(originally written & published on February 4, 2012)
Since I started my Autism Daddy Facebook Page back in April 2011 and this blog in September 2011 it feels like not a day goes by where somebody doesn't post something or make a comment about how some stranger made a snide remark under their breath about their parenting skills or made some direct rude comment to the parents or even directly to the kids.
And I must admit that I read these and of course it makes me sad, but it also makes me feel that somehow this is the one part of our autism experience where the grass is greener on our side.
Somehow I can honestly say that we almost NEVER come across people being rude or murmuring comments under their breath... and I honestly don't know why.
As I've written many times, we take Mr. Kyle everywhere. We try to bring him into all sorts of situations from restaurants, to movies, to Yankee baseball games. Once in a while he surprises us and is a complete angel. Most times he will hold on for as long as he can but let it be known that he's not thrilled with the situation. And sometimes he will have an all out meltdown and we need to leave the situation immediately.
But I've almost NEVER had people say anything or whisper under their breath. Sometimes they stare. And that can be a bit irritating. But 9 years back I would have started too. When we have the service dog with us they definitely stare... and sometimes ask questions which is understandable. Since we've had our autism service dog (almost 2 years!) I can count on one hand the amount of times I've seen another service dog out in the world, for a blind person or an asd person. So yes they are kinda rare. So when you see a dog attached to a flapping kid in your local supermarket it's kinda surprising and people stare and kids ask questions and that can be annoying...
But again it's not people being mean or rude or nasty which is what I often read happens to many of you.
So it's got me thinking why this is??
Why are people not just out and out mean or rude when they see Kyle being loud, or melting down, or playing with his saliva, or kicking the back of their chair at the movie theater?
Is it because he's so darn cute and handsome? The wife feels like that goes a long way in life... :-)
Is it because we live in a big metropolitan area and folks are more exposed to people with disabilities?
Is it because it's kinda obvious from that Kyle has autism within seconds of seeing/ meeting him? Maybe it's harder for the kids who are more typical? Maybe when they have a meltdown it seems more shocking and out of place to the outside world. And they think it's a spoiled kid?
Maybe it's just because he is only 8 years old and people will make mean/ rude comments when he's 14 years old and still licking the pole in the supermarket?
Or maybe people are being mean/ rude/ staring more than we even realize but we are so wrapped up in our own world that we don't even notice that people are being a--holes?
What normally seems to happen to us when we are out in public with Mr. Kyle is people will stare for a second or two and then most seem to get it and look away cuz they don't want to be caught staring like a schmuck, or they give us a knowing smile/ smirk/ nod as if to say "I get it. My (brother/friend/cousin) has a kid just like that." Or they give us a quick pity look.
Kids will stare sometimes...sometimes alot... and my wife will snap them out of it by saying directly to them "Hi how are you?!" and they get all shy and scurry away. Or sometimes they will ask direct questions "Why is he making those sounds?" and we will explain. And we've found that very often kids are staring more out of concern ("why is that kid crying") than out of "that kid is weird".
But all in all we rarely if EVER run into people who are just mean or rude or a--holes. It seems to us that for the most part people are inherently nice & polite & patient with us and sometimes go out of their way to make us feel welcome...And sometimes they are just indifferent & non-plussed. Sometimes I think because we live in a big metro area that people are so busy and in their own world that they barely even notice us... which is fine by me and is sorta the biggest compliment of all! :-)
Here's a perfect example of people being out of their way to be nice. We were at a restaurant for breakfast a few weeks ago and Kyle was melting down pretty badly. So bad that the wife took him out to the car so I could finish my breakfast in peace. And then I was gonna go out and let her come back in to finish eating. Well the waitress came over and went out of her way to say that we weren't bothering anybody and that we didn't need to take our son out. I thanked her big time but explained that it was better for him if he left, but I appreciated her saying that.
How did we get so lucky? Where are you guys hiding all these mean people? Actually don't tell me cuz you guys can keep them.
If you're gonna shop Amazon anyway, can I ask that you enter Amazon by using the search box above or by going to http://www.amazon.com/?tag=a050ef-20? This way I can make a little money to help pay for my son's after school & weekend therapies. This blogging thing has been awesome & life changing for me... but I must admit that it's taking up a lot more time than I ever thought... so if I can make a few bucks it'll make it easier for me to justify....Love you all! Thanks!!