I am not going to apologize if this sounds a bit snarky and cynical, but the fact of the matter is this, I am just tired. Like other special needs parents, I spend an ungodly amount of time trying to educate people on what Autism is, not only that, but how to accept people who have neurological disorders. I get that the vast majority of people don't seem to care one way or another. But there are times where I just want to scream,
"Listen, Asshole, you have no idea!"
After a full month of Autism Awareness/Acceptance stuff, the general public still has no idea. And the sad part is, is that every single year, we always get to this point. Well, I get to this point. That point where I don't think that any amount of Light it Blue Campaigns, Puzzle Pieces, walks/fun runs are going to make a dent into how society views an autistic person and their caregivers. Like clockwork, it never fails, right after the month of April, we always have at least one news story that hits the national news about an autistic person. Whether it be the mistreatment of one,a child has gone missing due to elopement or a story about the bullying of an Autistic child or that the mass murderer who just gunned down a shopping mall MUST have Autism. News stories chalked full of misconceptions about Autism. Now I get that a lot of these stories are an all year round thing, but it doesn't escape me when I notice the stories that deal with the ignorance of it all, come right after, we parents have spent a large amount of time trying to make this world a more accepting place for our children for a full month.
It never fails, that just being out in public with my children prompts people to bring out their inner asshole. The looks, the whispers, the comments. I know I have written about stuff like this before. But how much effort does it take people just to be a decent person? The answer is zero. I mean what compels someone to tell a perfect stranger that their child is not normal, or that they should try disciplining them a certain way or even flat out tell a person they should keep their child at home because they are disruption the balance of their day? I don't have enough fingers and toes to count how many times stuff like that has been said to me in regards to my children. I have gotten to the point where I feel justified in responding with snark and sarcasm.
"OMG, Did my children's neurological disorders ruin your day? Gee, that must suck. Can't say I have much sympathy for ya..."
Its the butthurt look on their face that kills me. Like they had some sort of right to stand there and judge my child and lend their "Expert" opinions on how to deal with my child's stimming.
"Oh, well I was just trying to help"
Really? So helping is telling a perfect stranger how to live? You want to help? DO me a solid, and just accept that I have a child, who is currently stimming over the bright lights, noise of the place we are at, and that he is perfectly safe and not giving a crap about your judgement. Accept and move on. That would help me out. Or instead of pointing out the obvious, how about tell me my child is cute or has nice eyes?
Listen up, I know most of the people who read my blog, understand my mentality, but for the rest of the world, I am going let you in on a little secret.. Paying Attention? Good.
Autism is everywhere. Look around you. Look at people. Since Autism has a spectrum, you tend to see varying degrees of it. Face it, every one of us experiences the world in our own unique way. Whether it be through a sensory overload or it be our own perception of it. With the raise in number of children and adults getting diagnosed with Autism, you are going to start to see more and more people on this planet who are different from you, in every aspect and that includes the neurological plane.
SO the next time you are out in public and you see a person with Autism or any other neurological disorder. How about not staring. How about not making judgmental comments or offer unsolicited advice. You want to be helpful? Then accept. Accept that this person can't help some of the stuff that is happening to them. But they are trying. They are trying to be part of this world, just as much as you are, but just doing it differently. They deserve that much at least. And if you can't even do that, then maybe it's you who needs to stay at home. It costs nothing to be a decent human being.