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When People Make Hurtful Comments About My Child on the Autism Spectrum

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Being a parent of a child with autism, or a parent of a child with any kind of disability for that matter, can be very challenging. Sensory meltdowns, limited communication and behavioral issues can be hard to deal with, but regardless, parenting is never easy. I can handle those challenges. What I find very tough to handle is other people’s attitudes toward my son.

When we are out in public and someone says something hurtful, I don’t always have the words to say back at the time. They come to me later on, when I’m doing laundry or laying in bed. They keep me up at night. They are swirling around my head and fighting to come out and get even. They are the things I should have said.

Yes, I should be able to hold my composure and be the bigger person, but at the same time, it is not OK to belittle anyone. As his mother, I am his advocate and I will not stand for it any longer. Unfortunately, I have not always been able to find the right words to come to his defense in the heat of the moment, but now the mama bear claws are coming out.

To the older woman who asked (not actually asked but judgmentally huffed to her husband) why on Earth I would bring him here — here being a restaurant with a children’s play place:

He is a child. Despite any differences, my son deserves to have fun. Kids cry and sometimes they are loud. If you don’t like it, I suggest you go elsewhere. I refuse to sit at home all the time because my son may or may not have a meltdown and cry and possibly inconvenience you in the slightest way.

To the man who mocked my son outside of the hair salon for crying during his haircut:

He may look “normal” on the outside, but he is very sensitive to certain noises and feelings. Haircuts are a very scary thing for him. I am very proud of him for getting through it and doing as well as he did. You may not have known he has autism, but why do you think it’s OK to mock any child for any reason?

Those are just two situations we have faced. These are very common occurrences and I have yet to to properly address them. It somewhat helps to write them down and if either of these people are reading, maybe they will think twice the next time.

Maybe they will realize how much it hurts to hear someone criticize one of the people you love more than anything.

My backbone is getting stronger.

That does not mean the words won’t hurt, but maybe, just maybe I will be quicker with my words to reply to these things.

I will always and forever be his advocate.

Originally published: January 8, 2020
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