People judging, this is a fact, this is also a part of being a parent. Being a parent of a child with autism and developmental delay is a whole different story in terms of judging.
I had to learn to ignore it, I had to learn how to focus on my children rather than on other peoples opinions and looks thrown my way when my son is simply being himself.
Let me tell you our wee story.
We walk through shopping aisles slowly, my son is vocalising, making various noises, just nothing out of ordinary for us and him. He’s stopping at some point and starting to jump lightly on the spot. A few seconds later, some lady just passed us and stopped looking at my son. I smiled. She was holding the hand of her grandson.
– Why does your boy making such strange noises? –She asked me
– He’s just happy, my son is autistic and this is the way of him communicating it – I replied with a smile.
– I hope this is not contagious? – said women when she pulled her grandson away and started to move away from us, with visible disgust on her face.
This is a real story which happened some time ago when my son was still at the nursery, he was just four. It almost broke my heart. I know that I should ignore it, somehow I couldn’t. It made me think about my upbringing, my experience with my parents.
I was raised by deaf parents, this was my world, nothing unusual I guess. It made me open, none judgmental in terms of being different or disabled. Now, I have a chance to raise a child with severe additional needs and one pretty typical human being. I am proud of my children no matter what.
For me life goes on, I try not to complain too much about it. I prefer to look for solutions rather than focus on problems. It used to break my heart when people look at my son judging or I was able to sense fear or shame. Now, I understand more, I know how my parents felt proud of me when I was able to help them or when I just out of the open talk with them using sign language. I feel so proud of my son, so happy when he’s able to communicate his emotions, needs or desires and I can read those signals. It’s not easy for me to read it sometimes but hey, give me some credit and time. 🙂
Autism is not contagious, but ignorance is.
You can’t read from someone’s face if he’s got autism or any learning difficulties, but before you will judge other people, make an effort to know their story.
We all might have a story which we experience but this not define us and our children. As parents, we might be exposed to trauma, poverty, neglect, illness, anxiety, mental health issues, domestic violence, loss, you name it. We walked in our shoes through life. Our children can be affected by this also. I want to tell you, be kind, give empathy and teach it to your children.
Let us spread love, kindness and awareness. Let’s look for quality in communication with each other. Some of us -parents lost their children, some of us will be life long cares of our children as they will not be able to live independently and this is ok, we are alright with that. Just have some empathy and give us a chance to go by our days without judging us.
Maybe for you, this is not an issue, maybe you don’t give a damn about how people looking at you or your children. Believe me, many parent’s feel heartbroken, down and sad thinking about their own amazing children seen as those strange ones, disabled ones, being looked upon with pity or disgust. Yes, this is still happening, we live in a world full of inequalities.
People can still be living in their own bubbles, full of racism, inequality, injustice, even between regular people with similar background or nationality. Going deeper, judging someone who cannot defend themselves or stand up for themselves or making decisions without taking their opinions in to account. Changes in the system of support for most vulnerable people, cuts and leaving them out on the cold without even listening to their cares and specialists.
We need to learn to give compassion, kindness and being more empathic, can we teach kindness in schools instead of higher math or science? Can we stop making people without compassion and kindness our MP’s? We all getting frustrated, we do, but this frustration will be pouring down into other generations and this is the last thing we should do.
After this accident in the supermarket, I told my son and myself that I will never be broken-hearted ever again because of the ignorance of someone else. Now have I learned to embrace any behaviour of my son, I had to learn it, get in tune with him. I became a better dad, a better human, less judgmental, more kind. When I see another person making strange noises on the bus I smile kindly,
I know what parents/carers might feel. We were there too.