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My Daughter Is Not 'Grumpy,' She's Autistic


I couldn’t tell you how many times people have commented my daughter, Beans, has a “grumpy” disposition. I’ve lost track. It feels as if it happens daily, really. But the thing is, she isn’t grumpy – she’s almost 3 years old, she’s a toddler, and she’s also autistic.

If you knew she was autistic, you’d know she doesn’t get “shy” around strangers, she actually struggles socially.

If you knew she was autistic, you’d know it takes her a long time to warm up to people.

If you knew she was autistic, you’d realize trying to get her to give you eye contact or say hello is really distressing for her, and you’d back off.

If you knew she was autistic, you’d know it takes her about half an hour to decide on what item of clothing to wear every morning — despite having a wardrobe full of clothes. She only regularly wears about eight items.

If you knew she was autistic, you wouldn’t use the hand dryer right beside her in the public toilet and you wouldn’t mow when she was around.

If you knew she was autistic, you’d understand why she likes her food divided up sometimes.

If you knew she was autistic, you’d be compassionate and understanding when you see me carrying her everywhere — because her legs tire easily, and they hurt.

If you knew she was autistic, you’d know if the morning routine is deviated from in any large way without warning, she has a difficult time adjusting.

If you knew she was autistic, you’d know how much thunderstorms terrify her.

If you knew she was autistic, you’d know she completely falls apart when she’s itchy.

If you knew she was autistic, you’d know some shoes can take a long time to put on comfortably.

If you knew she was autistic, you’d see how at peace she was when she was playing in water.

If you knew she was autistic, you’d realize an iPad or an iPod can be a parenting tool — not a display of bad parenting.

If you knew she was autistic, you’d realize she’s an imitator and she’s processing her world through watching and copying others.

If you knew she was autistic, you’d see how lining up things and having collections is super calming for her — not funny or odd.

If you knew she was autistic, you’d know when she’s upset and I’m not cuddling her or touching her it’s because she doesn’t like to be cuddled or touched when she’s upset, it’s not because I’m a bad parent.

And if you knew she was autistic, you would know when she smiles it’s authentic; when she laughs it’s from the heart.

When you see her for who she is, hopefully you’ll realize she is not “grumpy.”

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