Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Parents Magazine and Autism: We Will Not Hide in Our Bed Tents!

The fabulous and fierce warrior momma J* of Teaching the Boy (don't even try to guess her will never ever get it...OK, it's Jehoshaphina) brought to my attention a discussion thread on the Facebook page of Parents magazine.

Seems that the April issue is out and there is nary a mention of Autism Awareness Month or autism at all.  From what I could gather, it also seems that this is a pattern and a similar discussion ensued this time last year.

What are you bitching about?  They're
giving you 21 discipline tips.  21!
To their credit, there were only about 3 comments in the discussion thread before a representative from Parents chimed in.  To their discredit, that comment included the following:
 "Our April issue does have an item in the Kids Health section about a bed tent for kids with autism..."
I swear, I almost *almost* felt sorry for her.  A bed tent?  Really?  I had to read the comments that followed while squinting and half-covering my eyes.  Yeah, she got her ass handed to her.

I took a particularly personal interest in this topic, because I had pitched an article to Parents last June and they replied that they had just recently published an autism-related article.

I assume that there is some lead time in magazine publishing, so to me the response implied that they didn't publish autism articles very frequently and that, in effect, their "quota" had been met for the century.  Of course, there is the outside chance that they thought I sucked and were just backing away from me slowly.  Nah.

But after the ass-handing, there was this:

We would like to say again how grateful we are for your feedback and for the reminders in the last 48 hours that autism is not just 1 in 110—it’s about real people and real families. We feel that one of the best ways we can educate our readers and raise awareness for autism is through real-life stories. This is why we want to give you the opportunity to share your story with us and our audience as part of a blog series in addition to our planned articles. If you are interested in participating, please email with the following information:

• Your Name
• Child’s Name
• Living with Autism: Your Family Story (Please keep stories to 500 words so we can include more voices in the blog.)
• Photo of your child/your family (*Optional. We will include one photo if you'd like.)
• Link to your personal blog/website (*Optional.) 

We are very sorry for making you and your families feel dismissed or unappreciated. It was not our intention. Autism is an issue worthy of Parents magazine's attention and we hope we can move forward together to raise awareness throughout April.

So in my best Howard Beale from Network...
I want you to get up now.  I want all of you to get up and crawl out from under those bed tents.  I want you to get up right now and go to your computers and tell them "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore going to tell you my story!"  

Or if you prefer Bluto Blutarsky from Animal House...LET'S DO IT!!!!!!!!!  


  1. totally.

    i sent them something earlier today--but also posted it to my blog. i figured i'd have more luck getting it read THERE than at this mysterious blog location that the mag. is setting up...

    btw--bed tents are one of those things my husband is uptight about and has vetoed. freak.

  2. Thanks for sharing this! That's wonderful that they want to hear about how families are affected by autism. It's about time they crawled out from under the bed tent!

  3. What the heck is a bed tent? Sounds campy. Do they make them king-sized? I'm glad you shared this. I loved the part about reading the comments through half-covered squinty eyes. HAHA. That's awesome. I'm gonna have to cover mine and go read them, too! =)

  4. give 'em hell my friend! Way to go! I personally would love to read what you sent them.
    Give me a bed tent anytime - to keep the kids out of my bed.
    Thanks for spreading the word. I'm so interested to see what they do.

  5. Love it! Look how many awesome Warrior Mamas are apeaking out!

    Look out, Parents Mag... we're getting the word out!!!

    Great post, thank you!

  6. March is Congenital Diaphragmatic Awareness Month. They dedicated an entire issue to that right?

    Yeah. Thought so.

  7. That's awesome! hand it to them woohoo!

  8. That's really great! Way to stick it to the man!

  9. I'm glad they got their ass handed back to them on a plate....

  10. Jeho... Jehoshh.. Oh no wonder she signs her name with her initial.

  11. Weirdly, I think a story I wrote may have been what the editor you dealt with was talking about (an essay about my son ran in August). While the bed tent response is totally absurd, I actually think they do a pretty good job of covering autism--and I'm not just saying that as a contributor. They often include new research, etc. in the blurby front portion of the magazine, and honestly, from an editorial perspective it doesn't make sense to include big features on autism (or on any other one similarly specific topic either) more than once or twice a year. That said, maybe they should run their big autism stories in April! Looking forward to seeing what people post online.

