where ever you go, my love goes with you

I read a post a few days ago on autism vox. (see http://www.autismvox.com/)
about "how do you tell people that your child has autism?"

In other words, are you out and proud?

"we're here, we're odd, GET Used to it!"

or or do you handle things more discreetly?

I read a beautiful comment written by a Dad on the site
"I guess our autism awareness is that where ever we go, Eleanor goes."
In other words they do not make any special extra effort to prepare the world for meeting their daughter. They just go there, and then go there again. And then I guess either people work it out or don't notice.

They saw no need to exclude their daughter from any of life's experiences. They were proud and they wanted her in their lives, not on the periphery. Nor were they prepared to miss out on experiences themselves.
So everybody else in their community just had to get on with it.

I am probably a bit the same. Although we do limit the opportunities for Bratty to scream the roof off a place. Not because I am embarrassed, mostly I am not.*
We just don't take her places she doesn't like.

But I rarely if ever limit Boo's opportunities to experience the outside world.Even when he was back to biting people in school, (and I took him out of school)I still brought him out shopping, and to the cinema, a party and even on a protest march with thousands of other families. Because I knew the biting behaviour was about school; not Boo.

And people for the most part very accepting. Okay, we stick to the same places generally. That is as much my autism as theirs.
And Yeah, I sometimes get "the look" from someone but I match it with an even meaner one. (and a very sharp tongue if needed)

Until today.
We arrived at the health club pool, Boo and Bratty were doing their usual circuits of the reception area which is full of squashy sofas and coffee tables and they were whooping it up;
The Usual.
I checked in and got our towels and began the round up when I noticed an elderly lady was watching Bratty and making a face. She said something indistinct and I walked towards her, the prickles on my spine standing up and heard " she's really happy isn't she?"

Hmmm. all my soldiers stood down and awaited orders as I processed this. True. Bratty was very happy. She was squealing and hollering and dancing around.
I could have nipped off a quick "yes she is AWT-ISTIC!" but instead for the first time I just smiled a saccharine smile and said Yes. She is"
Then we went through the glass door into the actual swimming pool area where everyone else was squealing and hollering too and we were fine.

I hadn't embarrassed the old wan for making an unnecessary and probably bitchy observation.

A comment she most certainly would not have made if Bratty and Boo had a physical disability.

And I hadn't raised "autism awareness" by justifying the "happy" behaviour.

I just let Bratty be who she was. And I let that lady see that these two kids whoever they are in her mind; are loved enough to be part of whatever I'm doing. And accepted by everyone else.
xx

*For the last time I was embarrassed by Bratty:
http://hammie-hammiesays.blogspot.com/2007/07/what-i-did-on-my-holidays.html

Comments

enc said…
Sometimes it's nice not to pick up the rope, to leave people alone with their impressions. Or mis-impressions.
Sister Wolf said…
You've reached a new level to be able to let that woman's comment pass.

In the past, I have glared and snapped "Behavior issues!", meaning just shut up and continue the transaction.

I have also been walking down the street with a big teenager shouting bloody murder at me, and to the people giving us a look, yelled: "Autism!" Which made my teenager angry but shut him up.

We all deserve medals, but most of all, you do. xoxoxox
Anonymous said…
I'm out and very proud!!
autism does not prevent us going anywhere as a family. I am oblivious to stares if we get them. Maybe that's my autism -that I don't look at anyone else if he plays up - I just concentrate on calming him down. As yet I have not felt the need to inform strangers of his Autism with the exception of the various barbers we tried out. And only then because they were getting annoyed he wouldn't let them near his ears or keep his head still. Glad to say we found one who is fab with him and he doesn't mind going to her (much).

Friends and family knew from our first incling and have been very supportive and for me they are all that matters. Naturally the local school have been told and I have asked them to waive any confidentiality clauses about his Autism to enquiring parents in a bid to raise awareness.

When his sister goes to Irish Dancing I have no choice but to take ds and his bro in with me and they dance like eejits at the back of the hall and no one passes any remarks..

I don't take him to mass for fear that a few yelps out of him would put the oul wans off their countin on the rosary beads. It's a very small church and he loves the sound of his echo - need I say more! So we either take him and get talked about or we don't go to mass and still get talked about for not going. I've learned how to turn the other cheek.
Anonymous said…
By the way forgot to sign off on that post..it's Sesame
Hammie said…
"that I don't look at anyone else if he plays up - I just concentrate on calming him down"
Anonymous, whoever you are That must be why I get told I have a "brass neck". Because I am always more focused on my kids than the stares.

Enc, and Sis; you are so right. Maybe I am finally getting over my anger. So, What step am I at now?

xx
Sister Wolf said…
You are in the post-anger stage!
valmodonovan said…
Hi Hammie,

This reminds me of when my boy was younger and I was SO used to the looks and the comments EVERY time he "misbehaved" in public. there are SO many bad ones when I had to just say "Autistic" loudly...most memorably on a bus in Salou when I said it in 2 languages!! Well, they did all back off!

A couple of sessions in Bray. one was outside the library when I decided to NOT give in cos Mum was 1st down the stairs while he used the ramp. I got the works from him, passers by in cars even slowed down...watching me (calmly) knee him into the buggy. Then one old lady saw us and slowly came over. I'm saying to myself "no please don't" but she did. AND she went to TOUCH HIM on the shoulder...in the middle of a raging tantrum! (major no-no) so he screamed at her "You stupid woman"!! Couldn't have said it better myself!

Then a couple of weeks later, in a coffee shop in Bray that we frequent (we tend to go to the same places regularly!) he cried a lot when we entered. i got us our seats and then decided to calm him down before we ordered. looking out the window etc. Took about 15 mins....this would have driven hubby mad as he would have to order immediately but we were on our own. I might add there had been an incident in school the previous day and he had a black eye so that might have raised a few eyebrows! Anyway, we eventually got our food and all the while I noticed these 2 oulwans watching...one might have been a nun in civvies not sure. I just about had ENOUGH of being misjudged. They were leaving...and the "nun" approached me....my hackles were rising... I'm not gonna take whatever shit she gives me...ENOUGH. She stopped at my table,looked at him and said...."You're a good boy" And to me she said " you're a wonderful mum" Well, I was speechless. What a lovely thing to say to me. She "got it". This STILL brings tears to my eyes. I will NEVER forget that lady.

Just goes to show...we sometimes misjudge the perceptions of others as they watch our kids. However....we're usually right!!!

xx

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