Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A mother of an autistic child takes a stand against Donald Trump


The other night, I saw a new ad for Hillary Clinton's campaign. It features Jennifer Kohn, a Republican who has a son, Max, with autism. She noticed that it's not uncommon for kids with autism to flap their hands. When she saw Donald Trump making that gesture in jest, she found it "completely disqualifying."


Last November, Trump came under fire for seemingly mocking a New York Times reporter with disability at a rally in South Carolina. The journalist, Serge Kovaleski, has a condition called arthrogryposis that affects his joint movements.


Trump has said that he was being "expressive" although the language he used implies something else: He referred to the New York Times reporter as "the poor guy" (because he has a disability) and "you gotta see this guy" (because he has a disability).  


Last Spring, the nonprofit Family Member (I'm on their advisory board) took out an ad in the Hollywood Reporter, expressing outrage that people were so incensed over Trump's mockery and yet, tolerated regular ridicule of people with intellectual disability in film and comedy routines. 

Plenty of people do not take it lightly when others make make fun of those with disability, including parents like me. Earlier this year, when comedian Gary Owen made cruel fun of a cousin with intellectual disability in his Showtime special, disability self-advocates and others spoke out. Eventually, Owen removed the offensive content from the show. 

You can imagine, then, that some of us take it even less lightly when a person who pokes fun at someone with a disability is a presidential candidate. Trump's impulsive mocking of a reporter with disability revealed his immaturity and disdain, just as his unscripted words in that Access Hollywood tape revealed his immaturity and disdain toward women. His behavior was yet one more example of his intolerance toward a minority group.

Hillary Clinton is right to use this incident as propaganda, and raise concern about a candidate for President of the United States who is childish enough to make fun of someone's physical appearance. In contrast, earlier this year she announced a major autism initiative for people on the spectrum.

Mom Jennifer Kohn notes in the commercial that she may not always agree with Hillary but she considers her reasonable, smart and capable of working with people to solve problems. Meanwhile, Donald Trump continues to alienate people with his words and actions. His public demeaning of a respected journalist who happens to move in a different way than is typical created yet another divide.

As the mom of a child who moves in a different way than is typical, talks in a different way than is typical and thinks in a different way than is typical, I'm scared of an America under Donald Trump. I want Max and children and adults like him to be treated fairly and with common decency. I know that no politician can make that happen, but still: A president should be able to model respect and equality for all.

Image source: YouTube/The Right Thing

35 comments:

  1. As a grandmother of a special needs child, I take offense at Mr. Trump's behavior and words here. BUT, I also take greater offense at Mrs. Clinton's behavior and words towards killing millions of unborn BABIES and her murdering of the brave men in Benghazi. These are actions by a candidate, not just words. Publish both sides, Ellen.

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    1. Why should should publish anything supporting something she doesn't agree with? There are no two sides. DT did every single thing that she said. HRC did every single thing that she said. The same certainly can't be said about what YOU said. Every "story" DOES NOT have two sides. DT is not "owed" a positive thing because she said something negative. You might as well say that if there is a truth, its opposite must be equally true as well.

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    2. She's not a political journalist, so don't expect her to be one.

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    3. As a grandmother of a special needs child,I just want to say thank you, PJ. As the saying goes, "Every pancake, no matter how thin you make it, has two sides. One person stated,"she's not a political journalist, so don't expect her to be one." To that I say, you don't have to be a political journalist to be fair and intellectually honest.

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  2. In addition to the examples you mentioned, reports recently surfaced about Trump mocking Marlee Matlin, a deaf actress, and calling her a r-word while she was a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice. As a disabled woman, Trump as president scares me.

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    1. Does it bother you that Hillary referred to mentally handicapped children as "ree-tards"? She did that in Arkansas when Bill was governor. It was an Easter egg hunt and apparently she got tired of having them around and asked when they were going to get these "ree-tards" out of here. I don't believe Jennifer Kohn is, or ever has been, a Republican, just another opportunist making a buck from supporting someone who is even worse than Trump.

