Home > In Their Own Words > In Their Own Words – Mean People

In Their Own Words – Mean People

This “In Their Own Words” is by Jennifer C., whose three-year-old daughter, Sierra, was diagnosed with autism at 20 months. You can read more of her writing at http://fingerprintsofautism.blogspot.com/.

My family went out to eat last night at a restaurant here in town. We usually go to kid-friendly ones that are pretty noisy already. If any of you have an autistic child you know how they cannot control their volume very well. Sierra is very loud and she doesn’t speak that well yet either, but she talks all the time and she squeals a lot when she is having fun. She was happy and being silly, a far cry from a year ago when she didn’t talk and just cried and yelled when we took her out. We try to teach her how to use an inside voice when we are out, but she does it for a minute and goes right back to being loud.

There were two elderly women sitting across the aisle from us who were just horrified by Sierra; they held their ears and shot glances at us, like my child was throwing knives at them. I do usually apologize for her being loud and I did to the other tables closer to us, but they were being nice about it. It wasn’t a constant loudness; she was being very good – eating her food and just being silly because other people were playing with her and her baby sister. When we were done, my husband got up to pay the bill and that’s when one of the elderly women said to me, “Can you keep your kid quiet or does she have to screech like that?”

I almost choked on my french fry. I have never had someone be so mean about it. If she had actually took a minute to look at Sierra, she would have noticed that she doesn’t talk clearly in any way and that she uses sign language while she is “screeching,” as she put it. That might have been a clue that maybe my child makes noise like that because she does not know how to communicate properly yet! I just said in a very loud and mad tone, “She is autistic and she does not understand how to be quiet!” Then she just gave me a blank look and said, “Okay”.  I know she was a coward because she waited until my husband left the table to say it. I hope she was embarrassed. There was so much more I wanted to say but I just couldn’t get it out. I get so upset, then I start to cry and I didn’t want them to see me cry.

I think people are very judgmental about autistic children. They don’t look close enough to see that there might be something wrong with the child; all they see is an unruly child. If they walked in our shoes for one day, they would never be judgmental about another child and their family again. The next time you see a child crying by the gumball machines, it might not be that she is having a temper tantrum for candy; it could be my daughter crying because they changed what is in the machines. At the restaurant, she is crying because the chicken is stringy and she can’t eat stuff with strings hanging off. At the park, it’s because the other kids scare her. At the grocery store, it’s because we walked a different way through the store. Sierra very rarely cries because she can’t have a toy; she cries when her routine changes or when she has trouble communicating her needs, and she gets unruly when she is scared and or on uncommon ground. Imagine having to live life like that and you will think twice about being judgmental.

I love my daughter so much and I wish other people could see her through my eyes, how wonderful, loving, and smart she is, and how frustrated she gets trying to adapt in this world. It breaks my heart every day knowing that she will have to put up with mean people who don’t understand her and what autism is.

“In Their Own Words” is a series within the Autism Speaks blog which shares the voices of people who have autism, as well as their loved ones. If you have a story you wish to share about your personal experience with autism, please send it to editors@autismspeaks.org. Autism Speaks reserves the right to edit contributions for space, style and content. Because of the volume of submissions, not all can be published on the site.

  1. Mom of an autistic child
    September 2, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    What do you expect from an old fart like that? In her day they took beautiful children like your daughter and my son and institutionalized them! Go out with your child, be proud your daughter is doing so well and be glad you most likely will not run into that idiot ever again! If you do say “Hi remember us? You might want to move to another table!”

    • K. Woodland
      September 3, 2010 at 1:22 pm

      I kind of disagree with “Mom of an autistic child”. The blame game she/he is indulging in is also part of the problem. Calling people you don’t know names based on age or education or any other “label” doesn’t help spread knowledge or good will. If it’s NOT OK to label our children, then it’s also NOT OK to label others based on their age, education, or attitude whether we like it or not.

      Early on, that bit of me that just wanted to be normal and unobtrusive would be very embarrassed, and I would get really angry. I was angry because someone was judging my child (and me) and it really hurt. I was angry at myself for being embarrassed by my child’s behavior. Sometimes I was angry because the day was too long and I had pushed way past our limitations. And sometimes I was angry because “I” wanted a peaceful event-free-meal/outing-without-having-to-do-dishes.

      Yes, it used to be difficult for us to go to the county fair or other public places (grocery store, department store, restaurant) when you’re child is struggling with sound and light and the myriad of other issues our kids have to deal with. I spent 12 years going to 1 grocery store, 1 department store, 1 shoe store, etc. I spent the time educating the sales staff, who became my daughter’s greatest defenders and admirers and would take care of the education of other thoughtless and sometimes very rude patrons.

      So as sorry as I am (it still happens to our daughter too) for your unpleasant encounter, the reality is we have to learn to be polite and “suck it up” and keep things in proportion.

      Question: why do I have to educate them? Answer: because they don’t know and if I don’t, who will?

      If I (we) do my (our) job correctly, it will give another parent a break and they may have the energy to get through the day. Hopefully they will train staff somewhere they frequent, who will defend their child and educate other patrons. I believe it is a way of giving all of us (with our without disabilities) safer, healthier places to do daily business. And maybe the time to learn to cope with our children and, more importantly, ourselves.

      • tonya
        September 3, 2010 at 6:36 pm

        Thank you. Thank you for keeping your head up and continuing to “educate” our ignorant neighbors. It is because of people like you that other have a chance at a little easier path to follow.

      • Jane
        September 3, 2010 at 10:07 pm

        I was thinking the same thing as I was reading this. When she apologized to the other table she should have apologized tothe ladies also. She does not need to necessarily apologize for her childs behavior, but the ladies just wanted a quiet meal and I an sure Jennifer did feel bad that her daughter was making their meal unenjoyable.

      • Karen C. Leach
        September 4, 2010 at 12:32 am

        K. I could not agree more. A sad unfortunate situation to be in. Iv’e been there myself but as you pointed out it’s a great opportunity to try and educate people. As parents of Autistic children we must be willing to educate those who don’t know any better. For those who are just rude well… there are those you will never get through too. Thanks for sharing. Well said.

      • Mom of boy with autism
        September 4, 2010 at 1:05 am

        Well said! Passing along the knowledge is more work, but better for all. We also must not except the world to move aside for children, respect for other people is important. The have a right to enjoy that hard earned meal out as well and we have to know our children and what they can handle. Some things may have to wait.

      • Annette
        September 4, 2010 at 4:10 am

        Well said. And thank you for saying it.

      • September 4, 2010 at 8:27 am

        Well said K. Woodland, well said. As hard as it may be at times we should always try to find the gift in every situation. The gift in this situation was “to teach”, Instead of being rude back how wonderful it would have been to speak softly to the women about Autism and explain the ongoing need for awareness within the community. These life experienced old biddies could have walked away with a story that they could continue to tell at the senior center. The gift that keeps on giving is awareness and awareness within the community only strengthens our position for better services for these children.

      • Nicleyton
        September 4, 2010 at 9:40 am

        I went through this problem several times and most of the people that were rude were elderly people. I’m sorry, but I can’t go around the world explaining other people why my child behaves the way he does. When people tell you “control your child”, “watch your child”, etc, it means ignorance. I ask to myself: Why don’t you mind your own business? I completelly agree with ” Mom of an autistic child” I don’t have time to go around educating and informing the entire world about my child’s disability. I should do it with people that are in daily contact with him,such as teachers, family members, and friends, but with strangers at a restaurant or at the grocery store? I might as well just put a big sign on his back saying “I’m autistic, so forgive me and my mother. She is not a bad mother really!?” Why should I and my child apologize to the world? Haven’t they heard the statistics? It is time for people to start educating and informing on their own about autism because it is everywhere now!

