I've had something on my mind for a few weeks now, on and off. Today I just haven't been able to shake it at all. It's not pleasant, and it is difficult not to get really upset or really irate about it, but I'm far too tired for either right now.
Hayley, mum to Natty, a gorgeous model with Downs Syndrome, has blogged about it more eloquently than I can over at Downs Side Up. Please read her blog for fuller details (and very cute pictures of Natty!), but in summary I can tell you that there is a Councillor in Cornwall called Colin Brewer, who has actually said that he believes there is a good argument for killing some disabled babies.
Yes, really. It beggars belief (if you'll pardon the phrase. A bit like 'gets my goat' which was in one of Tamsin's books tonight and I confessed I'd have to google to find out where the saying came from and why!). He followed it up with other stupidities in his interview which you can read here.
How can a man like this hold any position of authority? Sadly the truth is that he was voted back in. That means that there are others who don't believe there was anything wrong in what he said. Some of them probably think it was just a 'slip of the tongue', but more worrying are the others out there who actually do agree with him.
As mother of a disabled child (for although it is hidden, autism is still a disability, an 'inability' to lead a 'normal' life), I am more than saddened by this. I'm shocked, horrified and actually scared for Sasha's future. Right now, and hopefully for at least the next few years, we are surrounded by lovely, caring friends and family who provide Sasha with lots of love and support. It's possibly the case that there are those on the outskirts at school who are not so accepting, but honestly I've not heard of any yet. If there are, then I consider it my job to spread understanding and help them appreciate differences.
As Sasha grows older, we do hope she will become independent - but that brings extra worry, as it does for any child of course. We know already that Sasha is far more likely to become a target for bullying than your 'average' child. That will be from immature children though, who we can hopefully do something about. How do we manage bigots like this man?
The first step in my opinion, is to ensure he does not remain in office. He should be publicly stripped of any power, and held up as a terrible and UNACCEPTABLE example. For this, we need your help. People power is needed, and I'd like you please to comment on my post or Hayley's and share our posts and tweets as much as you can. Please help me make the future a safer one for my daughter - for all our children.
Sasha, thankfully, is too young to understand any of this yet. But there are plenty of older children with disabilities who may well have read of heard of these comments - how do you think they feel?
Just in case any new readers have popped by, I can tell you that Sasha is our 5 (soon-to-be-6) year old daughter who was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2 and a half. She is charming, funny, polite, caring, loving, cheerful, curious, energetic, entertaining and determined, and we most definitely are glad of her existence in this world.