Today I saw a clip posted to Facebook on how people react to kids with Autism who have some “quirky” behaviours. For those of you who have not come into contact with Autism you may think these kids are just naughty, or that their parents cannot control them. You see, you cannot physically see Autism and so many, many people judge all too soon!
This clip brought up many memories of days when I was too scared to venture into a supermarket. You see previously when Jordan was not speaking, his only way of communicating was to scream. Picture the scene…… 4.5 year old child in the trolley (with no physical dissability) screaming, the more you tried to calm him the more he screamed. There were many a times I had wished the ground would swallow me up when I had lots of people staring at me and my child. There were many times I wanted to scream myself or burst into tears but I had to remain strong. One day we even had people coming from all of the aisles to stand and stare at what was going on.
Eventually I tried to avoid the shops and sent my husband instead. When I couldn’t avoid them I had to try and hold my head up and carry on shopping despite the many stares.
One day I remember an elderly gentleman come up to me, amongst all of the stares and say “shame someones having a bad day!” to which I blurted out “Thank you, Im so glad someone has notice how stressful this is and how I am trying desperately to hold my tears in”. He looked at me and with a smile said “Actually I meant him” Today I still smile about this day as that was my turning point. I managed to smile although I wanted to cry.
Recently I had a man swear at me at a shopping centre because my child was having a meltdown. Telling me how ridiculous it was. I was so gobsmacked unfortunately I didn’t answer.
We as parents of special needs kids experience many reactions and its how we deal with them that makes us who we are.
I now pose the question – How many of us have judged people in the past? Not really knowing what their circumstances are? Not really understanding what they are going through or what they are dealing with on a daily basis (no matter what the circumstance)?. And so I challenge you to think before you judge the next time. Wonder what it would be like to be in that persons shoes at that point in time and feel what they are feeling…..and then see if you would still think or react the same.
Thankfully with all of the Autism awareness now there are people who get it! I hope you become one of those and get it…whatever the circumstance you are judging is.