Sandy Hook: The Sudden Smallness Of Autism

Mississippi Sky

My brain is swirling.  Of course, like everyone, the feeling of shock still rules my head and the hollowness pervades my heart as I try to come to understand it.  I know only those twenty six families can truly understand the depth of the this staggering loss but I also believe everyone of us lost a piece of our hearts that Friday morning.  I know I did and I have a feeling it’s a piece that never comes back.

In all of this, I am not angry but what I am is confused and I have also become a mom on alert.  Alert and concerned that something as innocent as autism could become a casualty in all of this.  Just as we are recently gaining positive awareness in order to help innocent kiddos who are in need, an irresponsible reporter goes off half cocked supported within a national forum and breathes its fragile name amidst the blackness that rose up in Newtown, Connecticut.

Before this happened, back when autism first entered our life, I thought autism was immense, ginormous, overwhelming and even mythic in some moments. Mythic because I could not believe it was happening to my boy.   I thought autism was big because it was so much more giant than I could understand or wrap my head around and it felt as though it was even bigger than me and my boy and the doctor combined.

On Saturday that changed.

I’d like to say it changed on Friday but, for me, nothing sank in until Saturday and Saturday was when my jaw fell open wide.  That was the day I heard a reporter put the autism wrapper around the Sandy-Hook-nothing and cloak him in autism.  I won’t write his name or glorify him here because he does not deserve that so I will simply call him the Sandy-Hook-nothing.  Noted but not notable because if notoriety was what he searched for, he will  not receive that from me.  I know his name but I won’t write it.

I was floored when autism was thrown at the S-H-n as though someone thought they could somehow offer up a quick excuse, an explanation for his despicable act.  And then it multiplied when others started to bat around the rumor as they passed along the same irresponsible gossip as truth.  Incidentally, shame on you if you were one of them.  Let me be blunt and tell you I am not okay with that. Not only was it wildly irresponsible but it also goes to show how much you are misinformed and also how much you don’t understand about autism.  C-l-e-a-r-l-y….what happened in Connecticut is too big to be tidied up with a one word explanation. And, that’s when it happened.  Autism suddenly began to feel small for the very first time.  The autism that once felt big and overwhelming began to pale when it stood up beside the S-H-n.

Folks, let me assure you if you don’t know this already, this is NOT what autism looks like.  Whatever the Sandy-Hook-nothing was, whatever drove him to such depths of rage and lack of empathy, whatever made him kill with such venom and recklessness…well…I promise you, it was a whole lot more than autism.  And, let me get ahead on this one too and say it’s not any kind of Asperger’s either.

What went on in the elementary school is not what autism or Asperger’s look like.  It’s just not.

I have been around all those “A” terms for the last decade, plus a few odd years thrown in from my teen years when I worked in residential treatment facilities with kiddos of varying disabilities,…long before autism ever entered my own home.  Long before I had any inkling that autism and I would become quite involved with one another.  My boy is all of those “A” words.  He is not only autistic but he is also Asperger’s and there is not a hint of violence in his essence or his actions.  He is loving and kind and he has empathy beyond his years.  His friends are very much the same.  Kind, sweet, loving.  As early as his kindergarten years(he is thirteen now) his kindness began to roll through our village. He and I would wait each day for his sister at the bus stop.  While we were waiting for his sister, if he heard a baby fussing,  he would attend to the babies who were crying.  The mothers were often busy chatting and did not notice so my boy would step in.   My boy would locate lost pacifiers and blankets and bottles and notify mothers that though their baby had been sad, he fixed them and made them smile.  Even today, at 13, if I so much as sneeze he comes to check and make sure I am okay.  Sure, he is autistic, he is Asperger’s, and it is nothing related to what you saw unfold in Connecticut.

Autism, as big as I once thought it was, is much too small to explain the enormous darkness of the S-H-n.  Too, too small.  No amount of autism, no matter where on the spectrum you look, can begin to explain the Sandy Hook nothing.  Whatever that boy was, if there was a disorder involved, I promise you his landscape was broader than autism could ever fill.

