I've been thinking about whether or not I should write this diary, but the more I mulled over Palin's comment today about how health care reform would kill her special needs child, the angrier I got.
First, the nickel tour of my family: I am the mother of two special needs kids, ages 3 and 5. They are sweet, loving and considered to be "high functioning" but on the autism spectrum. My daughter loves animals, astronauts, babies and playing games on nickjr.com. My son loves puzzles, Wiggles, cars, trains and counting (he can already count to 10, something I am so proud of as a parent).
I have decided to stay at home to help them, while hubby works your regular, white-collar job.
Parents of special needs kids are very protective of them, almost to a literal fault - like the time I was at a neighbor's birthday party and ended up manning the pinata game so that I could make sure my kids didn't inadvertantly get wacked with a stick or start screaming because they didn't yet grasp the concept of taking turns. I'm sure every parent of a special needs kid has a story like mine, where they find themselves embarrassed, bossing someone else's event simply because they know their own kids and they're trying to make sure the kids can survive the experience without too many stares from other well-meaning but confused adults and older children.
So, in that spirit, I'm about ready to stick my big foot out there and call you out, Ms. Palin:
Leave My Kids Alone!
You see, Sarah, every time you use your special needs child as a political prop in your ongoing mission to convert the country to Palinism, you make it that much harder for all of the rest of us parents out here who are just trying to advocate for our kids, and who just want to "blend in" as much as possible.
Every time you make up some ridiculous conspiracy theory that a cause like health care reform - one which would do so much to help my kids and others like them, who need physical, developmental, speech and language and out-of-classroom, one-on-one assistance - you hurt my children's chances at getting the intervention they need.
So, just stop it.
Children - especially special needs children - should not be a part of the political bloodsport. Quit trying to use them as pawns in that game.
UPDATE: Thank you so much for the recs, everyone. Autism is something that's been left out of the health care debate so far, but if there's a way to have that conversation without putting special needs children in the crosshairs, I hope that's something that'll happen soon.