A Philadelphia mother was devastated to receive an anonymous note comparing her young son with autism to a "wild animal" and demanding she "do something about that child."
Bonnie Moran is a stay-at-home mom with three sons, two of whom have autism. Her 3-year-old son, Ryan, also has ADHD and pica, a disorder that causes him to have an appetite for non-food items. Moran herself suffers from spina bifida, an opening in the spine that can result in damage to the spinal cord and nerves, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Moran and her husband recently allowed Ryan to play outside in the backyard and enjoy the warmer weather. Moran told Philly Magazine Ryan was squealing loudly at times, which he often does when he gets excited. She said that may have prompted one of her neighbors to write her a nasty letter targeting the toddler.
Moran checked her mail last Wednesday and found the handwritten note, which said the following:
To the parent of the small child at this house,
The weather is getting nicer and like normal people I open my windows for fresh air. NOT to hear some BRAT screaming his head off as he flaps his hands like a bird. I don’t care if it’s the way you raised him or if he is retarded. But the screaming and [carrying] on needs to stop. No one wants to hear him acting like a wild animal it’s utterly nerve wracking, not to mention it's scaring my normal children. By you just standing there talking to him don’t do anything. Besides you look like a moron as he walks all over you. Give him some old fashioned discipline a few times and he will behave. If that child needs fresh air…take him to the park not in out back or out front where other people are coming home from work, have a day off, or just relaxing. No one needs to hear that high pitched voice for hours. Do something about that child!
One of your neighbors
Moran told NBC10 she was shocked when she first read the letter.
"I sat there and blubbered like a little baby because it hurt," she said. "It hurt to the core to be told your son is retarded."
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Moran eventually threw out the letter, but not before posting a photo of it in a Facebook group. She received widespread support right away, and although she still doesn’t know who wrote the letter, Moran takes solace in the fact that one person’s expression of hate led to a show of love.
"The outpouring of people just loving my son and showing what a community is about," she said, "what neighborly is about."