An Open Letter to Issy Stapleton

Dear Issy,
I don't know if you have free access to the internet, or if you'll ever see this.  But I wanted to tell you something.

I can't even imagine what it's like to live knowing that your mom tried to kill you.  That would traumatize anybody.  Worse, to have to listen to her tell the world that it was your fault, that you didn't deserve to live, and having famous people like Dr. Phil agreeing with her.  Well, I know it hurts, and it's probably infuriating, but I want you to know, it's not your fault.  You don't deserve this. No one does.

Please know that there are a lot of people who support you, who want the best for you, who wish we could protect you.  A lot of people are trying to make the world see that what your mom did to you was wrong.  We couldn't help you, but maybe we can stop it from happening to another child.

And Issy, you're not alone.  There is a whole community of people affected by autism who are very different from your mother.  There are autistic adults* who talk to each other online and meet in person.  An incredibly diverse group of people, many of whom were called "difficult" and treated horribly when they were children, but who now are friends and support each other.  There are parents of autistic kids who treat them kindly and want to understand them, who don't see their children as a burden.  There are siblings, like myself, who know their lives are infinitely better because of their autistic sibling.  There are professionals who actually care about the happiness of the people they work with, not just about making them look "normal."  We're all here waiting to welcome you.

With love,
Emily "Mosaicofminds"

*I don't know if you prefer "autistic" or "with autism" or if you care one way or the other.  This is the term I use, but please fill in whatever you prefer.


  1. Beautiful post. This needs to be retweeted and reblogged everywhere.

  2. Would you say this to a non-autistic person who beat up her mother every day?

  3. Absolutely I would. Honestly, it disturbs me that you believe that having to live with a mother who tried to kill you, knowing that she tried to kill you, is somehow a reasonable punishment for that or any other behavior, for any child. NO child deserves that sort of trauma, and for NO parent is trying to kill their own child a reasonable response. Things like Child Protective Services, although not perfect for children either, exist precisely for cases where parents can't cope.

    Furthermore, children do not just beat up their mother every day just because they feel like it, typically developing or otherwise. There is usually some sort of horrific life event going on, and while this need not involve parental abuse, parents are rarely blameless victims in these sorts of situations. People who have investigated Issy's story in more detail than I, and read her mother's blog, have observed some very questionable behavior on the mother's part.

    The fact that *most* of us would be horrified by such a thing happening to a nonautistic child--and would say something like this to a nonautistic child--but would not to an autistic child is precisely the problem.