      • Ann
        September 4, 2010 at 10:42 am

        I do agree with you.. such a small %of our culture understands these special people we know to cherish for allll their exceptional traits. As the Gram of one very exceptional little boy (5) I remember well @ 2, he was upset in a dept. store, & a woman snidly said.. ‘A little upset are we!!” .. I replied in my calmest voice.. ‘No.. we’re a little Autistic, and since you don’t seem to understand that.. I suggest you go home, look it up and this way you won’t be making comments that make you look.. shall we say.. ‘unaware’??
        Of course, agreeing with ‘Sierra’s Mom’.. inside what wanted to spew out .. well I think we’ve all been there in defence of all of our children.

      • September 5, 2010 at 2:20 am

        I agree with Toni C. God give special children to special parents. I’m a mother of a 5-year who is on the autism spectrum with ADHD. At First, I was scared of this diagnosis that changed my life. But, because of his special needs I had to become his protector. Sometimes I get a little upset at people’s comments but I realized that not everyone can understand. When I look at my child I see the beauty of creation and all the wonderful things that makes him so very special. Now, I see many children in different ways and reach out to a parent who is having a hard time with their child. We must lead by example and other shall follow.

      • Jane Campbell
        September 8, 2010 at 1:09 pm

        I can appreciate that K woodland feels it should have been an education opportunity. The best education that woman has probably ever gotten was right there at that table. Now maybe she won’t be so judgemental of others with children or without. That is where her education should have started! I dont have a child with autism but I do have two nephews with it and a special needs child myself. I know her pain in a slightly different way, through my sister and my own experiences. Now maybe that she learned not to judge to quickly, maybe just maybe she will go to the library and read a book or get on the interent and google some info. Sometimes embarassment can humble a person and they will think twice about judging again. She could not have “educated” her sitting in a restuarant. Kind of like when you see a lady carrying extra weight. Never assume that she is pregnant. When you see a mother struggling with a child never assume you “know” what is going on. Have a little empathy for a mother who may be dealing with something very difficult whether you are educated on the subject or NOT!!

      • David H.
        September 8, 2010 at 1:12 pm

        K. that comment was so on-point I had to let you know.

  2. Maureen Soricelli
    September 2, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    I vividly remember how hard it was to do some of the typical things families do with my son when he was really small; sometimes you just want to tell people that your child has a right to be in a public place, just as they do. Some folks I know print up a card that explains to an onlooker what is going on. It’s a good way to educate others who display their ignorance so blatantly. I often reflect on the fact that the disability is within the “normal” person, not our kids.

    • Trish
      September 3, 2010 at 11:00 am

      That is the craziest thing I have ever heard! My son is 4 and he is generally very quiet, but if that had been me in that situation, I don’t know what I would have done…..I didn’t realize that people are still so ignorant and rude these days. You must be one strong person! Hope things get better for you.

  3. odie
    September 2, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    those people are the same ones who say like in ”rainman”?no,my daughter had an 109 iq at 4 and has gone to residual austic traits.i rarely get comments over my daughter but i really wished they sid something to my face.it is amazing how they slither away when people find out that your child is adhd and austic.i feel that we all have a purpose so some us apparently are stronger than others that is why we have the extra special children!!!:)

    • Abigayle Watts
      September 3, 2010 at 11:49 am

      Several people have said that about my son, because he’s only two and he loves to count. We never get anyone commenting about Sam, mostly because his autism is mild and causes him to actually behave quite well and passively in public, as long as he’s not “disturbed” in his own little world. We’re trying to get him to come out of his shell. My child was just recently diagnosed and I feel so horrible about all the times I was insensitive to other people’s children.

  4. September 2, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    I totally know how you feel. I’ve gotten reactions like that at my son’s neurodevelopmental doctors office… not from patients but from STAFF!! (Blows your mind, doesn’t it?)

    The worse was when I went to the Social Security office last January to update our information because my son receives SSI. A woman was eating my son’s favorite snack and he kept trying to get some from her. The guard ordered him to sit down and he freaked out. After a few minutes of him crying, the guard kicked us out of the waiting room and forced my two sons, my then 3 month old daughter and I to wait outside until our number was called. (Didn’t I mention it was January?) Then after 5 more minutes of continuous crying he came out with the manager and tried to convince her to allow him to kick me off the property altogether. I tried to explain he was Autistic, but they ganged up on me like bullies and kept saying, “So? Just tell him to stop! Why don’t you get a sitter? Hey little boy, stop crying like that!” It wasn’t until an elderly couple, who was entering the building, yelled, “He doesn’t understand what that means, you idiots!” and then a couple more people came out to defend me did these to jerks stop. An employee even came out and told them that they were making it worse and took me inside to put me next inline. That day was pure hell and I hope no other parent has to experience this first hand. I mean, lots of Autistic kids get SSI. Are you telling me my son was the first one they ever seen before?!?

    • Stacy
      September 3, 2010 at 12:30 pm

      That is horrible. It reminds me of the time I took my son to get an OT evaluation. The lady doing the evaluation, who I assumed saw autistic kids all the time, was so frustrated with my son. She kept telling him he wasn’t doing it right and getting frustrated and yelling at him.

      • Annette
        September 3, 2010 at 3:01 pm

        Yes, we had an audiologist yell at my son when he was 4 and wouldn’t cooperate like all the other kids. I reported her. You expect evaluators to do evaluations no matter what the outcome.

      • claudia stenger
        September 3, 2010 at 9:38 pm

        Before my daughter was diagnosed one time I took her to the pediatrician, the doctor was examining her ears and she kicked the doctor. The woman (doctor) was so upset that she threw her stethoscope on the counter and walked out of the room. When she came back a few minutes later she heard all I had to say and ended up apologizing. I was so mad that I don’t know how I didn’t grab her by her hair. I went out and told the office manager what had happened and of course she was chocked and also apologized.

      • September 3, 2010 at 11:13 pm

        Not all occupational therapists are trained to work with autistic children. Ask questions of the people evaluating your children. Make sure they have the experience you require. Don’t assume that because they are a therapist or a physician for that matter that they know about autism. I am a pediatric OT and work in a private clinic with many autistic children as well as my own son. We see many parents who have been to other facilities and don’t receive the treatment they want. Be your child’s advocate and ask good questions of facilities.

      • Lorri
        September 5, 2010 at 4:27 am

        You must have visted the same OT that we did. Ours proceeded to hold my 2 yr old down while he screamed at the top of his lungs because he would not follow her directions and then told me that my child did not have autism; only a behavior problem. Took everything I had not to punch her right in the kisser! And this was the first time she’d ever met him!!

    • Brenda
      September 3, 2010 at 12:36 pm

      un-beliveable!!!!! i am so sorry, that story just made me cry.I have taken my autistic daughter in there with me too(i cant imagine having other children in there with me as well) we were also yelled at because she was overwhelmed and having a fit because i would not let her climb on the chairs he(the guard) asked that next time i come could i find a sitter! I simply replied no. My daughter is 3,fast,and cannot speak, so i dont trust anyone to watch her EVER. One lady in there ( an emolpyee) even said to the lady next to her “god,she needs a leash on that kid” i was praying i would get her as a teller,i didn’t so, on the way out i made my way over to her and said “i need a leash huh? well you need to eduacate yourself on autism” it was the nicest,meanest thing i could think of to say.She was embaressed for a min. so i guess she knew what i felt like sitting in there w/ everybody and their brother mean mugging my daughter and myself for the entire hour we were there! People dont relize that we get anxiety having to bring our children into situations such as those. Do people think we enjoy inducing panic and anxiety on our children? I avoid it at all cost but sometimes its out of our hands….it just really pisses me off!

      • claudia stenger
        September 3, 2010 at 9:54 pm

        So many of these stories make me cry! With my 5 years old daughter the two times I cried the most were when we were kicked out of a basketball game because she run to the middle of the court twice before the game started and a third time during half time, after that last time someone came and told me she could not do that and we needed to leave. I tried to make him reason that she was under no danger since no one was playing but he didn’t want to hear it. I left and cried all the way home.
        The other time something really bad happened we were in an airplane , she was three years old, she took off her clothes (just kept her pull up) and run down the aisle. I was able to grab her and bring her back to our seat crying and screaming. Right away a flight attendant came over to tell me that a passenger had complained that my child was naked in the plane and being so loud that she could not sleep. As soon as I told the flight attendant that she is autistic, she apologized and offered water, snacks or anything that could calm her down, but I was so upset that I cried holding my daughter until we both fell asleep and I haven’t been in a plane ever since.

