Comedian Rosie O’Donell took to her personal blog to clarify a tweet she sent out last week where she questioned whether US President-elect Donald J. Trump‘s 10-year old son Barron with wife Melania Trump, is autistic.
In the the initial tweet, sent last Tuesday, November 22, the controversial celebrity attached a 7-minute long video which delved extensively into Barron’s on -stage and public behavior and strongly suggests that he does indeed fall along the autism spectrum.
— Rosie (@Rosie) November 22, 2016
The backlash to the tweet was swift against the former TV co-host of The View, with many calling it shameful to question whether a child who did not ask to be in the public eye had autism. O’Donnell penned a poem clarifying that her intent was not to harm Barron but to open dialogue and advocate for families with autistic children and autistic children and adults and those on the spectrum.
In the poem, titled “what we see and why”, O’Donnell reveals again that her own child has autism:
here is how it went down –
my 3.5 yr old daughter dakota
was diagnosed in september
with HFA – high functioning autism
i have been immersed in that world/reality since
learning – reading – asking questions
it’s all autism – all the time
for the newly diagnosed
as we try to grab onto
anything to keep us standing
the knowledge we r not alone
there r others living this too
when i saw the anti bullying video
that mentioned barron
it spoke to the symptoms many ASD kids have
it was educational and informational
these symptoms so many do not understand
– i thought – how amazing IF
it is true
IF it is true – i tweeted from my heart
it would help so much with the autism epidemic
1 in 55 kids is an epidemic
donald and i agree on that
and not much else
i feel he is a clear and present danger…
Personally, to me, it appears as if O’Donnell’s tweet referenced something I had seen being talked about for weeks now among educators and family and parents of children with autism who have said they could relate to Barron. She tweeted what many had been talking about.
Their position has been like many around the web, if Barron indeed is autistic, it would be a wonderful thing for the Future First Family to come forward with that news as it would help those living with autism and their family raise awareness, funding and more support and understanding.
I think the fact that people took her question as if she is insulting him says something about the ongoing stigma attached to it. The outrage seemed overblown in my opinion. It was as if Rosie had suggested Barron had leprosy or some other horrific condition. Autism isn’t a death sentence or something so terrible that to be accused of being on the spectrum should be seen as such an insult. It’s not an insult.
However, labels stick and labels hurt and harm.
A family member recently suggested that my child might have ADHD simply because my daughter was giving this family member a lot of unwanted hugs during an event. She probably was joking but still it bugged me. Now I know that an ADHD diagnosis is relatively harmless and is very common. That diagnosis as well shouldn’t reflect negatively on children with it, but it too carries stigma and no one likes to have an attachment placed on them or their child especially by non-medical personnel who isn’t responsible for the professional care to the subject child being slapped with a label, so I get it.
But, I think it is best to weigh the intent of the person doing the labeling before jumping in O’Donnell and Trump have a long history of exchanging insults and naturally, it appears as if the tweet had malicious intent and was just part of an ongoing battle. If it is to be flippant, to harm or to ridicule then no,they don’t deserve the benefit of the doubt. I agree with those that say Barron, as with the Obama daughters, Sasha and Malia, Chelsea Clinton and the Bush twins, should be off limit to the press and the public.
That video had me tearing up and I appreciate that the future First Lady is taking her child’s needs first by insisting he continues his schooling through the school year, albeit at the exorbitant cost of $1M + daily to the city of NYC, Secret Service that will have to rent apartments from Donald Trump in the Trump Towers and soon Federal Tax payers through the first half of 2017.
At the end of the day, we all should lay off young Barron and let the family decide when, if and whether it wants to address any speculation surrounding Barron.