I am sure you have seen it all over Facebook and the news...Light it up blue for Autism Awareness Month. I have a love-hate relationship with it, like many of those awareness months that hit home, and you know how I feel about breast cancer awareness.
It's great to create awareness. Honestly, it is. The sooner I don't have to explain that my son is different, but he wants to be treated like every other friend, the better. I love creating awareness and engaging the curiosity of the young. When they are asking questions, they are showing their openness, and the next move is generally to go over to R3 and play with him. It's as simple and as beautiful as that.
What annoys me are the adults. I try to ignore it but sometimes the looks and comments get to me.
It pisses me off that I have to deal with looks and comments about his behavior. All parents understand this...sometimes kids misbehave. We do our best. If you see a kid throwing a temper tantrum that seems inappropriate, stop and think before you toss a nasty look or a comment. You have no idea what they are dealing with. What if that child has a disability and can't stand the stimulation of a grocery store, but they need milk. Kids with Autism are notorious non-sleepers. You have no idea if that child has been awake at 3 am every day for two weeks and no one seems to have any answers. That mom may be cleaning human waste off of her walls with a regularity that NO ONE should. She may just need someone to say something (anything!) nice.
It's hard enough to take typically developing kids out in public at times.
Those of you with kids know ALL about that.
Those moms dealing with challenging behaviors are often physically and emotionally exhausted. This is the ugly (tough?) face of parenting a child with Autism. The endless meetings where all you hear about are the things that your child CAN'T do. Parents want to see and hear positive things too.
So on that note I want to say thank you!
Thank you to all of the underpaid and overworked educators and the other professionals that work with our kids.
We all celebrate every milestone, however small. I remember the first time that R3 said Mommy (last year), or when he looked at a friend of mine and asked, "What is your name?" Those teachers and therapists email, and send me notes whenever those things happen, because when you have a child with a disability, every small thing means so much.
Awareness of differences will hopefully help at least one person think before they make a nasty comment.
No matter what type of parent/child combo you run across, remember the saying, "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."
I had someone buy me a drink on a plane once when I had the older two by myself.
That was magical.
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