Rosie O'Donnell's Explanation for Suggesting Barron Trump Is 'Autistic' Doesn't Cut It


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This brash celebrity mom is known for speaking her mind, but this time she's gone too far. After attempting to "out" 10-year-old Barron Trump as "autistic," Rosie O'Donnell is receiving well-deserved backlash. Her Tweet asking "Barron Trump Autistic?", complete with video, seems more like a shot at the president-elect than a way to raise awareness for the spectrum disorder that impacts millions.

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It's certainly not a secret that there's no love lost between the single mom and the Donald, but calling out a child and suggesting he has a diagnosis with absolutely no proof other than some video clips is unconscionable.

On her website, O'Donnell attempted to explain her Tweet, claiming that claims that she's gained insight into the condition, which is marked by social and communication challenges, because her 3-year-old daughter, Dakota, was recently diagnosed with high-functioning autism.  

She wrote, in verse, 

... as we try to grab onto

anything to keep us standing

the knowledge we r not alone

there r others living this too

when i saw the anti bullying video

that mentioned barron

it spoke to the symptoms many ASD kids have

it was educational and informational

these symptoms so many do not understand...

More from CafeMom: 'Why I Haven't Told My Kid He Has Autism': 12 Moms Speak Out

"IF it is true," she added, "I tweeted from my heart ... it would help so much with the autism epidemic"

While there's absolutely nothing wrong or shameful about being on the spectrum, O'Donnell is basing her knowledge of the condition on her daughter's autism. As many within the special needs community will quote, "If you've met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism." In other words, everyone is different and no one should presume to be an expert on the disorder based on her interactions with one individual.

Whether Barron is on the spectrum or not (and if poor clapping warrants a diagnosis, I am right there with him), it is not O'Donnell's business nor her duty to tell the world. That decision lies solely with Barron and his parents, Donald and Melania.

Not surprisingly, O'Donnell came under fire by those who questioned her motives.

More from CafeMom: Autism From A to Z: Everything a Mom Needs to Know

Whether you love Donald Trump or despise him, there's absolutely no reason to call unwanted attention to his child. A 10-year-old boy who's been thrust into the spotlight and has probably heard things said about both of his parents that no child should have to endure at that young age might not know exactly how to appear polished at every moment. I know my boys at age 10 would have been pulling on my sleeve and begging to leave those auditoriums and stages. 

While most parents will agree that statistics are alarming -- a recent government survey of parents suggests that 1 in 45 children, ages 3 through 17, have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder -- and continued research into the condition is needed now more than ever, O'Donnell's strategy is extremely misguided. 

More from CafeMom: Meet Barron Trump: The First Son to Live in the White House in More Than 50 Years

If Barron is on the spectrum, there's absolutely nothing to be ashamed about, and I'd argue that his ability to stand under bright lights and in large crowds would make him something of a superhero among the autism community.

But, whether he is or isn't, it should be his and his family's choice to share that with the public -- not the decision of someone who doesn't even know him. 

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