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  3. Thoughtful and topical Ellen - thanks for posting in this crazy climate of outrage. I'm still bitter about Trump's mockery of Kovaleski and shocked that so many have just shrugged it off. Trump has shown us who he is and sadly, there are many who are OK with that person running the country. *sigh*

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    1. Here is the real story on this, not the made up one by the media to divert attention from Trumps comments about Muslims dancing in the streets after 9/11 http://www.caintv.com/proof-trump-never-mocked-a-dis

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  4. To whoever "PJ" is above: First of all, I am a life long Republican. I feel that we don't really have great choices this election year, and that's terrible. However, a few things (read: all the things you said) are just incorrect, to put it nicely.
    1: You say she's killed millions of unborn babies. Has HRC had millions of pregnancies that she then aborted?? Did she personally escort millions of women to clinics and make them abort their babies?? The answer to those questions obviously is no. She supports a woman's right to choose. I personally do not support abortion for a variety of reasons, but that is my choice for myself. I do not, and should never have the right to choose for other women. Full stop.
    2. You say she murdered the ambassador and Marines in Benghazi. Did she pull the trigger or beat those men? Maybe she didn't make the right choice, but would anyone else have made a better one? I personally think President George W. Bush was a great President, and that he did the best with what he had to work with. Other people don't see it that way, and have called him a murderer. Just like you are doing now with HRC.
    3. You say you are the grandmother of a special needs child. Is Trump's America where you want that child to grow up? A place where that child can and will be mocked for being different? A POTUS leads by example. Tell me, with his nonexistent morals, obscene speech, and deplorable behavior, is this the example you seek??
    Lastly, with your command to Ellen at the end of your comment to "publish both sides", allow me to remind you what she is too polite to do so: This is Ellen's blog. Not PJ's blog. If you don't care for it, don't read it. It's that simple.

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    1. I agree with you 500% Kaitlyn Oglesby, Tramp, can not be president ever. He is egomaniac, malignant, sadistic narcissist. An individual with nothing but hard towards women. I have a child who was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, he doesn't flap his hands, but in many ways he is different. Tramp's behavior towards minorities, women, and disabled people, is deplorable. Not to mention his incredouble sense of entitlement! . He said it himself many times:he could walk in the middle of the street and shoot somebony and get away with it, he can grab women's private parts and get away with it, all becouse he is a celebrity. Disgraceful, sad, horrifieing. And to make things worst, he has fantasies about dating his OWN daughter. That's the piece of garbage many people want for POTUS. God help us all.

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  5. I don't want this war criminal running the country. I don't want Trump running the country either. I want third party to win.

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    1. Ender-Chan....
      "I don't want this war criminal running the country. I don't want Trump running the country either. I want third party to win." Finally!! Someone who feels, thinks and believes the same exact way I do about this "extraordinary" upcoming Presidential Election, about our only twain choices as candidates!! I do not want Hillary to win.... I do not want Trump to win. It feels like we are on a dead-end street.... Nowhere to run, ain't got nowhere to go. Right? For the first time in my entire Life, I am not looking forward to the end of this LONG Presidential Election.... I'm dreading it. Why? Because it will either be President Trump or President Clinton. Now, you--and I--will probably receive some negative, opinionated, mean replies for these comments, but I do not give a give a damn!! I absolutely agree with you!! ;)
      "Stay hard, stay hungry, stay alive", Raelyn

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    2. Raelyn, I don't like Trump at all, and I'm not the biggest fan of Hillary (personally I like Bernie Sanders) and I actually saw something funny the other day, it was a picture of Queen Elizabeth and it said "Elizabeth ll make America Great Britan again." Though it was almost certainly satire, I'd have little problem if it were true, I'm already a British citizen anyway!

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    3. Mighty Max....
      "I actually saw something funny the other day, it was a picture of Queen Elizabeth and it said 'Elizabeth ll make America Great Britan again.' Though it was almost certainly satire, I'd have little problem if it were true, I'm already a British citizen anyway!" Crack. Me. Up!! I consider myself an honorary Brit {although I cannot emulate their accent!!} and my dear Blogging Friend, Lynne--who resides on the other side of the pond--has accepted me as such!! ;-D
      "Stay hard, stay hungry, stay alive", Raelyn
      PS. Sometime last week, I wrote a funny, insightful--but mostly funny--journal entry about how if my Hound Dog, "Rosalita", became President of the United States, she would not only be the first female Commander In Chief, but she'd also be the first canine President!! Beat that, Hillary!! Ha!! Oh yeah.... And "Rosalita" would definitely "make America Great Again"!! I was going to send it via e-mail to my dear, dear Friends, S and P, but I forgot.... ;)

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  6. I keep bouncing back and forth about who I'm going to vote for but know for certain I cannot vote for a man who makes fun of people like my daughter, your son, our friend's children. He is such a lousy human.


    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.com

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    1. Please do your homework.
      Trump will stop the waist of tax payers dollar and we will see the resources that liberals only promise. Harry Reid admitted lying about Romney and when confronted he said "it worked".

      "Fucking retards" who said it?
      Do your home work?