    • Lori
      September 3, 2010 at 3:15 pm

      Lauren,

      I can’t believe that happened to you @ the social security office–the place that sees people with disabilites on a DAILY basis! What were they thinking. I am so glad that you had people come and try to help. I too have been in situations like that and it makes my stomach hurt when I know I have to bring my son out in public because I know what comments/stares I’m going to get. It has taken ALOT of work to get my son to be ok in public–but by no means does he act “normal”. Just take it one day at a time and keep your chin up.

  5. Lee Karras
    September 2, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    I would’ve cursed her ignorant, old, a*s out!

  6. September 2, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    I take my son to restuarants all the time. Today, i was telling a employee about how my son runs and flaps his hands, make noises. She told me that places can have you removed for disrputive behaviors. I told her that is discrimnation against the disabled. Is this so? Can they have use leave the property? He doesnt climb and he only runs like two feet in front of me and back its not like he runs all over the restuarant and if he gets to loud or runs to far he will stop and sit for a moment. Do we have to label our kids for everyone to make spectacules out of? Or do we lock then away in our homes or worse? I refuse to give in and not help my child deal with everyday activities. May God Bless the ignorant people.

    • September 2, 2010 at 8:10 pm

      Cheryl :
      I take my son to restuarants all the time. Today, i was telling a employee about how my son runs and flaps his hands, make noises. She told me that places can have you removed for disrputive behaviors. I told her that is discrimnation against the disabled. Is this so? Can they have use leave the property? He doesnt climb and he only runs like two feet in front of me and back its not like he runs all over the restuarant and if he gets to loud or runs to far he will stop and sit for a moment. Do we have to label our kids for everyone to make spectacules out of? Or do we lock then away in our homes or worse? I refuse to give in and not help my child deal with everyday activities. May God Bless the ignorant people.

      Technically, as a business they have the right to remove any person for any reason since their place of business is also their private property. Is it discrimination? Yeah, but they have the right to do it. So what is a parent to do? If you find yourself kicked out because of your Autistic son’s behavior, you spread the word. Get the BBB involved. Call the news. Tell everyone you know, “_______ is horrible! They kicked us out because of our son’s Autistic behavior!” They get boycotted or protesters show up…

      Most places of business won’t remove families for behavior unless it is becoming dangerous because they know that one families word of mouth campaign can hurt their bottom line.

      • InDLC
        September 3, 2010 at 11:36 am

        This is not legally correct. Restaurants are “places of public accomodation” within the meaning of the law. Otherwise, restaurant owners could go back to days where there were “colored” seats and “white” seats.

        Do not tolerate discrimination at public establishments.

    • Victoria
      September 3, 2010 at 11:07 am

      Not only would I get the BBB involved but also the American Disablilities Act. ADA doesn’t take too kindly to discrimination.
      Cheryl, you have a warm heart … “May God Bless the ignorant people”. Perhaps one day when (and IF) I grow up I will be able to adopt your attitude and dump my own theory “God can you please get rid of the judgemental people all together”

      • B. Tessmer
        September 3, 2010 at 6:03 pm

        I have been reading these responses and I agree it is very difficult to take our kids out. I never allowed my child out of the seat in a restaurant for safety reasons for both him and the wait staff. I used the restaurant as instructional time for my child and if he was having a particularly difficult day not at a busy time because the noise levels and levels of anxiousness only set the child for failure and frustration for all concerned. Over the years I have had many nasty comments about behavior in a doctors office and my comment has always been….you know he has difficulties waiting so why not call me at home when his turn is coming up. They did that. One time when going to the eye doctor, the office had a huge hanging plant near the entry way, like tarzan he ran ahead and grabbed onto the plant for a good swing. I was faster……

    • Jennifer
      September 3, 2010 at 11:21 am

      yes they can remove you as restaurants have a right to refuse service to anyone. it is not discrimination and it is not illegal.

      • Annette
        September 4, 2010 at 4:16 am

        Bingo. It’s OUR responsibility to work with our child’s abilities and not push them too hard by putting them into situations they cannot handle.

    • Linzi
      February 15, 2012 at 6:32 pm

      My son is 5 and has down syndrome…But clear as day to me he also has autism which is what is hindering him the most…My challenge is getting the diagnoses which I am in the process of getting, but because his behavior has always been blamed on the down syndrome, he has lacked so much therapy in the last five years because there is VERY minimal funding to get therapy for down syndrome…He will get quadruple the amount of therapy once he recieves the diagnosis of autism… Now that I realize he has autism as well his behavior makes much more sense to me, and just like everyone else discusses, sometimes taking him out in public can be extremely difficult….other times he’s perfectly fine…I was just telling my mom the other day though that I rarely ever see any other special needs children out in public and I really hope that people bring their children out regardless of what other people may say…I know it’s hard (trust me I know), but if their were more special needs children out and about then I think we may not feel so out of place or alone….and no matter how horrific an event may go for my son I will try it again another day and hope for the best…As far as for the comments about Sierra at the restaurant and some people think that mom should have apologized to the elderly ladies because they deserve to enjoy a meal…Those ladies may have had a little disruption in one meal in their life and then they go on with their lives…Guess what the parent of a special needs child has tremendous stress everytime attempting to bring the child to a restaurant or in public having no idea if it will be okay or a complete disaster so she does not HAVE to apologize to anybody!!!!! …And to say you have to know your child’s limitations….a special needs child really?…I can take my son to a restaurant one day and everything can be great and go smoothly…I can take him the next day to the same restaurant at the same time, everything the same and he may flip out and completely lose it yelling and screaming….. So how should I know those limitations?? As far as for the security guard at social security, I would have let him know a little about what my life is like and had him wishing he never came near me to say a word…Don’t let people treat you like that, they DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT, and if they really would have said you need to leave they would have been paying me a lot of money in court soon after!! We have to live in this world just like everyone else…I have real rough days with my son, I have cried a lot of tears, but if I want to take him in public I will and could careless what people say…and I’m sorry but there are some people you just cannot educate and as much as I believe in spreading awareness I agree with who ever said we don’t have to educate every ignorant person out there…Just know God didn’t give them a special needs child because they most likely would have put the child up for adoption…Raising a special needs child is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life and I Praise every parent of a special needs child, all we can do is our best and sleep well knowing that!!!!

  7. Ellen Mulligan
    September 2, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    My reply to people like that is “My son has autism and your ignorance is showing”

  8. September 2, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    You are correct that people have a hard time being around Autistic children, and I think it is mostly because they don’t understand them. It might not be that they have a particular prejudice against them but that they are irritated by the noise and commotion that is not uncommon with autism.

    I’m not in any way condoning disrespect, but some people aren’t around kids at all and may lead very quiet lives so when they are faced with loud unusual noises they tend to get irritable.

    My nephew has autism and his parents have been really going through it for the last 7 years. He wasn’t diagnosed until last year, and we all thought he would outgrow the “stage” that he seemed to always be in. I have to admit I have become irritated by the little guy more than a few times. that doesn’t make me love him any less but if you aren’t around this behavior all the time it really can have an impact on your nerves.

    People are critical at times, let us not be critical right back at them :-)

    • Karen
      June 16, 2011 at 11:25 am

      Our children work on our nerves to, it can not be different if you don’t get a break from the behaviour. We still love them. We work just as hard and I think in many cases we don’t realize how hard our autistic children work to “fit in”. We have the right to be in public places. It is write to appologise for bad behaviour, we would do that for our normal children to. We should however not always have to explain our children to the world. I think as parents we do this without thinking. We need to give ourselves a break to also enjoy our kids.

