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)
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;
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.
*For the last time I was embarrassed by Bratty: