Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Public Display of Autism (poem by Tina Moreland)

Public Display of Autism
by Tina Moreland

If he falls to the floor, kicking and screaming, because there’s no chicken nuggets, it’s just his way of coping. Be patient, you’ll get your turn to order.

If she bumps her head and starts to hit herself in the face, don’t stare, it’s her frustration. Mom will handle it, she sees it everyday.

If dad is cutting his child’s food, he’s not treating him like baby. He just doesn’t want his son to choke.

If she ignores your child on the playground, she’s not a brat. She’s just not good at social interaction. She would love to play with your child, she just doesn’t know how.

He may be to big to sit in the shopping cart, no, he’s not lazy. He wants to run around, but his mom needs to shop. She’s not up for chasing him today.

If she has to be carried out screaming, it’s probably because of a meltdown. Be helpful, open the door. Don’t just stare or whisper. No, it’s not because she didn’t get the toy she wanted. If it were only that simple.

Don’t talk to her like a child, unless she is one. Don’t yell, she’s not deaf. She may not talk, but she can understand.

No, it’s not bad parenting. Discipline won’t help.

This is autism, it’s his life. Don’t judge him, he’s not judging you.

I came across this poem yesterday, and thought it is a very poignant and true account of what it is to live with a child on the spectrum. Sadly in our day and age there is so much ignorance about autism. When you experience the stares and nasty comments first-hand, it could be heartbreaking. With time you feel like your are growing a thicker skin and learn to ignore the nastiness, but still there are times when the defensive armour is broken and someone's unkind remark about your child and your apparently non-existent parenting skills becomes excruciatingly painful.
Don't judge us. Don't hurt us. Don't be snobbish in your ignorance and smug about your perfect children. We are good parents.


  1. I agree, I hate the ignorance around this and many other disabilities. I am learning from you and from Amber's sister who is autistic too so thank you for educating us all.

    Penny x

  2. I agree with Penny. I've learnt so much from you, Galia! Ignorance is like poison, but we can decide to be properly informed. BTW Sasha's eyes are two marvellous jewels.

  3. Thank you, girls! We all learn from each other.
    And thank you for being my freinds! xxx

  4. Thank you for sharing this. It means a lot to me and I wish this was sent out to everyone. It can hurt the most when people don't try a little to understand where another person is coming from. Some people seem to refuse outright to think beyond their first thought.

  5. Thank you for sharing this. I have 2 grandsons with autism. I wrote this poem based on my oldest who is now 13. Going out in public was always a challenge. The stares and comments became irritating. I hoped this poem would make people think before just assuming the worst of a child. There is so much judgement.
    Thanks again.

    1. Many thanks Tina! When I wanted to share your poem, I couldn't find you to ask permission. Your poem appeared on several forums and blogs, but nobody knew where it was originally posted. And I wanted to say how much I love your poem, and how true it feels.