May 22, 2014

from Facebook
from Facebook

Dear Ms. Braxton,

I have recently read an article about the release of your new book “Unbreak My Heart” where you talk about your strict religious upbringing as well as your son’s autism.

The article states the following “Toni Braxton said she believes God’s payback for her previous abortion was to give her son autism. In the singer’s new book she opens up about an abortion she had before in 2001 before she was married. Braxton said the abortion has haunted her through the years and caused her to wonder if her second son’s autism diagnosis was her punishment for the procedure. More than anything, Toni says, she is ashamed of herself for going through with the procedure.”

I have to say that I was extremely shocked and disappointed with your comments and your choice of words.

I fundamentally believe that every human being regardless if they have special needs or not, deserves respect, with the preservation of their rights equally respected.

I’m twisting these words around in my mind “autism, punishment from God” and I cannot in any form see how this is not hurtful and so disrespectful towards your son.

You simply cannot make such impertinent comments regarding autism without directly and indirectly hurting the autistic individual.  Autism cannot be divided from the person.  When someone says that autism is a burden, they are in essence saying that the autistic person is a burden as well because they have autism.  When one says that autism “sucks”, then the autistic person “sucks” as well because we cannot remove the autism from the person.

If we are to advocate for autistic people, as you advocate for your son, then we must be consciously aware of the words we choose when speaking because too often these words are hurting, discriminating and disrespecting the very same people we claim to be advocating for.

Your son will one day read these words that you have published for the world to see and he will view and understand that your definition for his presence here on earth as a punishment towards you rather than a gift.

Regardless of your religious beliefs, autistic people were not born out of God’s wrath nor were they born out of punishment for past sins and indiscretions.  We all have a purpose here on earth, as does your son.  His autism has nothing to do with it.  A life is a life, period.

Autism isn’t easy, I know.  I have two autistic sons aged 18 and 14 but one thing is certain; they are a far cry from being a punishment in my life.

As parents it is our responsibility to ensure our children have a solid foundation on which to build on.  They require and deserve a proper education, modified to fit their abilities and strengths.  They also need confidence, love and nurturing in all that they do.  They must grow up with the knowledge that everything they do has meaning, value and a purpose here on earth and that not one person is more valuable than another.

And this is the most important part; they must always believe in their heart and in their soul that their autism doesn’t make them unworthy; that different does not equate to less-than.

Ms. Braxton, you are a public figure that attracts many loyal fans and media attention.  I wish you would have been more positive in your message regarding your son’s autism, regardless of what you may have gone through in the past.  Your message could have been an inspirational turning point for many families struggling with autism.

Your words were offensive to my children and to all autistic people and their families.  But above all, and THE MOST IMPORTANT, is that your words will forever be hurtful to your son.



About Linda Mastroianni

LindaLinda Mastroianni is founder of Speaking Autism Canada, an autism advocate, and a stay at home mom with two boys. Her younger son, Emilio, is on the Autistic Spectrum. Linda on Facebook and twitter  Linda says she created her blog with the intention of helping and enriching the lives of Montreal families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

The original post from her blog is  here

Opinions expressed by Autism Daily Newscast Contributors are their own.

About the author 

Linda Mastroianni

Linda Mastroianni is founder of
She is a certified life coach providing consulting services on many issues such as special education, life skills, transition into the workplace, aging out of the school system, employment programs and much more. She is also a contributor for Huffington Post Canada.
You can reach her at or

  • Clearly you haven’t read the book, Toni said she BELIEVED (past tense) you have no right to judge her for the way she felt at that time Toni leaved a tough life coming up she loves her kids to death!

    That is also your problem DON’T twist her words around because now that’s just lies!

    Read the book and stop following what the blogs say! Hate when someone assume and come to conclusions like you know her whole life!

    You must don’t know she’s the ambassador for autism speaks, she’s a spokes person!

    If she didn’t care or showed so much “disrespect” as you call it towards people with special needs she wouldn’t be so into the autism awarness !

    Don’t come to conclusions and say anything about her child that’s just disrespectful on your behalf!

  • Thank you Catherine C very well put.
    People need to STOP twisting her words and this were her feelings so who are you to say her feelings were wrong Toni is So brave and courageous for opening up 2her fans and 2people like y’all who twist judge and try 2say negative. Things I couldn’t imagine how difficult that had 2b 4her and had people like y’all would had continued on reading you would have caught the part that reads About where she has come to learn God is more of a healer than a judge. That’s a very common feeling as a mother whom has had a religious upbringing to have those thoughts I myself had the same thoughts about my son I thought things I had done in my past was my punishment for my son having some health issues and behavioral problems so Toni was not and does not think her son is a punishment if you had read the book instead of taking from b blogs n comments of those who didn’t read the book either her children are her world. When you first find out that your child has a diagnoses or a health issue every thought and feeling as their mother runs through your mind and you have every feeling run through your body also it’s called being a human and a mother.

  • I agree with you whole hearty she said she use to feel that she was being punished that was before she got educated she seek counselling for her and her son stop trying to turn this around to make toni feel bad hell everybody wonder why when they are face with challenge especially when it come down to your children now as far as that letter is concern you need to rewrite and apologize because you are so very wrong toni has wrok very hard with autism speak and with the lupus foundation I was diagnois with lupus and I wonder why me to until I strating watching toni struggle and how brave handle her struggle it made my struggle a lot easier thank you ms braxton and may god bless you and your family I will be buying your book I buy your new cd and it amazing dont let no one get you down you are a wonderful as well as wonderful women

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}


    October 18, 2020

    Adama McCullough Adama McCullough from Barrow -in -Furness

    August 21, 2020

    Anna Kennedy Anna Kennedy Online carried out a

    August 10, 2020

    From Facebook International Women’s Day, Saturday March 8

    June 11, 2020

    Jenna Coleman, Roxann and Peter Capaldi Via

    April 22, 2020

    by guest contributor Lynda Flood There is a

    January 17, 2020

    Autism Women Matter Autism Women Matter UK –

    November 2, 2019 Cheryl Gillan MP for Chesham and Amersham,

    September 6, 2019

    Anna Kennedy Anna Kennedy OBE will be meeting