Ignorance is every where, I have learned. I could write an open letter daily to everyone we encounter on a daily basis who gives us a dirty look or snide remark, but I don't have enough time in a day or the energy to do it. So let this be my open letter to all the ignorant people we have to deal with on a daily basis. You all suck. Nothing as simple as just that. You all suck. You suck at being a compassionate person. You suck at seeing past someone's disability. You suck at accepting that someone just might be different from you. You just flat out suck. You especially suck when you make a parent feel like the absolute crap with your ignorant behavior.
Now I get that maybe being sat in a family restaurant next to a family with a special needs child might not be ideal for you. Hell, I get it. We can be loud with our verbal stimming and we also might be distracting with our movements, but that doesn't give you the right to be an asshole. As it has been proven, giving special needs parents or care givers dirty looks or staring at the obvious is not going to help the situation, nor is it going to even cure the person either. Not in the history of anything has being rude and ignorant been a cure for anything that afflicts a person. EVER.
I know that I can't help the opinions of others. People are going think what they want. Pass judgement as they please. As much as I try to brush the ignorance off, it still pains me as I see how society reacts to my children. It down right angers me every single time. It angers me every time someone gives me parenting advice when they don't know my situation. It angers me every single time I get " You need to keep your son at home as he is disruptive". It angers me that people are still out there doing this stuff, when there is so much information to educate oneself, but yet I am the lazy parent who can't control my children in public and they can't even read up on what Autism is. I don't expect miracles, but I do expect compassion. Compassion, like common sense, isn't a flower that grows in everyone's garden, I get that. I am allowed to be angry and annoyed.
We went to a local pizza joint this evening to boost the spirits of our children, after a rough couple of months. While the staff of this establishment were great, the guests however were not. You see, our youngest can be a bit loud when he is verbally stimming. He loves pizza and this place is one of our favorites. And of course this place has ceiling fans, which he also loves. So there is a lot of stuff going on, that would make him stim. I knew as
soon as we sat down that the two older women across from us would take
issue with Little Man as I sat down one of them already had a scowl on
her face. I thought to myself " Ok here we go. Just brush it off" Every
single time he got excited about the ceiling fans her head would whip
around and just rudely stare at him, I stared right back at this woman.
It got to the point where they requested to be moved as my son was too
loud for them. This is a crowded pizza place on a Saturday night. As
they walked by she made the point to stop and just look at my son in
disgust. I told her " Sorry his autism ruined your evening, I'll get
that fixed", watching her stomp off to a different part of the
restaurant. And of course was we are leaving, he gets super excited
about the ceiling fans in the main dinning room and again gets loud,
watching pretty much the whole room, including those two women, turn and
just stare at my family, made my heart sink. Sometimes its very hard to
brush things off, especially when you have a room full of people
silently judging your child. Some of the looks were that of sympathy.
Some were curiosity and some where just rude.
I am not ashamed of my children. They can't help being who they are. I am ashamed of people who know better. Grown ups. People who can sit down and educate themselves. People who know what the word acceptance means. I refuse to keep my children out of society because other people don't know how to react to them. That is not my problem. My problem is when your reaction affects myself and my children. And I have every right to put you in your place.
To those two older women and everyone else who feels the need to make myself and my children bad about themselves, I hope you never have to experience adversity. I hope that no one treats you differently because they don't like some aspect of yourself. An aspect that you can't help having. If you have the unfortunate experience of being treated differently, then I hope you learn from it. I hope that you will grow as person, if you don't then you are going to have a garden full of weeds and not a garden full of different, beautiful flora that awaken your soul.