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To the Woman Who Was Critical of My Son Using a Cell Phone

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Yesterday I heard you talking about us. I heard your disapproval and felt your judgment.

“Look at that young boy on the phone, isn’t it terrible?”

Initially it made me feel small, ashamed, like a bad parent because, to be honest, part of me does wish my son wasn’t on his mobile phone at the beach. I would like him to be enjoying the beautiful scene before him instead of playing Pokemon. But please don’t judge my choices without understanding my reasons.

In most of the photos I take of my big lad, he has his trusty mobile in his hand.

You look at my son with different eyes…

I see a gadget that connects me to my son. I see an aid that connects our son to us.

I see a tool that takes the focus off the things that cause him anxiety.

I see a family out together, relaxing and enjoying a walk.

I see a family enjoying a drink in peace and a boy happily playing.

I see a boy who struggles with anxiety becoming more confident.

I hear a shy boy actually chatting with the waiter (a stranger) about which Pokemon he has caught.

I feel his enthusiasm and use that to make a connection with him by sharing his passion.

I feel proud of a boy who has started to play out on his own, call for friends and make new friends, too.

Far from stunting his social development, having a mobile has actually expanded it.

His trusty mobile has helped enabled us to get out as a family and explore new places.

I don’t pretend to be a perfect parent; I am a real one! I am not living my life to please others; I am celebrating it for what it is.

I will use whatever tool possible to connect my son with the world and reduce his anxiety. You see, my son has autism.

Yesterday I heard you talk about us. I heard your disapproval, but I don’t care, because I know that being a parent is the easiest thing to have an opinion on but the hardest thing to do.

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Thinkstock image by schankz

Originally published: November 18, 2017
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