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To the People Who Stare, Whisper and Judge When My Child 'Misbehaves' in Public

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I know that in a glance, you see a naughty child.

You see a parent who doesn’t care enough to discipline their child.

You think if you were that child’s parent, that child would never behave that way.

What you don’t see is that our children are in pain. They’re lashing out against a world that assaults their senses. They’re sweet, they’re funny and they’re beautiful and bright. They’re each individuals.

And I for one work with every breath and piece of energy in my being to make my boy’s world easier.

You don’t see the constant communication going on from home to school, the endless phone calls, the meetings, the social workers, the educational psychologists, the sensory toys, the books upon books we soak up in the hope of making life easier, in the hope to making people like you understand.

You don’t see that our children are perfect. Yes, they spin, they talk to themselves, they stand out in the playground. But they’re gentle, they’re sensitive and they’re trying to learn social skills and a whole hidden language that neurotypical people are born with.

You see a naughty child; I see a child who was brave enough to leave the sanctuary of home today. A child who feels like his eyes may explode because of how bright the sun us. A child who covers his ears and rocks side to side because there’s too much noise, and he can’t make it stop. A child whose own clothes irritate him as they scratch against his skin.

I don’t know many people who would be brave enough to leave the house when their world is so terrifying, but our children have to do it daily.

Stop judging, start smiling.

Yes, my child is different, but he’s brave and he’s clever, and if he can face this chaotic world every single day, then he can do anything. He can change this world, and I am here to help him.

But first I need to change your opinions. Our children aren’t naughty, they’re not bad; they’re very much loved. They have amazing parents who would change the world in a instant to make their children’s pain go away.


Originally published: February 10, 2015
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