There comes a time when you just want one easy day. Whether it be a trip to the grocery store or just running through the bank, everything doesn’t have to be a big ordeal. You can be cruising right along, ticking your errands off the list and then you run into the judgmental person who can stop you in your tracks.
Turning into Momma Bear!
I try to ignore these folks who stare, comment and shake their heads at a particular behavior, and I fully admit I am not perfect. But it’s so hard!!! I flip into “Momma Bear” mode.
Most of the time, I feel, the people doing the judging, don’t understand. It’s ignorance, not really disapproval – so why not give these folks a clue. I’m not talking about stopping them to give them a litany of things that upset a child with autism, just a hint that they are in the presence of a Super Hero.
Looking Beyond the Label
Most people don’t like to label children, including myself. Kids with autism are so much more than their invisible disability. We’ve been lucky that our child happens to think his Super Powers are pretty darn cool and so far likes being able to hear, see and smell things us mere mortals miss. I’ve been able to use this to our advantage when heading into new settings or establishments.
Educating the Public
- To answer those puzzled looks, head shakes and eye rolls from the general public, one of us will wear some sort of Autism gear. Whether it is a Autism Speaks T-shirt from a recent fundraiser or a [easyazon-link asin=”B006BDY7D6″ locale=”us”]simple puzzle ribbon[/easyazon-link], people usually catch on pretty quickly. [Cafepress.com has great stuff.]
- I like a lot of the [easyazon-link asin=”B00666WEHY” locale=”us”]jewelry that’s in the puzzle piece shape[/easyazon-link] and the keen observer will be clued in by just a tiny sparkle.
- Jake’s new favorite T-shirts say “[easyazon-link asin=”B0079L5922″ locale=”us”]Autism is my Superpower![/easyazon-link]!” My favorite is a sweatshirt says: [easyazon-link asin=”B007MI4U04″ locale=”us”]”Got Autism?” [/easyazon-link]
- My other favorite trick is to [easyazon-link asin=”B004BA0JJW” locale=”us”]“card” people[/easyazon-link]. A while back I made up business cards that introduce Jake and explain how just leaving his house can cause him to make funny sounds and become very anxious. If people are really driving me nuts, we’ll have Jake hand them a card as we leave. It shuts them down in an instant.
- You have to understand that there will always be those people who don’t get it, don’t want to get it, and even if they do get it will still judge your family. To them, kill ‘em with kindness. I remember when Jake was a toddler and I would catch people watching us, I’d prompt him to say, “Hi pretty lady.” A kind compliment, no matter how mad you are, can go a long way and changes their entire attitude towards you and your child.
Be Proud to Parent a Super Hero
It is sad that we need to go to such measures while dealing with our special needs to but lower your expectations. Don’t expect the public to be kind and understanding, especially if they’ve never met a child with autism before. Take the opportunity to educate gawkers, stand tall, and be proud of your child. Not everyone can parent a Super Hero… we were chosen for a reason.