Kathleen Remembers Patty

Patty meant so much to me. She was so direct and could be so articulate, and so much of what she wrote was immediately useful to me in learning to understand my life and many of the people in it. My younger daughter and niece are all indisputably Aspie; quite possibly other family members, too; and although I'm not diagnosable, I can confidently call myself a "BAP" (my cute acronym for "broader autistic phenotype").

Patty knew how to open a can of whoopass when it was called for. I remember one time when I ranted a bit on the St. Johns list about how disrespectful it was for parents to explain every disagreement with someone on the spectrum by pointing to the ASD person's "disorder" and supposed "lack of empathy." Several of the moms got all defensive about it, then Patty came in and said, "What I see is a bunch of you lining up on one side of an argument in order to make yourselves feel more right, and to hush up someone who says things that make you uncomfortable." Patty was right on the money.

I always got a kick out of the way Patty would get right in the faces of the parents on the St. Johns list and remind them, "Yes, there are ASD adults out there, and I'm one of them, and vaccines had nothing to do with the way I turned out, and my life may be rough sometimes, but it's not half as horrible as you might think, your kids will grow up, get real and deal with it. I had to, and so did my kids."

I went a tailspin yesterday morning when I learned of her death, and the only thing I could do most of the day was sit in front of the screen and read her writing and cut-and-paste and think about her.

She is missed by many, many people. What a woman. My heart goes out to you and your family.

Kathleen Seidel