Dear Corrie Pikul,
Obviously, you must be brilliant because you write for Oprah.com. And that brilliance is further illuminated in your word choices for your title (or perhaps I should blame your editor?):
And let’s see, number three of the “weird friends” are listed as “the obsessive.” And brilliant Pikul (who shall henceforce be called p.u. just because I have that sort of sense of humor) quotes another brilliant person, a Ph.D. named Matthew Goldfine, who is a clinical child psychologist at Columbia University Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders. And this brilliant quote from the brilliant Goldfine is that “he often hears parents try to diagnose other people’s children with psychological or developmental disorders like obsessive-compulsive behavior, autism, or Asperger’s syndrome.” Scary, scary. Children with mental problems! But, Goldfine, tells us, it’s okay! Do you know why it’s okay? “It’s not contagious, and there’s absolutely no harm to your child in hanging out with another kid who has one of these psychological diagnoses.”
Whew! Thank god Goldfine and p.u. were there for us! They’ve told us that we don’t have to revert to the turn of the 20th century (and earlier and later) where people with such obvious disabilities should have been locked up and shunned for fear of catching their madness.
So thank you, p.u., and thank you, Goldfine, for helping us know that it’s okay that we as parents don’t like these “weird” disabled children and their “creepy” behaviors. (Yes, that’s a quote – p.u. actually referred to those with disabilities as creepy! Score one for being afraid of those who are different!)
Seriously, isn’t there a push right now to get rid of bullies, not give them more fuel for their fire? Where is the editor with any common sense who would have edited the hell out of this article and made sure that Oprah.com wasn’t responsible for calling my autistic son creepy?