Early this morning I was chatting with a good friend of mine and she asked me about how we deal with public acceptance whenever Joel is stimming or being vocal. Maybe a little backstory is in order. Shell and I went on Joel’s field trip at the end of the last school year, to the Oklahoma Aquarium. We had a good time. Joel was more interested in the open water exhibits and frequently tried to climb into the exhibits. I can just imagine our son sitting in a tank of water with Blue Shell crabs all around him. I don’t exactly know who I would feel more sorry for, him or the crabs. It wouldn’t be pretty either way. But after we finished up at the aquarium we signed Joel out from his class and decided that we had seen enough fish, now it was time to dine on some. So off to one of our farvorite new eating establishments, Fish Daddy’s. Joel was in an especially vocal mood that day and you can’t scold a kid for that. It’s like having a conversation for him. So there we are, and this woman keeps staring Joel down. Not looking at him with curiosity or interest. Not approaching us to ask an intelligent question. She is literally staring my little buddy down. Well, I take offense to it and as soon as I let Shell know she starts talking me down off of the ledge. And we finish our meal and leave the restaraunt without incident. I hate to be crass but it just burns my ass that people have so little tact that they will noticeably stare. I don’t know maybe it has something to do with my dad. For those of you who don’t know he was a paraplegic. I know being paraplegic isn’t a big deal but when you grow up in a small Oklahom town and there’s plenty of uppity people there, it becomes a big deal. There’s were quite a few times when I would see people being rude to my father and I know it got to him. Now I see people who are starting to be rude to my son and it bothers the hell out of me. Shell now puts a shirt on him that says “Autism is My Superpower”. But why should he have to advertise it? It’s nobody’s business but ours. And at that length, why should anyone in our party be made to feel uncomfortable because of another persons ignorance? Maybe I’m overreacting. I guess I should look at it from the stance that they will never experience what we will. Where he has to use kisses instead of words. Where holding him in my chair and rocking is better than any words I could ever say to him. I’ve heard people say that kids with autism don’t lie. They dont judge. Well I think they’re pure. I can’t think of a trait that Joel has that is tainted by some outside influence. And these people won’t experience this. They’re stuck inside the snowglobe they call life.
Do me a favor, if you’re a parent with a neuro-typical child and even if you don’t have any kids, but you’ve read this. If you ever happen upon an atypical person and their caregiver in a public place that’s displaying traits like these please don’t stare. Smile, nod as if you understand. If you are so bold and the person is having a physical issue, offer your assistance. Your understanding might help restore a little faith in humanity.
As for me I will soak up all of this little guy that I can.
Friday morning I had to mow the lawn. Our lawn mower had just been on the fritz and I didn’t get around to fixing it until Thursday evening and Friday morning I didn’t get around until 0830.Big Mistake, it was H-O-T! But I got it done. After I came in I grabbed a drink and walked through the living room to find Joel on top of the TV cart trying to swipe the movie titles on Netflix like he does the apps on his iPad. Too frickin’ cute.