  9. A Dad
    September 3, 2010 at 12:05 am

    I know what you mean. Sometimes you want to explain it to them but you just don’t trust yourself to do it without getting mad/upset. It’s heartbreaking.

  10. Tonya
    September 3, 2010 at 12:17 am

    (((Jen C.)))

    People are scared in their ignorance of anything new or different. God gave you your babygirl, not them. I’m proud of you.

  11. September 3, 2010 at 2:00 am

    I would like to comment about the women and taking the little girl out to eat. My son is 18 yrs. I was throwing out of churches doctors offices and many more places.I know how hard it is. Please keep going out and just ingor people and their commets. Your child will be better for it. Keep up the good work and take care. Just rember god gave you her for a reason. Rebecca Johnroe

  12. A Granny of an Angel who has autism
    September 3, 2010 at 8:17 am

    I wish I could wrap my arms around each and everyone of you! First of all, your children HAVE AUTISM, it’s like having MS, MD, or any other life long medical problem. DO NOT let it be their identity! I know who much you’d love to give a piece of your mind to all the ignorant people who stare or make cruel remarks. Personally, I wish God would give every family a special needs child, compassion and tolerance would certainly skyrocket, not to mention help!! Praying daily for a cure for autism, and for all children who have autism and families affected by it.

  13. Jayne Hiltz
    September 3, 2010 at 8:25 am

    I totally know how you feel. My son Neil who is now 15 has vocal tics that stem from his Autism and high anxiety. When strangers make cruel and ignorant comments, Neil is permanantly scarred by them. He keeps these unpleasant memories in his head and will still talk about it years after the incidents. As parents, we have to deal with so much on a daily basis with our special kids. When others judge or are blatantly just cruel, it is heartbreaking. The worst incident my son and I have encountered was at a local drug store while waiting in line at the prescription counter. Neil was having a tough time with his vocal tics as it was later in the afternoon. Normally, I get prescriptions for him alone, but this one time he needed a refill ASAP. I had Neil sit in the waiting area chair just a few feet away while I stood in line. A very ignorant and downright mean older gentleman looked at me and told me that my son was annoying. I did not apologize but explained due to his autism, he cannot HELP his tics. Right after that, Neil stood up as he saw I was talking with this man. Neil put out his hand to shake and introduced himself and asked what his name was. The EVIL man, as Neil calls him now, refused to shake his hand and said none of your business. He added a profanity as well. This crushed Neil and he got upset. The man went to leave the store and I I have followed him with a few choice words. That incident happened over three years ago. Neil STILL talks about the EVIL man, on a regular basis. The damage ignorant people can do is tremendous!! I felt compelled to write a letter to the editor in two local papers and it gave me some closure on the incident while educating other readers about autism. When Neil mentions the incident, he always ends the story with ” That man is NOT going to heaven Mom”. I agree with Neil!!

    • September 3, 2010 at 11:09 am

      I have a 24 y/o with Autism that is SOOO shy in public places that I fear he will become agoraphobic. I fully identify and feel your pain, my son also perseverates on incidents for years and years, one would think with the prevelance of this affliction ,that more folks would be sympathetic. That EVIL man was lucky it was not me…I may have “B” slapped him….oh my , that is my “BRONX” showing…
      When it comes to my son , I tend to suffer from blind rage, not good for anyone,so I hit the EVIL man with a prayer not a chair….My son is soo aware that the mere mention of the word AUTISM,sends him into a frenzy, I have to call him “learning disabled” ,in his presence.
      MY best friend who helped me raise him, had a daughter she too is Autistic, Very severly so on the spectrum. Let me be out with HER and someone say something…OMG …I will go ape@^%&….
      I agree with the “granny” who writes that our family members and loved ones are afflicted with this condition, it does not define my son ,anyway. Many can take a lesson from his gentle and loving soul, my son also puts out his hand to introduce himself…let someone slap it away per se…God Bless and keep you…you did what God wants us “warriors” to do..for remember “the meek shall inherit the earth”..
      Vicki from da Bronx

    • Victoria
      September 3, 2010 at 11:13 am

      Jayne,
      What a fine young man you have raised. Awesome manners!
      I honestly believe there is a special place in HELL for people like Mr. Evil!

  14. Brian
    September 3, 2010 at 8:47 am

    My son did not communicate like a “normal” child until he was nearly three. Most of the time he flailed his arms about, pointed and cried. Now, at age ten, he has coping mechanisms to make sure he communicates what he needs. I have seen the looks, the stares and the glances at the “weird kid”.

    Through their ignorance I have gained the knowledge that organizations like Autism Speaks are doing their best to reach out to people and give them the understanding of what it is like to live with Autism. We need to work harder to educate the general public. Rude people will always be among us. I worry about my son’s peers and how mean children can get because their parents have not taught them compassion and tolerence. I hope he never experiences those things.

    Through my faith in God, prayer and the efforts of this organization as well as others will I find hope in my son’s future. Please have peace in your heart. I know you are angry and needed to write this story for others to see. We all feel your pain and sorrow. I will pray for your healing and for your family, especially for your daughter. I will pray for those two women in the hope that they, in their later years, still gain wisdom. Thank you for sharing.

  15. Angela
    September 3, 2010 at 9:15 am

    Thank you for sharing your story.
    My son is now 20 yrs old and he used to make a high pitched noise when he was happy. You can imagine the reactions from others.
    I loved to hear my son make that noise, it let me know he was happy.

    • Jo-Ann
      September 3, 2010 at 3:22 pm

      Angela, I cried after reading your post because my son also makes high pitched noises when he is happy and to me, it is music to my ears!

      I have to keep reminding myself that people are rude and mean because they are uninformed when it comes to children with autism. They just don’t realize the impact that their words or glaring stares have not only on my son but those that love him as well. My 10 year old daughter adores her brother and cries when she hears people’s rude comments. One time, when she was about 7 years old, she almost came to blows with a boy much older and bigger than her because he called my son “that crazy weirdo.”

      My heart goes out to all you who have suffered from our fellow human beings’ insensitivity.

  16. Julie
    September 3, 2010 at 9:31 am

    Been there, done that! My son is now 27 so back in the day (lol) – we didn’t know ‘what’ exactly to do. But I remember so many outings – each one different and sometimes with positive outcomes – but very rarely especially when he was young. Well does it get better? In a different way because as they get older they learn ‘their’ way to cope. I still really never know how he will react to new information or changes in his routine but you get used to accepting that he will respond differently and therefore learn to expect a different reaction. As far as the ‘other people’ I believe we just have to keep plodding along and help our kids to find their way and expose them as much as possible in the real world. My son is well aware that there are ‘different’ people out there. With each new situation I try to offer up different scenarios of what may happen because just as Shakespeare said, “All the world ‘s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts” Keep strong and keep educating others – they probably don’t have any real world experience with those that don’t fit their mold, which frankly can be rather boring. Just remember that you and all the parents are continuing to break new ground because we are not keeping our kids at home and we are trying to socialize them so they can learn how to eat in the restaurants and go to the stores and attend the movies. My son can easily regulate those things and if he feels overwhelmed or uncomfortable he leaves or does something else. We laugh now because sometimes he makes comments about ‘loud’ kids and then I smile and remind him that he used to be that loud hyper little kid himself. So it has come full circle. Just remember teaching tolerance is ongoing.

  17. Laura
    September 3, 2010 at 9:34 am

    Of course that old lady was wrong, but so were you. (Stick to kid friendly restaurants or drive thru–better to have a mess in the car than ruin your mood for days!) That woman probably saved up for her pricey dinner. Bitchy or not, she had a right to not listen to screeching, as did everyone else in the place (who didn’t say anything to you). Manners matter, or they should.
    We have a 21 year old daughter whose sound-sensitivity and food allergies made her miserable (and embarrassing) in restaurants, to say nothing of my husband wanting to enjoy a meal and conversation twice a week. Over 2 decades we spent a fortune (!) on sitters, so we could eat out and go to movies. We never said anything to parents of noisy ‘typical’ children, but our minds went like adding machines, thinking that our bill was compounded by $15/hr sitter fee, and why didn’t THOSE people leave their BRATTY kids at home, or choose another place? Diners are good–I take my daughter there, just ‘us 2 girls’, and we enjoy ourselves, quietly. She improves her social skills and we don’t disturb anyone. But I do choose non-busy times, and make sure the kitchen knows about her allergies.
    I learned a good tip for taking an autistic child to the movies. Pick a matinee with low attendance and choose a short row on the side. Mom sits in aisle seat and the child can sit or run back and forth. Gives some freedom. Smuggle in your own snacks. The additives in the concession stand food will certainly make your child ‘act up’.

