I don't blog all that often about these kinds of things, I am not very articulate about talking about many things but I am hoping that I can remember to update this blog (I do have a livejournal but that's more personal, and even that can get rather bland.)
Over these last few days, it has come to my attention that there was a blog post by Smockity Frocks on how she wants to jab herself with a pen, or whatever she wants to do with her eyeballs. I can happily say that if she were to do that, which I hope she never does that she would probably permanently damage her eye and I would wish that on no one. However, reading this journal entry that to her was supposed to come off as "funny, humorous," turned out to be rather offensive and alarming to many parents (especially those who have children who are on the spectrum.)
Basically in a nutshell, she talks about how she is at the library with her well behaved, tolerant, and patient! children who are playing on the computers while she is reading the bible (personally I believe she is doing this to make it seem like she's quite Christian like), and I guess at the 'waiting' line for the next open computers a Grandma and a four year old are standing there. The four year old appears to be flapping her arms, telling her Grandma repeatedly that she is being very patient. And apparently she does this for quite awhile, and the Grandma replies that she is in fact being patient. Now, to me that sends up red flags that this four year old could very well be on the Autism Spectrum. Instead of either ignoring the situation, or giving a friendly smile, or even going up to the Grandma to say that her children had just started playing their games and won't be done for awhile. She could have done that, but instead she sits there and watches, judges the child and comes up with reasons as to why the Grandma was wrong and how the child was not patient and was more misbehaved.
The fact that this woman even tried to mock the child, and tried to attempt to make herself sound like a great martyr because she "didn't state her opinion", and that she "was reading her bible," as if that really means anything. She obviously has not gotten to the part of the bible that is about 'compassion' and 'understanding'. Even throughout her comments it was just so disheartening to read people encouraging her and giving her praise for her rude thoughts, and judgmental ways. Then she acts as if ASD isn't really an excuse at all, and some people leave really informative comments and she gets defensive and ends up stopping comments and deleting the entry.
I would also like to point out that I believe that child was patient, and even if the child wasn't Autistic the kid was FOUR. I hate to break people's fingers but four year olds aren't exactly beacon children at times, they can be impatient, they can get easily upset and it's hard for them to be PATIENT. Autistic or Not, cut the kid and Grandparent some slack. Geez.
Let me just state one thing, I am not a parent. I do not have children, but... I can relate to this story. I have Autism, that could have been me at four years old. Heck, this could even be me now.
I have always had a lot of problems when it comes to social cues, and rules. I am not really a 'spoiled' child, and I used to stand in line next to my Mom bouncing up and down with excitement because I was waiting in line!, while waiting my turn without pushing, or pulling on other children. I used to tell my Mom "I am waiting in line! I am not pushing anybody and I am standing right here with my hands to myself! I am not touching anybody!" and my Mom would nod and say yes and I would be very happy with myself. I would go silent for a few minutes, and there would be times were I would get anxious, so I would end up turning in circles for a few minutes, stop and once again repeat my mantra of "I am waiting in line! -- " I would be that kid in the library. My mom said that I used to do this all the time.. at hte movie theater, at the library, at the ice cream parlor, movie rentals, toy stores, you name it.. I would say the exact same thing. My mom said she used to get some judgmental looks, wondering why I would be saying the same thing over and over again.
One time a parent told my Mom to make me shut up because it was annoying to hear me say the same thing, and that I was being loud and rude (despite standing in line.. at a movie theater to get popcorn), and I remember her telling me to lower my voice and that I needed to be quiet cause some people were staring.. yeah I remember I cried and got very upset. I thought I was being bad, and my volume only increased instead of decreased. I didn't understand that what I was doing was bothering other people, I didn't intend on annoying anyone. I just needed reassurance and understanding that I in fact was still learning social rules, and how to behave in certain public areas as a child (well into my years in high school as well, but I learned that if I broke a social rule, that I wasn't bad, but learning.)
No child is going to be perfect, it doesn't matter if they are special needs or not, but staring at a child who is throwing a temper tantrum or a special needs child having a meltdown and judging them is never a good thing to do. It is very hard for a parent (special needs or not) to get looked at in a sour way, and to be told that they need to discipline their child more, I have a hard time putting myself in other people's shoes and I never plan to because I like my own shoes. But, I know that it's a stressful situation for both the parent and child, and to have people whispering behind the parent's back and saying that they are not good parents when they are probably doing the best they can in the situation. No parent is perfect either, they can't predict what will set off a child. Cut a kid some slack. Granted, I know that children will act bratty, but.. they are CHILDREN. They learn how to behave eventually, yes sometimes they need to be punished if they misbehave, but they also need to be praised when they do something right.
I also want to say that what works for one child on the spectrum will not work for another. Each child is not the same.
Autism Awareness Week is coming, time to be understanding and to learn and grow as a person. Tolerance = key.