A mother who asked other parents to ban their autistic boy from contact with her own son has been shamed (but not named) on social media, after a note she wrote to another mother went viral.
When Lacey Brandenburg’s son arrived home on Jan. 3, he gave her a note that nearly reduced her to tears. When she posted it on Facebook, it created a tsunami of support for her son and outrage at the other mother and was shared over 90,000 times within just 21 hours, with over 117,000 Likes and 60,000 comments.
Brandenburg, from Des Moines, Iowa wrote in her post: “I will not give out names so don’t ask, just note this is being posted to teach people what parents with special needs children face and what they deal with!”
In the post, which is no longer publicly available, she explained that Ashton suffers from “intellectual disability (mental retardation), autism, cognitive disorder and ADHD.”
The handwritten letter followed her son, Ashton, having a playdate with his only other school friend during the Christmas vacation.
The author notes that Ashton had impeccable manners, but explains her concerns that his behavior, such as hand-flapping, and watching cartoons aimed at younger kids may a bad influence on their own child.
“The hand flapping is a concern we don’t want our son to learn to do that!” writes the unnamed mother in the letter. “We ask the boys don’t speak or play together and keep a distance from each other at school.”
“I know he has a disability but we feel his disability may hold our sons level of comprehension life, his communication, socialization, and learning level may be at risk if playing and being around Ashton continues.”
The letter notes that Ashton is “very well behaved” however, saying please/thank you, and picking up after himself.
Lacey Brandenburg Makes Viral Post With A Letter Written About Her Disabled Son https://t.co/8aKyTUbo1m
— OccuWorld ❌ (@OccuWorld) January 5, 2018
“Please keep your son away from ours” the note ends, “so ours are not picking up the idea that playing with toys or watching cartoons younger than his age is ok.
Brandenburg told KCCI that she was outraged by the letter.
“I couldn’t believe somebody would go as far as downing a special needs kid just because he does things a little differently.”
She said she posted the letter to show the kinds of difficulties that parents of children with learning difficulties face.
“I feel pretty good right now. I don’t think I’m in the wrong for posting it,” Brandenburg said.
Many responses to her post on social media praised her for posting the letter, with some saying she should name the other mother.
Many commenters said that the other mother’s child would miss out as a result of the “ban.”
“You haven’t lost a thing here,” commented Gayle Robinson. “That family has lost the chance to have their son interact and understand your son’s disability and have lost the chance that their son will grow up to be a well-rounded boy, as he will likely be blinkered by his mother’s ambition and her horrific attitude towards children.”
“Their son would learn kindness, empathy, and tolerance of those who are different,” said Debbie Cullen. “I would be proud of my child for having those qualities. Some disabilities are of the heart and mind. Much love to you and your family!!”
In her post on Facebook Brandenburg noted that the boy in question was Ashton’s only friend at school. “There aren’t any others,” she said.
But since his mother posted the letter, that’s changed. Ashton told KCCI that he’s made new friends since receiving the letter, and there are no shortage of offers of playdates and support on his mother’s facebook post.