    • Victoria
      September 3, 2010 at 11:18 am

      Laura,
      I have to disagree with you 100%. Children are no longer to be “seen and not heard”. If people are unable to adapt to the sounds of a child, (‘normal’ or otherwise) perhaps they themselves should refrain from dining out!

    • Stacy
      September 3, 2010 at 12:22 pm

      I agree with Victoria. Why should our children have to be hidden and tucked away from society. They have just as much right to go out in public places as anyone else.

    • Chris
      September 3, 2010 at 2:03 pm

      That was very good! Temple Grandin talks about how important it is to have manners. Not to let your kids get away with out having them. We are all works in progress. We MUST teach our kids to get along as well as possible in the world as best as we can.
      Autistic kids typically don’t like using utensils and they won’t unless people remind them a thousand times but it is worth it. Think about it…can you go around getting mad at every person who is annoyed by your kids loud behaviors? They go out to enjoy themselves and can’t because you think everyone should cope with your kids out of control behavior? I think not.
      Believe me I was there and I didn’t take my kid to those places until he could handle it. It helps to practice at home and sit together as a family…sounds retro I know but these things need to be addressed. Work on it as they grow and help them blend. On one wants to sit with someone who chews with their mouth open and wipes their hands on their shirts and eats with their hands and has ear piercing shrieking. I understand both sides but I think we must help our children blend in the world.
      Do your kids right and teach them these things.

    • Amy
      September 3, 2010 at 2:06 pm

      In response to your comment about sticking to kid friendly places, I took my 2 1/2 year old son with autism to McDonald’s at a time when it was not busy but still had people inside and my son was loud trying to communicate with me without having the words,and people were rude at one point an older lady who by the way stopped at the table earlier to say how cute and sweet he was, told me if I’d “smack him” he wouldn’t act like that. Yes my son has autism and yes he makes a scene at times but no I will NOT keep him locked away so other people aren’t “offended” by him. Yes he has a disablitiy but it’s NOTHING compared to peoples rude attitude,that is more of a disabilty than autism because they are telling our children that they are not allowed to be themselves.Kid friendly or not our children have a RIGHT to have a life and be in public, so shame on you for suggesting we keep our children out of “polite society”

    • Adult with Autism
      September 3, 2010 at 2:16 pm

      I agree with Laura. My child was so disruptive that I would choose to pay for a sitter. Why should I sacrifice while others don’t? (politeness) Just because you have a child…rather, you choose to have a child…why would you insist the world participate? That’s on you. I save hard earned cash to go out, and make sure to seat my highly sensitive Autistic self away from everyone else. I go late at night…and yes, If I’m shelling out $80 for a nice dinner. I expect clean good service, peace and quiet. At 10:30 at night when I’m out….your wonderful loving child—–> “should” be in bed! God bless, but please folks….

    • Rekha
      September 3, 2010 at 3:03 pm

      first of all YOU ARE SO RUDE!!! secondly, whatever works for you doesn’t need to work for everyone whether typical or atypical. So Please understand the sensitiveness and support the Mother. Remember we are the voice of our kids we know it better what works for our child/ren that doesn’t mean we are globally correct. as VICTORIA said, why do we have to have a secret life?? That would be very selfish if you want to enjoy the movie as well its ok if your kid runs around. May be you can consider if the noices arose your child, then YES we have to help the child to the extent possible. But when the kid makes a happy sound, which may not be understood by others, so they get irritated, that doesn’t mean one need to take one’s child to matinee. If I hear the happy noice of my child I am going to go any show i like and any restaurant i like which doesn’t bother my child in a negative way. Anyways, I guess, you need to learn to understand whether your child is happy or bothered by the surroundings/food etc and then decide rather blunty picking something works for YOU and giving advice to someone sharing a heart-felt feelings and judging that person. That’s not nice. Please be NICE! Thank you.

    • September 3, 2010 at 6:57 pm

      I completely agree with you Laura! My husband and I also spend money on a sitter when we can so we can both spend a quiet evening together and reconnect. We ONLY take our son to fast-food and kid friendly restaurants. YOU HAVE TO KNOW YOUR CHILD! Our son is not ready for most sit-down restaurants. He makes loud noises and is constantly underneath the table. We are working to improve that behavior, and until that is done, we refuse to take him places where he will disrupt people. I just don’t think that is fair. You may have an autistic child that is more quiet, mild mannered, and not hyper…I don’t. So as I said before My husband and I go out when we can- ALONE…we have a wonderful time and get reenergized to take care of our beautiful son. WE HAVE TO STOP JUDGING PEOPLE.

    • Mikev9359
      September 4, 2010 at 12:26 am

      I am sorry Laura but I will not lock my child away because he is disabled.
      Yes maybe thbitch did save up for her pricey dinner, but we all have that same priviledge, to enjoy a meal out with our loved ones. My son is well mannered. But sometimes something may upset him and he reacts. It doesn’t mean he is rude or ill-mannered. Maybe something set off Julie’s son. Maybe she isn’t as fortunate as you to afford a sitter. I know I can’t. If people don’t want to hear children in a restaurant, dine late or stay home. They desreve a night out also.
      If my son (as your daughter) had food allergies, then I can understand you leaving her home. But if it was due to her sound sensitivity, shame on you. I have found that those who are critical of being inconvenienced usually were the parents of the most rotten kids anyway, so what goes around…

    • Leanna
      October 13, 2010 at 10:19 pm

      My son is 8 and autistic. He’s also legally blind and takes several meds for a hormone condition he has as well. He was just potty-trained this year. :) He still needs help in the bathroom but he’s outta diapers. He does not talk but he does make grunting noises and when he’s upset, he will scream like someone is killing him. We just moved and sometimes I think the neighbors are going to call the cops thinking I’m abusing him. :/ Let me tell you, it is not easy living on a day-to-day basis. Me and my husband have had our struggles and continue to have our struggles. But regardless, we love our son and will do anything for him and are overjoyed when he learns something new on his own.

      The worst thing I had was when someone told me I shouldn’t have anymore kids because they could come out the same or worst. It was some stupid lady. I gladly told her, ”If I decide to have another child, I will accept him/her however God sends them to me, so I don’t see a problem.” He’s my first and now we have a 2yr old daughter, who is perfectly fine and healthy.

      Besides that, on the issue of restaurants, if I see a screaming episode coming on, I know we can’t stay. Usually when he starts, he won’t stop for a few minutes. If he screams, I know he does not feel comfortable and we’ll have to leave. If he’s happy and laughing a little louder than normal, I’ll tell him to quiet down but I won’t leave. So if you’re sitting next to us and he bothers you, too bad for you. haha He also has started to do a form of twitching or kinda reflex where he pulls his arm out and into his chest, usually hitting his chest. When he does it, he grunts or yells out a scream and of course people stare. I tell him to calm down and rub his back or try to distract him. For the most part, I’m strong and ignore the stares, or if they stare too much, I’ll stare right back at them with intensity and see how they like it. lol It works. I have yet to have someone say something very rude to me but I’m waiting for it so I can spread some autism education. The best advice I have for people who don’t understand and are curious, is first, don’t stare, treat people how you want to be treated and I’m sure you don’t want people constantly staring at you. And 2nd, is ask ?s. PLEASE!! I rather like it because I can help you understand my son better. And last but not least, I am SUPER proud to be a parent of an autistic child, my son. :D

  18. amber
    September 3, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Ignorance is curable, stupidity is terminal…
    …in this case I think it would be more correct to say that your daughter can’t control the volume of her voice very well (not the she doesn’t understand what loud is) my autistic child is 6 now and it’s getting easier for him to stay quieter, but I still need to remind him regularly. I also have a 5, 2 and 1 yr old, so I think people sort of expect us to be loud as a group, but they usually do pretty well in the store. My son will sometimes decide to lay on the floor in the store, and will leave his hands out when he’s walking and brushes people as he goes by them. I remind him to keep his hands to himself and to get up off the floor and I’ve learned to ignore most of the looks =) I focus on my son’s behavior and what *I* expect of him and not on what I feel others are pressuring me to expect of him.

