Following last night’s debate, where McCain promised to “care for these young children [with autism],” Charles Fox, a parent and legal advocate for children with special needs, has strong words for the candidate and his running mate:
I have been simmering on a daily basis every time Governor Palin holds up her son Trig as a political symbol. I have to say, that I think all small children should be left out of the political forum, and it is wrong to use an infant with special needs as an emblem of your own personal rectitude. As to her comments that she will be an advocate for children with special needs, this statement rings hollow with me personally. She may be sincere in these statements, but I do not think she realizes how little she knows about what it means to raise a child with special needs, or the daily struggles against deeply ingrained stereotypes about children with Downs and special needs generally.
“[T]he big arena that she has not experienced at all is the fights over so many things in school,” Fox adds. He also explains why he thinks McCain’s appeal to parents of autistic children was cynical and manipulative; the whole post is well-worth reading.
About our First Person series:
First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our submission guidelines here.