My name is Karla Fisher and I am writing on behalf of a little Autistic child name Ayn. She was taken from her Father and put in a Foster care home in Canada several months ago. Evidence suggests that Ayn is perseverating on returning to her Father’s care and that she mourned for weeks about being separated from him. Derek, (Ayn’s Father) began an outreach to the world in an attempt to get his daughter back. And that is why I now write.
My name is Karla Fisher and I have Autism too. I am speaking to you from inside of the body of a person affected by the same disorder that plagues Ayn. I am telling you how I perceive her feelings to be and asking you to understand that what the medical field knows about autism today is far less than what they do not know about it.
Derek Hoare has refused to visit his daughter Ayn and has stated his reasons. I have a bit of a different slant on the story and I am writing this letter to add my perspective on this topic. My hopes are that it clears up any doubt as to the sanity of this request. Ayn has obviously been traumatized by this sudden removal and she cannot possibly understand it on any logical level. (I am in the top 2% of all IQs in this world and even I don’t understand it) Ayn does not have the ability to reason or abstract as you guys do. She thinks in more binary terms. She will not ever understand that her Father can only visit her right now. She will instead see that she cannot have him after he is made to leave. It is a black/white thing folks. This is not about routine nor her being stubborn nor her needing to learn a lesson. This simply will not make sense. And all those “words” that you use cannot help. She will simply not get it.
A visitation will invoke meltdown scenario upon the Father’s departure. If Ayn has suffered enough trauma to have PTSD symptoms (we can reasonably conclude this with 18 straight days of crying) then, the meltdowns become PTSD trigger points or episodes. Science tells us that it takes 50 positive experiences to get rid of just 1 PTSD episode. If Derek and Ayn are made to visit multiple times, the damage could be very long lived for both of them as they try to get over PTSD symptoms. Remember too that each instance of these meltdowns results in physical harm to the ASD person which can result in long term physical damage. If Ayn were a Neurotypical child, these visits might actually have benefit but as a person with ASD they will be damaging.
Given this information does it logically make sense to make THIS the time that we teach this child a lesson?
Does the benefit of an unsupervised visit really outweigh the risk of this child’s physical health?
Is there an alternative solution to putting this child through the torture of having her Father taken from her again or again and again?
I understand that policy and rules exist but please understand that these policies were written for Neurotypical people without the concept of how a person with ASD might view this situation or the possible outcome. Given the circumstance I suggest that now is not the time to be right but rather to get it right. Visitation (especially multiple ones) where the child is pulled away from her “obsession object” (her Father) will cause more harm than good.
I have been in contact with a few other Autistic Advocates/people. John Elder Robison has agreed to sign documents in Ayn’s behalf. I am prepared and able to contact ASAN members to ask for their support as well. I believe I can get a number of very respected and reliable Autistic people to agree that this child needs to be given a break from policies in this case. I live in Portland Oregon area and am just a day trip from this family and will gladly travel to speak to anyone who has any doubt to the validity of these statements as well as be expert ASD witness.
My BIO can be found here…
I currently teach Doctors, OTs, SLPs teachers and caregivers about ASD. I am slated to be featured in Temple Grandin’s next book as an ASD role model. My name is Karla Fisher and I speak on behalf of this child who does not have these words.
“In order to walk in my shoes, you must first remove your own.”