Mom Offers Moving Response to Hate Letter About Son With Autism

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Karla Begley, the Canadian mother of Max, a teenager with autism, was the subject of a shocking hate letter earlier this month. Now she's taking a stand.

An anonymous missive from a person in her neighborhood suggested her autistic son should be euthanized, shaking the community and going viral.

How do you fight back against that kind of intolerance and hate?

Begley does not hurl insults or express anger. Rather, she seeks to end ignorance about special needs kids and families, enhancing the public conversation.

She spoke with Love That Max, a site where blogger Ellen Seidman writes about her experience raising a boy (also named Max) with cerebral palsy.

“The first step is having the courage to talk openly about the subject,” she says. "If Max's sounds bother someone, I'd hope that person would let us know in a respectful way."

"Give us a chance to handle it instead of being cowardly about it. I'd rather people bring things out in the open. Sometimes, kids come up to me and ask 'Why does he talk funny?'"

"The parents are embarrassed. But if the mom isn't going to talk properly to a child, or teach him that kids with autism are not contagious, I will!"

"I'd rather kids ask than grow up to write nasty letters about autism!"

Begley also highlights how important it is to recognize that her son, and anyone else out there with special needs, has all of the same rights others do.

"People with special needs are people first," she writes.

"Instead of anger, I wish people would be more understanding. Trust me, if there's behavior ruining someone else's day, it's ruining mine and I want to deal with it!"

"Instead of glares, I wish people would give smiles."

Far from considering her son a burden, as the anonymous letter suggests in the most vile terms, Begley says he is a blessing, each and every day.

"Everyone has their place in the world. Some are meant to hold big jobs. Some people make you happy and smile. Max brings pure joy and love."

"He has taught me to slow down and appreciate life, as seen through his eyes. He's taught us what's important ... I think I'm truly lucky."

"How many moms still have their 13-year-old wanting to sit on the couch, have mommy time and cuddles, and not be afraid to show love and affection?"

Follow the link for more of Begley's talk with Love That Max.


Unless we are not hearing the whole story (a minority of autistic kids can get violent, a few have actually killed people) I think I'd probably be more tolerant of this particular kid than the letter writer, and I wouldn't want to torment a parent who is already putting up with a tough situation. But there are plenty of hypocrites who would claim to value such a child, then express hostility and hatred to the child and parents for behavior that may be impossible to control. At least the letter writer was willing to say what she (?) really believed, rather than just complaining. If I had the choice of having symptoms resembling severe autism or being euthanized, I'd definitely chose the latter. If genetic tests could proved that a child in the womb was likely to have severe autism or retardation, I'd favor aborting it. I hope that if I ever develop Alzheimer's or some other form of dementia, euthanasia will be more available and accepted by that time. A half a life is sometimes worse than none at all.


that indivual is sick and should be in jail for wanting o hurt a child with those words of such hatred. Maybe a day with Charlie will turn her around.
May G-d bless Max and his family


We r all gods children.For someone to have that kind of hate within them i feel sorry for them .to maxs mother dont even give them another thought.god bless u.


I totally understand how you feel, living in Houston, my son is constantly looked at when we shop at stores because he has trouble with textures and eats purees and also says very little words and wears pull ups. He will turn 3 in Sept and is Autistic and moderate on the spectrum. I wished people would want to learn more about it and that these are simply loving people that have something special about them. We are all human and I would be just as upset if I'd gotten a hate letter about my child who is innocent and simply themselves of how God made them. I give us mothers a lot of praise when having a special child because of what we have to go through but things will hopefully get better. I would rather answer peoples questions than be involved in stares and insults so they may understand we are equal.
Best of luck to us all !!!! :)


Isn't it ironic that the true pupose of the letter writer,( getting the kid out of the neighborhood), appears to have been successful?

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