Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Damage @TheDrPhilShow Has Done

I don't watch daytime TV, nor do I get involved in large social issues that typically involve choosing opposing sides, so I learned of the interview on Dr. Phil's show in the 11th hour yesterday.

I am still sitting here this morning in a shock, even though I did not watch it. I caught a few glimpses. I read things from others who saw it, and I followed the event a little on Twitter.

This shock is one that I find myself in when I can't understand a social way of doing things. It's one that I can't shake, because I can't make sense of it. Not only did that interview upset me,  (I am not even going to use her name here. She doesn't deserve to have her name in print giving it anymore attention.) but I saw a string of other articles yesterday (that I am also not gonna go search out, and share here) about abusive caretakers, and residential homes harming, abusing, and killing autistic residents.

My brain loops in confusion, and profound sadness.

I cannot make sense of why this is allowed to happen. Why is someone who tried to kill their child getting so much publicity? Why are they granted interviews with influential TV hosts before they are even sentenced? While she sits in jail accused of a heinous crime the spotlight shines on her struggles. This is not justice. This is not right. My mind trips on the fact that socially this is influencing people.

Then the fear sets in.

I fear the precedence this interview set for American TV viewing audiences. I shudder at the way strangers who saw that show will view my son the next time we are in a public place, and he begins to meltdown. A big, hefty young man bellowing loudly is sure to garner attention. I'd like the helpful kind. Maybe even ignore us, and mind your own business, but do not look at him with pity, and fear for the the person you judge him to be based on that interview.

What I fear most is that one single interview undid what years of autism (self and otherwise) advocacy took to get us to where we were in acceptance. Each excuse she gave unraveled a bit more of it until the audience was left with a view of autism as a monstrous burden. The exact opposite of how I want people to view my children.

As I have said before- People don't treat people they view as burdens very well. I cannot afford for my son's future to be seen as a burden on society. I fear the repercussion this will cause them.

Most of all I sit in profound sadness.

I am sad for Issy. I am sad for anyone who might lose their life, their dignity, and their freedom due to the impressions that interview left on people of what is ethical, excusable, and just.

I can't wrap my head around the damage I fear has been done. I can't understand the social contagion of condoning this act, understanding this act, or giving sympathy to it. You may think that it is my autistic brain getting stuck on rigid thinking. . I just can't see the gray in this situation. No. Failure to feed a psychopath's narcissism is not a gray are for me. It is not something I am interested in participating in at the cost of so many innocent people.

*Please note before commenting that if you're coming here to argue I am not interested. Thank you.


  1. I used to like Dr Phil and thought he had some interesting shows and ideas. But lately his show seems to be turning to the most sensationalised type of stuff. I won't be watching anymore.

    1. He never has been my cup of tea. I think that anymore with DVR and Netflix there is a big competition for ratings that a lot of shows stoop to lows they probably wouldn't if they didn't feel so pressured to produce such dramatic media to get viewers,

  2. I am not autistic nor do I have aspergers. My son is HF. He doesn't have meltdowns in public. With the meds I give him every other day he rarely has them now. Things have been improving greatly! But this is something that I am passionate about! I have gone through the stress and the tantrums and the nonverbal and the embarrassment in public and a lot of what these traumatized mothers have gone through. No not every child will improve as mine has. But I never contemplated killing him when he was that bad off! I believe these crimes should be classified as HATE CRIMES. Who kills their child because they are under stress? MURDERS! This is crazy! Most are eligible for respite. WTF. I wasn't and I'm glad because now I know that when my son was at his worst I was able to take care of him. Although i was in therapy and on meds, I did what had to be done. The help I got from my husband was by him working and providing. And very rarely disciplining. Which we all know has to be done a certain way.
    You are right we should be scared but more angry that these people are getting off of these horrible, horrible crimes! And the whole world feels sorry for them. That is the truly sad part!

    1. I think the need for services is such a buzzword anymore. It's become almost customary for any conversation about autism to turn one about services. I don't understand how that keeps happening. I never bring that up in any context, because what most call "services" is just therapy that I don't find autism friendly. I don't think more respite availability would necessarily decrease these types of crimes that you are correct in calling 'hate crimes'. There is no correlation between many of the mothers that kill (or try to in this case) their autistic children with the amount of respite services they receive. This case for example, the mother did get respite. Quite a bit of it, as a matter of fact. We can't let autistic people's lives be bartering tools for more 'services'. When we talk about respite in regards to murder we are effectively holding a gun to autistic people everywhere while saying "give the parents more help, or the kids (autistic person) get it." This is not how we get people to care for our autistic loved one. This is not how we get equality,.and respect for our kids. That is how we get people to see them as disposable, and subhuman.


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