An #ElmoMum elaboration in three short parts. The last link should be correct once the third part is posted.
Part the second: Context [You are here]
Part the third: Advice (with swearing) (3/18/18)
2 – Context
This section originally began as a Facebook post, that you can read here.
One of the most interesting parts of the Ellenby and publisher responses, to me, was how they thought reading the entire book and gaining more context would help their claim that the book doesn’t detail abusive behavior and yet…
What was NOT included in the original #ElmoMum article was that Ellenby kept her son locked in his room at night as well as busy throughout the days in a basement doing 40 hours of ABA “therapy” (Autistic Conversion Therapy, more like) for around 2-3 years before the Elmo concert incident.
Of COURSE he was terrified to go out in public places after such confinement!
I imagine that even the most neurotypical of children would struggle under such circumstances.
In the book she gives more lurid details of how she abused her son. In addition to the overt abuse, she even didn’t bother explaining to her son ahead of time what he might experience in these public places she forced him to go.
Explaining ahead of time is VITAL for most Autistic people. Unpredictability and surprises are not generally good things for Autistic adults (even good surprises can be extremely upsetting for us), let alone Autistic children.
Given explanations, patience, and time it’s very likely that her son would’ve had similar outward results with far less inward trauma since it wouldn’t have been forced upon him in an abusive manner before he was ready.
Quote from “An Open Letter to Whitney Ellenby“–
“You say there was nothing anyone could say to convince you that you were wrong in what you were about to try. Because you viewed yourself as saving your son from a life entrapped by his autistic phobias. But just because he was afraid of public places at 5 years old does not mean he will always be. Giving him time and space is okay. Your son is not neurotypical. He experiences the world differently. Let him.”
That’s the kind of advice we would’ve given Ellenby had she wanted Autistic perspectives. That’s the kind of advice we DO give when people listen to our lived experiences.
All Autistic adults used to be Autistic children. No, we don’t speak for Autistic children who aren’t us, but if they experience the world in an Autistic way, similarly to how we did and still do, then their parents will gain helpful advice and insights from listening to us.