Regarding the April 7 Forum article "They Want Us to Die: You Wouldn't Believe How Many People Hate Those of Us With Autism" by Salene dePackh: Not true, Ms. dePackh.
I say this as a father of a grown son with classic autism and a grown granddaughter with Asperger's syndrome. As a worker in this field for nearly a half-century, I have never met anyone who "hates" or wants people with autism "to die."
I have indeed met many individuals who choose to ignore or avoid those on the autism spectrum, but this does not translate into hatred or a wish for their death.
One can enter any group or individual in a "Google search" -- Democrats, Republicans, Mother Teresa or Billy Graham -- and get the same cruel remarks. Using Internet posts as criteria for such judgment is folly, just as some knee jerkers rush to judgment on the root cause of every tragedy (read terrorist, right-wing, SUVs, guns). Now autism gets its turn in the barrel.
Those of a certain low-level mentality tend to ridicule and denigrate anything they don't understand or appreciate. They lack the guts to identify themselves, so they hide behind anonymous Google search posts and "tweets" rather than expose themselves as members of the unhinged fringe.
Thank God their numbers are overwhelmed by the many well-meaning people in business, government, foundations, health services -- and by the caring people who work with us to help our fellow citizens with autism and other developmental disabilities achieve incrementally higher levels of growth and development.
Nobody really hates or wishes you dead, Ms. dePackh. There is just a tiny, cowardly, anonymous minority that is always out there, resentful that people like you on the autism spectrum are getting more attention and genuine concern than they do. Welcome to our world.
DANIEL A. TORISKY
Autism Society of Pittsburgh
The writer also is secretary of the Autism Society of Pennsylvania.