  19. Alma Brummond
    September 3, 2010 at 9:42 am

    I am a mother too of a autistic son. My sister ha a autistic son also. One day she was coming to visit me and her and my mother stoped to get something to eat at a pizza place. Her son wanted fast food instead. So, he was upset and continued to throw a fit while sitting in the resturant. The waitress said to my mother and sister “can you please control and quiet your child, there are others complaining of the noise.” My sister then explained that he was autistic and had a disability and that if she were to even take him outside until he calmed down, he wouldn’t calm down stil. The waitress left and then the manager came to the table and told them they needed to leave, because the child couldn’t be calmed down. We understand what it means to have a person look and judge a child just because they are different. Life is difficult for some and easier for others. We have the great opportunity to endure the hardships and be able to rejoice with all the rewards our special and wonderful children give us everyday!!!

    • Roxanne Artis
      September 3, 2010 at 1:11 pm

      You should write a letter to your local newspaper, or post something on facebook exposing this restaurant for what they did. HOW RUDE!! Others in your community with or without autistic children should be made aware so they don’t support this business, or worse yet, have the same thing happen to them!

  20. Dr. Larissa Colon
    September 3, 2010 at 10:21 am

    As a Doctor and as a Mother of a son with autism, I can really understand how hard is to deal with this terrible experiences. My specialty is Geriatrics and I love my elderly patients with all my heart but I love my son even more. Is true that we need to respect the elderly since we are all going that route anyways, but it is also true that their lack of patience at times can get them in trouble as well. My usual response to those kinds of attacks to any age group will be the following:
    “With an incidence so high of children diagnosed with Autism, I pray to God that the next kid is not a relative of yours!” ABA is not cheap but helped my son deal with his behavioral problems at public places so much! What is true is that doesn’t matter if is at BK or Nobu nobody under any circumstances has the right to be so mean!!!

    • September 3, 2010 at 11:08 am

      I truly loved your advice on responding to rude comments: it is short, to the point and it hits where it hurts most. Thank you!

    • Cathy
      September 3, 2010 at 12:04 pm

      I have to say that I think the only mean reaction that I’ve had to my son in public (Burger King!) was from an elderly woman. I accept that she probably hasn’t been exposed to too many autistic children in her life… but she also wasn’t exposed to ipods or computers either… and she better get used to them all because they are EVERYWHERE! (I told her that she should go tell her friends that she was mean today to a child with autism…) ;)

    • claudia stenger
      September 3, 2010 at 10:15 pm

      I’ve seen a lot more intolerance from older people than from people of any other age. Were their kids perfect?

  21. Karen I.
    September 3, 2010 at 10:49 am

    In my younger days i used to be a little intolerant with people who I thought couldn’t get a handle on their kids. Well, God has a way of bring light a little closer to those who really need to see. I am BLESSED to have an autistic son who’s now 4. Now I don’t judge-I understand and APPRECIATE!!!! My little guy has taught me patience and to open my heart (and my mind)!!!

  22. Karen I.
    September 3, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Karen I. :In my younger days i used to be a little intolerant with people who I thought couldn’t get a handle on their kids. Well, God has a way of bringing light a little closer to those who really need to see. I am BLESSED to have an autistic son who’s now 4. Now I don’t judge-I understand and APPRECIATE!!!! My little guy has taught me patience and to open my heart (and my mind)!!!

  23. april
    September 3, 2010 at 11:03 am

    This is so sad, i think alot of people still dont understand autism until they are forced to deal with it….we need an autistic family restaurant in some communities.the crazy thing is, my job..im a hostess at La Piazza..loves the yellin kids having fun…the owner comes out, turns on the tv for the kids,gets them stuff to color with, talks with the parents,smiling the whole time!! why cant all restaurants be like that!!

  24. September 3, 2010 at 11:05 am

    I chocked up reading, because I felt like I was reading my own writing and frustrations.. It’s like that every single time I go out with my 3 yr old son (PDD-NOS) who, like her lil’ girl, cannot control his volume or communicate that well or sit still like other kids can. It’s hard when you hear things like “she’s got her hands full with that one” or “she needs to learn how to control her child” or as I had been told not too long ago “you’re raising an axe murderer”. And just like this mother, I too cannot say much, I too choke and want to cry… and often do.

  25. pam
    September 3, 2010 at 11:05 am

    I find that people frequently don’t understand, so I try to educate lookers-on early in the process. My son has autism, but I find when I don’t know what someone’s disability is, I am less patient too. So when I get the chance I try to increase awareness before someone gets frustrated with our noise level.

  26. Mary Jo Dalton
    September 3, 2010 at 11:06 am

    I take my 16 year told son who has autism out in public all the time. I have been doing it from day 1. My daughter notices the people looking or saying something. I have learned to ignore it. I have thought of explaining it to them, but have come to realize they are not worth it. If they want to know, they can come up and ask me. He is the sweetest and most gentle person in the world. I just realized it is not worth getting upset over anymore.

  27. Heather Hendrickson
    September 3, 2010 at 11:07 am

    I was so glad to read these posts today. I have an 8 yr old son with autism. People are rude, stare and yell. I had out cards or confront people with the facts. My son is high functioning and he now realizes that his behaviors affect other people in a negative way. So when someone does react..his feelings are hurt and he cries out of embarassement. He will say things like” I’m such an idiot or I ruined their life” this brings me to tears. He has enough to deal with. Those thoughts shouldn’t have to cross his mind. How do I help him to deal with this and NOT think less of himself? Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated.

    • Becky
      September 3, 2010 at 2:27 pm

      I’m going through that right now! The other day, Matthew climbed into my lap, started crying and said “i wish I hadn’t been born!” I just started bawling my eyes out, hugging him so very hard and saying over and over, don’t ever think that, I love you so very much, please believe me, things like that. He (and I) cried ourselves to sleep. When we woke up, he told me his best friend had been mean to him and called him names, and he was tired of being autistic and just wanted to run away. i told him that it was the way it was, and that people are just mean. But he could ALWAYS come to mom or dad, and we would help him through the sad times. He did get better, and now they play together all the time. I fear puberty and early teen years—it’s so hard on a family with “normals”. What’s it going to be like for him?

  28. Teresa Bolton
    September 3, 2010 at 11:08 am

    I have no patience with people like you described anymore. I am raising my third child with autism. They are usually well behaved in public, but on one occasion my son had a meltdown in a toy shop when he was 5 (he is now 20). Autism was not as prevalent as it is now. One older lady asked me why I couldn’t control my child. I was so upset by trying just to get my son out of the shop, that when she said that I let loose a profanity-laced tirade, telling her my son had autism and couldn’t help it and what was her excuse for being a “B”? Her smug look went to one of shock and fear after that. And I have NEVER regretted what I said to her. Yes it hurts when people have no understanding and think you don’t know what you are doing as a parent, but until they have lived it they have no right to judge or even make such a remark. I decided a long time ago that I can be as gracious as anyone, but when it comes to my children – if you don’t have anything good to say, watch out!

