Dear Richmond Times-Dispatch,
I am the mother of four children and my youngest, Amos, has special needs- autism and a genetic disorder.
After reading your op-ed regarding children with autism, I have thought of little else. Though it was printed anonymously, James Bacon has acknowledged being the author.
You call him a “gifted writer, a relentless researcher, and original thinker.”
Bob Rayner, editor of the RTD Editorial Pages, also said that Bacon’s blog is “very fine.”
I’m no expert, but I am a blogger. I’ve been doing it almost three years now and have 75,000 followers. I pride myself on research, truth, transparency and documenting kindness and real life in a special needs family.
If his blog is very fine, mine resembles the pearly gates.
He has written- quite emphatically- about children like my Amos over the last decade. His highly inappropriate language, perspective and omission of truth, make him a poor choice as a writer for a well-respected 150 year old paper.
A few of his thoughts....
“If a kid suffers from a disability, that’s a personal tragedy.”
“Am I sounding cold and callous by suggesting that “inclusion” of inappropriate children in mainstream classes will result in the dumbing down of the curriculum for students who are not disabled?”
“Disabled children certainly deserve our compassion, but is “inclusion” truly the best way to help them?”
“Compassion for autistic kids should be balanced by compassion for their classmates and their desire to learn free from interruption.”
I argue that his beliefs on inclusion are unfounded and disregard the amazing research attesting to the many benefits of inclusion for children with special needs and their typically developing classmates.
You have given his own biases and prejudices reign of your platform where his articulations propagate discrimination, further ignorance, and blatantly disregard IDEA, the 1975 law passes to ensure that children with disabilities have the opportunity to receive a public education just like other children.
Our family is one of many who counts a child with special needs as a joy, not a personal tragedy.
Adrian H. Wood, PhD
NC Mother & Writer