Call Me:

Judgmental stares, disdainful looks, sermons, unwanted advice, pity; as an autism parent, I experience these every day. Each time I am faced with these small insensitivities, I wonder about them. I stay awake going over the details of people’s stunned faces. Are people really so insensitive? Are they completely unaware of the challenges a spectrum kid and his/her family face every day? And even if they are, does no part of their humanity challenge them after they look in our direction?

According to statistics, women outnumber men by 1% . There is hue and cry raised left, right and center that we must raise awareness about the different needs of women. Activists don’t get tired of chanting slogans like “different, not less”.

Then what about a child on the spectrum? Is he not just a child? Another thinking, feeling human being? Why is it so inconceivable to imagine him equal even if he is different from his neurotypical (NT) peers? Shouldn’t his rights also be advocated openly and with determination? Why on earth are we quiet? Why are we so ashamed?

Recent studies show that 1 in every 50 children is now on the autism spectrum (CDC). That is a huge part of the human population. And this whole population is suffering at the hands of the rest of the “humans” co-inhabiting the world.

Imagine going to a restaurant, with your nerves already on edge because you are unsure about how your child will react to the surroundings. Will he get over stimulated? Will he sit and wait for his food? Will he make noises which will seem abnormal to the couples sitting on the next table, enjoying their conversations with their NT kids? And then, if the people around you stare and look in your direction repeatedly while you try to calm your child down, try to get her to sit or stop making noises, it just makes going out not worth the while.

You know what would be really appreciated? A smile. Just that much. Smile at us and mean it. Or make a conscious effort not to look in our direction.

No spectrum kid is throwing an unnecessary tantrum. He is having a hard time communicating his feelings. He does not know how to explain what he wants and what he doesn’t. He will physically try to escape the situation or make noises which are to him a way of communicating or relieving his anxiety. He does not comprehend situations the way you do. He is not aware of personal space. And it’s not like parents and caregivers are not trying. Trust me, we are. We are giving it all we have. We are reaching out to every professional help available to us. But the neurological issues at the heart of autism are hard to tackle, almost impossible to ‘fix.’

Spectrum kids are beautiful, far more than their neurotypical peers. They are loving, extremely intelligent human beings with feelings and emotions. But they lack in social communication and speech. And this is why they act the way they do.

Please understand them. Enter their world and you will experience true happiness and victory in every small achievement.

Next time, before you stare, before you judge, before you pass a nasty comment, just stop and think. It might just stop you from becoming the reason an autism mama cries alone at night.

 The writer is an autism mom of a 3 year old precious prince. And can be reached on iloveautism1@gmail.com

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