    • Ernest
      September 3, 2010 at 6:10 pm

      I feel that it we too have our own bubble we live in. We live a life that is, whether you like the term or not, outside the norm. What is normal? Taking a rather evil but true defenition from Star Trek Generations, as Sauran has the blind engineer Geordi bound, Sauran asked Geordi why didn’t he just have his eyes fixed so he would look more normal. Geordi says to him the kind of response most of us say, just what is normal? Sauran says… normal is what everyone else is, but you aren’t. Our lives with our children is our norm. Those who do not have to deal with the challenges of our kids, have their normal. Whenever you are faced with someone that says such things to our kids, remember, even though autism is talked about on TV and there are a handful of movies about those with autism, it… is… NOT… THEIR norm. They react with anger because they came out looking for a nice quiet evening after a day of whatever they went through, and that norm has been disrupted. We through years of dealing and working with our kids have figured out ways to except how our children act, they however, don’t have to. It’s not their kids, it’s ours. Yes let them know that our child is Autistic and our child does not communicate in the ways most people are used to. We are not what they are used to. Also, do not expect someone to feel bad hearing that our child is Autistic, or change their perspective. They are human just like the rest of us, including our children. We too have our own insensitive points because, we didn’t grow up have to deal with those that are as unique as the kids we have… but wait, yes we have. Though not Autistic, we have dealt with kids our are at the time that did not do what the other kids did, or liked what the others liked… one doesn’t have to be Autistic to know what it is like to feel or be different or be outside what is normal. Just got to keep our heads about things and learn to except and understand those that does not understand, because our child do see who we deal, and they do still learn from us.

  29. September 3, 2010 at 11:08 am

    I was recently on vacation with my family and we went to what we thought was a family friendly restaurant but it turned out to be an upscale steak-house. We were seated in the “family” section of the restaurant. Our seven year old son with autism behaved very well but always vocalizes quite loudly. A middle-aged couple was seated next to us, obviously a little surprised to also be in the “kids” section. After a few sideways glances at my son, I leaned over and said, “I won’t be offended if you change tables, my son can be a bit loud.” They immediately said “not at all, we understand”. They stayed and even complimented us on our parenting and the fact that we brought our son to a restaurant and how difficult it must be. They reminded us of how wonderful and understanding people can be. I hope this encourages all families to continue to bring your children into the community.

    • Adult with Autism
      September 3, 2010 at 2:19 pm

      I like this. See, you were in the family section. That’s a safe-zone. :) What nice people too. How Zen!

  30. September 3, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Staring at her won’t cure her Autism. use the time to count your blessings and work on your social skills.

    • Victoria
      September 3, 2010 at 11:26 am

      BRAVO!

    • Cathy
      September 3, 2010 at 12:06 pm

      LOVE THIS!

    • Jo-Ann
      September 3, 2010 at 3:39 pm

      Oooooh, I like that one.

  31. Jay
    September 3, 2010 at 11:12 am

    So are all ya’all saying that the “needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many?” I think there are two sides to these stories.

    • Stacy
      September 3, 2010 at 12:09 pm

      Not that the needs of one outweigh the needs of many, but if you can’t handle being in a restaurant with children, whether they have autism or not, go elsewhere.

    • Mikev9359
      September 4, 2010 at 12:34 am

      not at all Jay. It’s just that people need to be tolerant and a bit less rude themselves.

  32. karen van-dam
    September 3, 2010 at 11:12 am

    i have an autistic son who is six years old and he cant control his voice either and people stare at him too and i tell them strait out that he has autism and they go back to what there doing i think people should tell people what there children have and not hide it.

    • Mikev9359
      September 4, 2010 at 12:32 am

      I agree 1,000% Karen. I have found when you are str8 up with people about it, the sideways glances and the whispers stop. You cannot tell by appearance if someone has autism and this is why many people get annoyed when someone acts up or speaks loudly. However, once they are told, their whole attitude seems to change. At least that was what I experienced almost all of the time.

  33. jill gray
    September 3, 2010 at 11:17 am

    Amen! A couple months ago. We took my son grocery shopping… and a similar thing happened. My son is autistic and 5 years old. My son was upset about his pullup leaking. I cant blame him, I would be upset too. This man got in my son’s face and told him that he needed to be taken to the woodshed… and then did the same to me. I said nothing. A mistake I regret. I was dumbfounded, embarrassed, and angry in all a matter of 5 minutes! People really need to wake up and read up on autism.! Thank you for sharing your story

    • Adult with Autism
      September 3, 2010 at 2:21 pm

      Wholly crap! Now that man violated your boundaries! Not cool.

    • Lori
      September 3, 2010 at 3:00 pm

      OMG! Some people are just plain rude. I would have said I think you need to mind your own business or I will take YOU out behind the woodshed!

    • Jo-Ann
      September 3, 2010 at 3:47 pm

      OMG, your story reminds me of the old coot that slapped an 18 month old child for crying in a Wal-Mart. I try to remember the values I was taught by my parents and usually refrain from losing my temper in public but NO ONE has the right to be so confrontational with a child, whether or not he or she has autism. It is foolish to poke a mama bear and I shudder to think what I would have done to the man getting in my son’s face.

      • Lanita Donhowe
        September 3, 2010 at 6:14 pm

        I love that comment about the mama bear: “It is foolish to poke a mama bear…” I think I’ll use it if you don’t mind?

      • Victoria
        September 3, 2010 at 6:40 pm

        I KNOW what I would have done! When he picked his ‘ask” up off the floor, I would have done it again!

    • September 3, 2010 at 6:10 pm

      Jill,what a warrior you are ,you are a better person than I. The first incident I read and commented on, I said “hit them with a prayer ,not a chair”. But in your case ,God Bless you ,because I can learn from you.
      If someone got “in OUR faces”, sorry but then I would call what I have nicknamed the “Terror Squad” , my son’s big (very) brother and his even bigger friends.
      My son is 24 and high functioning with ,tics and quirks. Let someone get in my or his space/face…
      I pray for the strength not to get dragged out of that place by NYPD,,,We would get a can of bronx whoop axx…
      You are an example of the Power of patience and virtue.

      Vicki from Da Bronx

    • September 3, 2010 at 6:24 pm

      Jill ,bless your patient (and shocked) soul…Had that been myself and my son, and someone actually got in our face/space..OMG..
      The ‘Terror Squad'(borrowed from Fat Joe) as I have nicknamed my eldest son and his quite large friends,would have wrecked that place and that guy! Bless your fight/flight response and you “fled” that is an ok thing to do….
      The easy thing is to lash out…Hopefully there would never be a ‘next time’ for you to deal with.
      Or I shall send the “terror squad’ on your behalf (j/k).
      We are always taking up the ‘sword’ for our loved ones.
      May God give me and us the strength to do so…and to enlighten people.

      Victoria 3 from The Bronx

  34. Jodi
    September 3, 2010 at 11:22 am

    I have a child with autism as well, and I have had similar things happen. People say the most heartless and cruel things, and what’s sad is they don’t even know they are saying it, and what even hurts more as your child gets older they begin to understand what’s being said about them. My son swears a LOT. Every other word is a swear word, it is nearly impossible to take him anywhere right now, because of this swearing. I have had CPS called on me and the police called numerous times for his swearing. I will not sequester myself or my family, because someone is unable to cope with meaningless utterances of my child. I’m sorry you had to go through this. But for every time I’m disappointed by the way people react to my child, I’m also surprised too.

  35. Kendra
    September 3, 2010 at 11:22 am

    I admit I never understood before I had kids why parents would walk down the middle aisle at the grocery store with the cart or let their kids run around in the lobby of a office theater etc. But I kept my comments to myself since I didnt have kids, I just stayed away if I didn’t want to deal with the noise drama etc. Now that I have a child with Aspergers and Muscular Dystrophy and a willfull toddler I am much more understanding. I still don’t comment, even at the things I see such as underware hanging out of outerware, rudely texting or talking on cell phones while holding up lines or blocking walkways, I just go about my business. Wish others would too!!
    Kids are kids, we are trying to teach them to be good adults. To those people(you know who you are) When you are rude and thoughtless what do you think you are teaching the children around you????

