now written by individuals with autism. I have not done a lot of exploring of these blogs, but I encourage you to take some time to check them out:

Author: Carolyn