Dear Autism Mom 18

Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial

I hate that I disappointed you so much that you felt you could only give my novel one star. Yet, you make me wonder. Are you really a special needs parent, or are you one of the bullies, who does not like that I still speak out about how wrong bullying is? There are three reasons I think this is likely.

First, I do not believe a special needs parent would intentionally wound anyone; especially not another special needs mom. Second, special needs moms who do take the time to leave reviews on usually have more than one book they have reviewed. Their name would identify them as an autism mom too. They would not use the name “Mom.” Third, I see a pattern. The only bad review Delightfully Different received previously appeared on Barnes and Noble just after my local book signing. The most recent review appeared the day I announced on Facebook that I was appearing on a local radio station the next day.

Your review would be wounding if I thought you really were a mother of a girl with Asperger’s. No author wants to disappoint her audience, and as a special needs parent, I really do not want to disappoint another parent. I apologize if you are truly a parent of a child with Asperger’s, and I want to explain a few things to you.

My daughter saw psychologists from the time she was in kindergarten. She did not receive a diagnosis of Asperger’s until she was ten. During that time we listened to bad advice and followed it. Therefore, my book was not written just to address bullying. I do not believe the information on the cover indicates that it was. I am reasonably sure you know that if you are a special needs parent.

I wrote it because too many doctors, teachers, and others let us down along the journey to getting my daughter’s diagnosis. I wanted to help other parents avoid the pitfalls by clearly showing signs of Asperger’s and sensory sensitivity that doctors and others missed when my daughter was younger. I hoped to educate extended family members too. My daughter realized she was different and she did not know why. She saw herself as flawed, and she thought we saw her that way too. This allowed the bullies to inflict deeper emotional wounds. The fact that the Queen Bee was someone she previously trusted and confided in did not help either.

Thankfully, she no longer sees herself that way, but she is still working to recover from the wounds inflicted by a group of vicious girls and an intolerant English teacher. I really hope you are not one of her tormentors, but I have a message for you if you are. You will not get me to shut up by criticizing my novel. Every author has people who do not like their style of writing, and even bad reviews can sell novels. So, mahalo for writing your review, and mahalo for giving me a new resolve to write a better second novel that will address cyberbullying.

I have one more message for her former bullies if you are reading this. I hope one day you will wake-up and realize how wrong you are, and you will have the guts to tell her how sorry you are. Please do not expect her to absolve you of your sins. You are no longer important enough for her to wish you pain, but years of abuse cannot be forgiven overnight. I do hope you can forgive yourself and that you will turn your life around and help others instead of inflicting more pain.


  1. Beautifully said. Though, I do have to say that I’ve come into contact with plenty of people who were special needs parents AND bullies, people who do intentionally hurt others to make themselves feel superior. It’s possible.

    More to the point, how could anyone see your book and expect it to be “just” about bullying? It’s so much more than that and promises to be so much more than that!

    Unfortunately, the information, though much more available, is still often missed by the people who need it. You’re doing great work all the way around!

          • I haven’t heard that, but it would be nice if they only allowed reviews by those with Amazon verified purchases. Authors can still have friends who purchased the book write reviews. I don’t believe being an author should prevent me from writing a review of a book I purchased and read. That would not make sense.

          • You wouldn’t rate a competing book poorly to make yours look better, and you wouldn’t rate yours or your friends’ highly to make them more competitive. Other people do. Abuse like that hurts everyone, but it still happens.

        • Yes, I tend to try to avoid the wars. That is why you won’t find me on certain sites very often. I try to focus on making the world more kind instead of more controversial like some sites. I used to try to interact on them when I started blogging, but I soon realized I do not belong there. I no longer have a young child or an adult who needs assistance. That is why I interact directly with some of the adults who can offer advice and with the blogs that do not attack others. I figured out over a year ago that M. and I are outcasts when it comes to the more traditional special needs battles. My focus is on helping M. engage in life again and on trying to help others avoid the pitfalls we experienced including bullying.

  2. If she can’t put her name to it, ignore it. I notice those reviewers who left their names, some of which as an autism activist I recognise, are all positive. Personally I doubt whether “Mom” has any experience of autism and I suspect her only experience of bullying is as the one dishing it out!

      • When I was a child no one knew about Aspergers, we just got bullied for being different. I am disturbed that even now so much bullying is dismissed as just childish behaviour, or worse, part of growing up. When one is already set apart from one’s fellows bullying can lead one to see isolation as a natural lifestyle choice and can colour the whole of someone’s life. I am on your side because I don’t want to see anyone else’s life blighted by bullying.

  3. I am so sorry that reviewer failed to gain any insight and understanding of a young girl and her family and their efforts to discover the truth…the truth about the inadequacy of diagnosis, the inadequacy of schools to deal with bullying and a view into how adults and kids contribute to the destruction of spirit. Your novel communicated this journey so well and should be so helpful to students, staffs and parents.

    Please remember that the reviewer is anonymous, someone who hides under the cover of “no name”, an ally of oppressors.. As fellow bloggers, we know that anonymous commentators are trolls. “Mom” could be anyone, “Mom” has only written one review.

    Genuine people leave constructive criticism with praise and suggestion. That was not “mom’s” intent. I would certainly be suspect. As fellow bloggers we live in a dangerous world and I have people who vehemently disagree with my views. I respect difference if it has a name because a name provides a platform for discourse.

    We all have our trolls, please do not let it deter you from your message, your mission and your writing. The book was great, the message and the mission are laudable. Anonymous trolls are ….. Keep you work going; we’ve “got your back.”

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