Stares, glares and everything else.
Do you ever encounter those people that just don’t get it?
I see them almost everyday being a parent of a child that happens to be a High Functioning Aspie. I think that the glares during a meltdown are probably the worst.
For instance this morning we were at the gym and A was upset that things were different than normal and his class was starting late. I could see it in his eyes that things were starting to go south in a hurry. He began to fidget and start lashing out at his sister, who was quietly taking it all in and telling him it would be open soon. I quickly gathered him and his sister up to take them over to a less crowded area of the gym while waiting for the doors to be open.
I got several looks from people. A couple were sympathetic, mostly because they know us and what was about to happen. Others however were looking at me as if I was doing something wrong. I even overheard a woman say her kids would never behave like that, and I should have just spanked him to get the message across. Her friend responded, that she didn’t think he should be allowed in the gym with the other kids, and that he seemed out of control. I wanted to scream, but I know that would just make matters much worse.
Often I am tempted to shame those people that offer the unsolicited advice or just plain mean comments about what I should be doing. I want to get in their face and just set them straight, but honestly I don’t have the energy to fight the stupid all of the time. My focus is where it needs to be, on my children. Guiding them through the struggles of daily life, changes in routine and the challenges of other peoples stupidity.
Unfortunately ,there is no end to the number of people that just don’t get it. Hard as it is for me to accept, several reside in my own family. When explaining our way of doing things to others they usually have one of two responses.
1. They listen to what I have to say, and do their best to accommodate in the future.
2. Advice, ridicule, and just plain stupid questions.
I was told growing up that the only stupid question is the one not asked. Well I beg to differ.
Are you sure he is Autistic?
Yeah, pretty sure. Otherwise all of those trips to the doctor and other professionals were a real waste.
Are you going to sue the maker of the MMR?
No, why? Because vaccines don’t cause autism. My son having Autism and being fully vaccinated have nothing to do with one another.
He doesn’t look Autistic. (That one is more of a statement, but equally annoying)
Ummmmm okay? How should an Autistic person look?
Why do you let him do / get away with that?
I am the first to admit that I am hard on my kids, all three of them. No one gets special treatment, however I do pick my battles just like every other parent in the world.
Why don’t you spank him more?
Well, while I am a believer is spanking I don’t think that spanking my child for something that he cannot control is the way to go.
Since he has issues with frustration, why would you put him in Taekwondo?
Taekwondo has helped to build him up socially, emotionally as well as giving him an outlet for his frustrations. A is really proud of how far that he has come in the last 11 months of TKD. We are proud of him as well. He has worked really hard to get to where he is, and it has dramatically reduced the amount of outbursts that he has. Just because he is Autistic doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t be allowed to participate in life. Besides, who doesn’t like to punch things?
Having said all of that, what I want you to take away from this is for you to please stop judging that child in the store that is having a meltdown. Stop thinking it is just poor parenting. There is a distinct difference between a child that is having a tantrum and one that is having a sensory overload meltdown. Sometimes even as a parent it can be difficult for me to tell the difference, but what I can tell is that the stares, glares and comments don’t help. They just make it worse. Now instead of being able to focus and direct all of the attention that is needed to my child, I have to deal with you too. My job as a parent is hard enough.