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  7. Ellen....
    To quote Bruce Springsteen.... Would I be able to explain what Trump is? Nobody’s been able to do that.
    "Stay hard, stay hungry, stay alive", Raelyn

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    1. Trump is a sensationalist and a mover-shaker. As much as he is honest and up-front about his opinion which I admire, I don't want it to start World War III.

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    2. Ender-Chan....
      "Trump is a sensationalist and a mover-shaker. As much as he is honest and up-front about his opinion which I admire, I don't want it to start World War III." I absolutely agree, Friend!! President Trump.... It is a frightening concept, huh? But, then again, I can also say the same exact thing about Hillary, for different reasons!! ;)
      "Stay hard, stay hungry, stay alive", Raelyn

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    3. I completly agree on the world war 3 point. I have a rather cynical view on it.

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    4. I thought this New York Times editorial did a good job of explaining Trump's personal issues: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/05/opinion/trumps-enablers-will-finally-have-to-take-a-stand.html?_r=0

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  8. It only takes a little online research to discover the truth about the clip of Mr. Trump used by the Clinton-Kohn ad.

    Mr. Trump was not mocking a handicapped/disabled reporter as this commercial claims. Apparently it is beyond the abilities of the commenters to ascertain the truth before applying their small-minded attacks on a decent man.

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    1. Thanks for someone finally speaking the truth. Clinton will do anything, say anything to become president. It is very sad that people will believe the lies she says or they just don't care.

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    2. I am personally offended by this add. I have an autistic child, and I know every one is some where on the autistic scale. There are several levels of autism some people with high functioning autism are geniuses and are almost completely normal. My son has moderate to severe autism yet he is smart. To say someone can't be president because of autism is very narrow minded and offensive. My son will not be used as a political pawn, like this woman's son. While he will likely never be the president, my son is an awesome and valuable little person.

      After watching decades of Clinton corruption the only thing they are fit for is prison. Trump may be over the top obnoxious, but I have noticed he is fairly honest and has quality ideas.

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    3. You're a grown up. We know what we saw. Give me a break, Anonymous. Maybe you should look up the entire clip on YouTube, yourself. He's an 8th grader playground bully. Why do weak GOPers who were bullied as children, admire bullies as candidates for president?

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  9. Don't really like getting political here, but haven't you seen what Hillary said as First Lady of Arkansas? "When are they going to get those f___ing retards out of here?!!" Referencing a group of special needs children at an Easter egg hunt on the lawn of the Governor's Mansion in Alabama.
    Yeah, this is the angel I hope to have as my president...right?

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  10. I actually do not know how to respond to this woman's post, but I have and actual Autistic child(proven by clinical tests). He is Autistic, he shakes his hands, makes me nuts, but that does not make him a problem. My son is exceptional, we have our differences but he is smart (book since)as hell. Sometimes we need to listen to them. He has to grow just like us. It will come. High functional Autism has a place in this world!!! They know Black and White, not gray. That is what we need, that is why so many are afraid of Donald! Mother of an autistic child for Trump, building a business for her autistic son! He has to make it work!!!!

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    1. As a father of a non verbal 13 year old autistic child it disgusts me that Jennifer Kohn would allow her child to be used as a political pawn. In this country that I proudly serviced for 6 years in the marine corps politicians have managed to divide this nation more than ever. It's time to pray people for this nation Big time. 2 chronicles 7:14. So our land can experience healing.

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  11. Does anyone really believe that this Jennifer 'Kohn' was ever a republican? Laughable.

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  12. How did you research to determine the truth? Mainstream media? https://www.catholics4trump.com/the-true-story-donald-trump-did-not-mock-a-reporters-disability/. Is this true?

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  13. Politics not my cup of tea all I have to say.

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  14. Too bad it was a lie. Jennifer Kohn was a Democrat until in 2012 she voted for Romney. Voting for Romney who's actually a Democrat disguised as a Republican once in 2012 doesn't make you a lifelong Republican. Once again the Hitlary campaign lying to the American people.

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  15. I guess this lady's kid would rather live in a world of corruption and an endless wave of Muslims entering this country committing sexually assault and masturbating at your public pool.

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  16. Check your facts people...

    https://www.catholics4trump.com/the-true-story-donald-trump-did-not-mock-a-reporters-disability/

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  17. My child also has Autism. This hand flapping for her means shes excited. This commercial running is completely false. There are plenty of videos showing Donald Trump using these types of hand movements when talking. None related to the disability. Sad that people aren't smart enough to recognize the psychological warfare that is used to get votes in politics.It's disgusting to me that you would use a disabled child to do so. This should be removed from TV and shame on the station running it.

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Thanks for sharing!



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