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.