Then there are the days that aren't so good. Days where, despite your (and your child's) best efforts, things don't go as well as you would like. If you are lucky, you will find yourself in a situation that you can exit quickly. If you are not lucky, well, it can get very ugly.
But as I said, if you have a child who has autism, you already know and understand this very well. And chances are, if you see another child doing something strange in public, you are not as quick to judge.
Unfortunately, most people are not quite so understanding. There have been many examples latest such as mothers getting kicked off planes or being ordered out of restaurants that demonstrate that even moderate behaviors are not well tolerated by the general public.
These are not isolated incidents. But more importantly, if you look at the sort of comments that these stories gather, they are mostly of the "bad parent" sort where the children's misbehavior is not blamed on the autism but rather is blamed on bad parenting skills.
But such is life when your children have autism. Most people are simply not going to be able to understand what it is like until they have experienced autism first hand. The good (and bad) news is that, at the rate autism is growing, there is going to be a lot of understanding going around in the decades to come.
What is completed unexpected, at least to me, is when the people who should know better don't get the point and join the general chorus in blaming the parents. I am talked about the "aspies" who claim to have a form of autism and yet seem to be unable to understand the difficulties that it can cause.
Take for example this thread on wrong planet where the poster is complaining about the actions of a father -
Some Dad came back with his son, and asked if we could refill his cup of ice cream cause he dropped it.
Now, actually we have to, or else they'll complain, but we gotta push the illusion that we won't, or they'll all be irresponsible...at least more so than they already are.
Anyway, the guy said "sorry about that; my son's Autistic".
Right there...I wanted to smack both him and his son. His son looked to be about 12 years old; and no, for those wondering, he was in no way low functioning; he was at the functioning level I was at age 12; definitely HFA.
Now, I know we have lousy coordination skills, but geez....he couldn't hold a freakin' cup of ice cream? And he had to use Autism as the reason for it?
I found that very insulting; and no, I didn't say "so am I"..it wouldn't have been professional.Now, does any parent out there have a problem picturing what happened?
The child knocked over his ice cream cone - most likely due to some restricted pattern that they do - and the father, who has had to endure countless dirty looks, decides to skip all of the verbal jabs and says flat out, "sorry about that, my son's autistic".
Most people on the other end of that comment will realize that the father is basically acknowledging that he doesn't want to be asking for another ice cream cone and the situation isn't what he would like. Most people would realize that this is a short way of saying that there are other issues here and that he is doing the best he can to deal with a bad situation.
If you have children with autism you know how these things happen.
My children are (almost) always well behaved in public. But if we run across a store that sells rubber ducks or flowers or if a cup of water gets spilled, look out, it can get ugly (if we ever go into a flower shop that sells rubber ducks and a bucket of water spills on the floor the world just might come to an end).
We know that our children don't want to act out in this way but that they can't always help it. So we go out of our way to avoid these situations. But sometimes, things happen that are out of our control and then there are issues. This is where it would be nice for there to be some acceptance and understanding that there are are issues that we are trying to work through - issues that are directly caused by autism.
But this gentleman on wrong planet, an adult who says he has a form of autism, he has no understanding nor any acceptance. He takes one look at the situation and judges that the problem isn't the child's autism. He seems to feel that autism is being unfairly blamed to cover the father's poor parenting skills. And for that matter, most of the other people commenting on the thread seem to feel the same way. There are a few voices of reason, but for the most part the comments are hostile to the father.
Where is the understanding of the problems that autism can cause? Where is the acceptance?
I am used to "typical" people jumping to these sorts of conclusion as they simply don't understand but I would have thought that "aspies" would know better.
I guess I was wrong.