Do you really kid yourself into believing that something like autism could be used to define and explain something as hideous as the Sandy-Hook-nothing? Seriously that is NONSENSE.  And, just that quickly, I am faced with the sudden smallness of autism.  Autism is too small to explain away the Sandy-Hook-nothing.

The violent rampage you seek to explain by rushing to label it will not be explained so easily .  Slapping any of the autism spectrum terms on to it is not enough to explain what that boy did.  Autism spectrum disorders are too small for that.

The Sandy-Hook-nothing goes deeper and much darker than autism could ever begin to explain.  I wish it was that easy.  That a simple diagnosis could cover something so immensely unfathomable as what befell such a lovely elementary school who had taken such measures to protect those little ones but autism is not big enough for that.  It might make a country rest easier if they could name it and file it away but that’s not going to happen this time.

Autism is too small.

8 thoughts on “Sandy Hook: The Sudden Smallness Of Autism

  1. This is everything that I’ve been thinking, feeling and just couldn’t put into words. My son is 21 and is also the most thoughtful, generous, loving, kind and forgiving person that I have have ever known. He’s honest and sincere he is my gift from God. I asked my son today how he felt about the “A” word and this guy, he said ” it’s offensive and being Autistic doesn’t define who you are.” Thank you for putting into words what I couldn’t say.

    • Thank you for your kindness. My heart, like yours, has been heavy and I needed to write it. You and your son hit the nail on the head ;). I feel the same way about my son. I get that not everyone does feel like it’s a gift but I love my guy just like he is. Who he is has added sooooo much depth and humor to my life and I see it all differently because of his vision of the world. I don’t want ANYONE lumping him in with the kind of darkness that happened in Conn :(. He and all the kids like him are too good for that!

  2. Your son is 13 I can tell you he probably will only get funnier. 🙂 Snap you into reality when you least expect it and blow your mind with how clearly he see’s the world. Everyday my son makes me laugh and everyday I wonder how in the world did I get chosen to be his mom. What an amazing thing Autism is, it’s like we try so hard to break through to peek in their window of thinking and life. My son just told me that when he was little and I said “time for bed go to sleep” he had no idea what I meant and how would he do that, so I said “how did you figure it out?” he said “well I guess I just fell asleep but I don’t harbor any anger or anything toward you about it” :). lol My son is so incredibly smart but yet can’t thread his new shoe laces. Some ups some downs. It feels right to talk to someone who knows. Thank you. Merry Christmas.

    • Oh my goodness..he sounds SO Much like my boy! That is exactly how my guy is. He told me he remembered eight years ago when I was talking to him on our porch. I asked what we were talking about. He said I was calling his name but he was ignoring me because he wanted to play with a toy. He then says, “Yeah, I”m real sorry about that mom. That I didn’t listen to you.” Lol…they just make me laugh so much. I am oh so thankful!

  3. I wish I could “like” all of your replys like on FB 🙂 THIS is what the “A” words are truly about. My son too is very compassionate and is always the first one to try and cheer up an unhappy situation. I am hoping that those of us who are framiliar with and know the true characteristics of Autism can band together to defeat all the false and uneducated neigh-sayers.

  4. Wow a very in depth read and very true to the point, When I was introduced to the A word it was long before a diagnosis was made for my 11 year old son J, I told the doctors J was autistic at 9 months old. I have 5 children and was aware J was different from the others at that age. Since being married to the a word we have embarked on a journey that has its own paths,twists and turns and many ups and downs too. I may add though a very rewarding journey comes with it too. I manage this diagnosis much better than Js father and I call it “Somewhere Over The rainbow” (this is going to be my book title too) I have to believe that we were given a very special little boy who shows so much tenderness and love that he probably doesn’t even realize he does, he does this with everyone even when he is being hurt yet HE HAS NEVER HURT BACK !!! Bracketing the A word and the very troubled man together is unfair. I ave wrote to CNN news and NBC news regarding there untrue statements they made in the paper (still no news back) but i will still fight for answers !!! We as parents/carers and siblings must make a stand and not let AUTISM be clouded with violence of guns and murder. May them dear angels be at peace that the monster took away only he knows why everything else is speculation. I feel so let down by all the negative press on autism but whilst i have breath in my body I will fight on for my son and all other ASD kids and families xxx

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