  12. @Jana: I don't think you want to admit that to me...I'm a very vengeful person. JANA!!!!!! *shakes fist to the skies* I knew it was you Fredo. I may have to take out everyone who writes about autism in order to get published. I'd better get started on that...

  13. I've unzipped the bed tent and am tapping out our story to send to Parents. Thanks Lynn for always giving humor to situations that usually just make me sad, mad or batty.

  14. I submitted. Now stop yelling at me.

  15. I was going to comment, "Will no-one speak for the bed tents?" but Jillsmo took that wind right outta my sails in the very first comment!

    Our wonderful Nickel Bed Tent (available at is what enabled my 6-year-old to move out of her crib and into a big-girl bed. Blogged about it in November.

    Send in your stories, absolutely, but pretty-please don't get harsh on the bed tents!

  16. I saw the bed tent thing on Monday and was so confused! I thought it was a misprint, b/c it didn't make sense as being the only thing related to autism. Looking forward to seeing your name in lights . . . :)

  17. I may have beat you out but you are definitely way funnier than me, that's for sure.

  18. Hello-i just recycled that mag yesterday. I subscribed when we first got the boys. The mag has been a total disappointment as they do not cover ANY disability, let alone autism. Regardless, and I am not defendimg them, they did run a double-truck ad from Lindt. Lindt will be donating 10 cents from every Lindt bunny purchase in the month of April to Autism Speaks, I think it was. So, again, not apologizing for them, and there is a major diff between editorial and advertising content! In 24 months, I have seen one small article on autism. I will not be renewing my subscription, but I am planning on buying some yummy Lindt bunnies to decapitate in the spirit of Easter.

  19. I want a bed tent. For me. And I'd like you to throw away the key :)

  20. Have I lately...that I love you?

  21. emailed.... I hope they email me a link to the blog or something???

  22. every time I picked up Parent I found their sleep advice one sided. Everyone knows about cio and that's all parent writes about.... yes I know it isn't autism related, but it makes me think about the kind of parent they are trying to attract. The ones who need quick sleep solutions and have absolute textbook children.... I can see a large demographic... but what mag holds the interesting stuff for parents like us? Any one know one?

  23. I guess we should all give stories to this Parents' Magazine blog... online ... which we - supporting each other -will all read but I wonder who else will come there? Hmmm.

  24. Thank you Lynn..I'm on it.
    And for the record, bed tents suck - well, Sam's does, anyway. We had high hopes for that thing. As it turned out, he *napped* in it once, then beat on it every time he had a tantrum until it was reduced to a sniveling pile of sticks in the corner. I don't know what it was about that thing that made him so angry.

  25. Just sent them my email. I copied by blog post "I Didn't Know What I Didn't Know" just for them. Hope they get flooded!

  26. @mommamia @stagemanager2 @autismmaven and all others who sent in their stories: Thanks! You rock!

    @Kelly: Thanks for the info on the Lindt bunnies...great excuse to buy more chocolate!

    @stagemanager2: I'm copying in from comments on the Parents Facebook discussion of this...Parenting Special Needs magazine at They are only available online. There are several good magazines for autism including 'Spectrum', 'The Autism File' and 'Autism Spectrum Quarterly'. Plus there's 'EP - Exceptional Parent''.

    @Karen: I know...I think that is part of the argument for wanting it to be in the printed magazine. But I think if they get a good response, it will turn their heads.

    @AllieF: Sounds from the comments like kids either love them or hate them!

  27. I just put your button on my blog! :) Because your blog is some kind of awesome!

  28. I am kind of not surprised, unfortunately. This magazine seems to be "owned" by pharmaceutical companies, which don't want to face the vaccine/autism discussion. I am not saying or refuting a vaccine/autism link, just that the drug companies don't want to deal with it.

  29. Most mother and father are far too acquainted with the issue of their children battling when they are sent to bed. It's bad enough at night-time, but getting them to take an mid-day nap is even more intense. And the most severe thing Beds in tents The more you battle, the more they deal with the issue, creating it almost difficult to get them to rest.

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