  36. kimberly rivera
    September 3, 2010 at 11:25 am

    I’m so glad you shared your experiance with everyone!!I cried just because i know the feelings of not being able to get the words out.Ive defintley been there:( I just wish for one day people could just walk in our shoes:)Each day brings new hope for us:)Autism is a way of being.It is pervasive;it colors every expierience ,every sensation,perception,thought,emotion and encounter,every aspect of existence.

  37. Angela
    September 3, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Ellen Mulligan :
    My reply to people like that is “My son has autism and your ignorance is showing”

    I’ve used that and “My son isn’t rude or naughty, He’s Autistic…What’s your excuse?” That gets them to shut up….I used to be really sensitive about my sons autism when he was first diagnosed that I would jump all over someone who starred or made a snide comment.

    • stephanie
      September 3, 2010 at 2:19 pm

      Jennifer, thanks for sharing. I cried too. My daughter is 6 now, high functioning, but still cannot bear to go on elevators and so there is usually a scene when she needs to. I know exactly what you mean when they are crying because they are going out the wrong way of a building—not crying for a toy or throwing a tantrum. There are usually looks but I haven’t had to confront anyone… yet.

      Ellen, I haven’t had to use it, but that was the exact response I came up with in case one of these situations arises. “My beautiful daughter happens to be autistic. What is your excuse?”

      My child has changed me and made me less judgmental of others. If they could see what our families have gone through–endless therapy–speech, OT, PT, doc appointments, managing daily life so these kids can navigate it, maybe they would be a little more tolerant of a loud child.

    • Monica
      September 3, 2010 at 4:02 pm

      SMART RESPONSE!

  38. Clare
    September 3, 2010 at 11:26 am

    This has happened to us many times. It’s such a horrible feeling.
    Whenever any makes a comment about my son’s odd behavior or the
    volume of his voice I snap at them and say ” his problem is autism, WHAT’s YOURS!?!
    That shuts them up every time.

  39. Lisa Masters
    September 3, 2010 at 11:35 am

    Unfortunately, the elderly are from a generation that more often than not, are not tolerant towards any humans who are different; from those having autism, to interracial marriages to being gay. Fortunately they will die out and our future generations will become much more tolerant. My son is 15 and my daughers are in college and we have been where you all have. I have also seen change. Positive change. Look to the future and be grateful for Autism Speaks and The Autism Society of America for the awareness they continue to bring each day. Emmy night was a great night for autism. I now defend any person (young or old) who behaves unuasually and say there is a little bit of autism in all of us.

  40. Becky Davis
    September 3, 2010 at 11:45 am

    I completely understand the feeling! We were at the Black Bear Jamboree in the Smokeys and they seated us with this groughy older couple. My son Chris has autism and the lighting in the theater just kept upsetting him when the scenes would change. He was a little squirm but still being very good in my opinion. This guy yelled at me telling me to scold him. The wife said you have no control over him! I was so upset! I wanted to tell them off so bad! But at the same time I was about to burst into tears.
    You would think adults would have the intelligence to mind their own business but that will never be the case. We just have to love and cherish our miracles and tell anyone who doesn’t understand to bug off or get educated on the matter.

  41. Cass
    September 3, 2010 at 11:54 am

    I so understand what you’re going through. My son is now 12 and we still have “volume” issues at times. Like you, I apologize and explain that he has autism and this is generally well accepted and at times I’m asked to explain what autism is. This is an awesome opportunity to educate and make a person aware.

    I have in the past taken more extreme measures to educate ignorant people. When my son was about 4 and newly diagnosed I had had enough of the dirty looks and ignorant, mean comments. We were going through the grocery store and the flourescent lights were really setting him off. A pair of older women (see a pattern?) were behind us making nasty comments about my parenting skills and my son’s behavior. I picked him up and walked back to them and put him in their arms and said “you do better if you know so much about autism!” and turned to walk away. Oh the apologies! I retrieved my son and finished my shopping. I bet they think twice about judging any one else.

    Hang in there. You are not alone in this.

  42. Stacy
    September 3, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    I understand how you feel. My son is autistic son is 6. I’m am always shocked at how rude people are toward him, and me for being his mother. I, like you, wish people take a closer look at him and see what a wonderful, imaginative little boy he is, instead of just seeing his bouncing, and hearing his noise making. Just remember that your daughter is not the problem.

  43. Pat
    September 3, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    I take my grandaughter every where I go….I give no explanation for her behavioral…in some instances she’s no worst than so called “normal kids”..she’s a handful at times….she’s 6 and going into kindergarden…she’s a living being and she’s going to live life to the fullest…………………………….

  44. Pat
    September 3, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    I take my grandaughter every where I go….I give no explanation for her behavioral…in some instances she’s no worst than so called “normal kids”..she’s a handful at times….she’s 6 and going into kindergarden…

  45. Pat
    September 3, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    I take my grandaughter every where I go….I give no explanation for her behavioral…in some instances she’s no worst than so called “normal kids”..

  46. Amy
    September 3, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    Cafepress.com has wonderful Tshirts; I bought my son one. It says, “I have autism; what’s your excuse?” There are others, my favorite is “Autism is my superpower.”

    Your hurt and anger is normal.

    • Adult with Autism
      September 3, 2010 at 2:21 pm

      I freegin love this!

  47. kris hayhurst
    September 3, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Having been a parent of autistic kids, It’s made me much more sensitive to those around me, much in the way the article describes. Some people immediately Identify, some are clueless, and some say ‘ok’ or ‘that’s fine’, others will never be pleased-there’s no satifying them.

  48. Penney
    September 3, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    When our eldest daughter was younger, we would apologize to the waitstaff loudly, and say, “They have autism.” Experienced waitstaff have seen it all. As for the elderly patron: “My child was born with autism. That means she is precisely the way God intended her to be. If she’s good enough for Him, she’s good enough for the likes of you.” Yes, some believe the autism is caused by environmental factors, but it’s still a good line.

    • Lori
      September 3, 2010 at 2:44 pm

      Hi Penney,

      I love the response you give to people when they have issues with your daughter.

  49. Becky Slane
    September 3, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    I am a mother of an autistic 9 year old son, and I too have had MANY experiences just like that. Mine always happens in Wal Mart.There is one occasion that I will never forget, which happened in our local mall. I had taken Ethan to play for a while in the play area before it was time to take him to preschool. A lot of people go there to walk during the day, especially elderly people. When it came time to leave, Ethan had a very loud meltdown, and I couldn’t get a good enough hold on him to get him out of there. Two elderly ladies were walking by, and one turns around and looks at me with so much anger and says,” Is it necessary for him to scream so loud? Cant you control your child?” I just went straight to tears. I was so upset I couldnt speak. Finially another parent could see that what happened was wrong, and came over to help me gather Ethans things and help me get out the door. I apologized to her and explained that hes Autistic and this happens quite often, and that people just dont understand what it is like, until they walk in someone elses shoes that lives with it every day. I wish that I could have been able to just go off on her, but from that time on, I make sure that I jump right in as soon as I get the looks. We have to stand up for ourselves and our children. While we are on the subject of mean people, has anyone out there ever had the school principal call the police to the school(elementary) on your Autistic child??? Ours did last year. I guess that a whole other topic.

    • Lori
      September 3, 2010 at 2:41 pm

      Becky,

      I have been in your shoes–I don’t know how many times and I have only had 1 person in the last 2 1/2 plus years ask me (nicely I might add) if I needed help. Everyone else just wants to stare or make rude comments. Even though I’ve been there many times–alot of the times I am just like you –to flabbergasted to say anything & of course it comes to you after the situation calms down. In regards to the question you asked I haven’t had issues yet–but my son just started kindergarten this year. Take care and take it one day at a time.

  50. Billie jo Johnson
    September 3, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    I had a similar problem a few years ago, my son was not being really loud, sometimes it is non stop. A man a few table over told me to shut my kid up! I couldnt believe it I didnt know what to do, we got up and left because my son began to cry. I went and paid the bill then I went to my car and wrote this man a letter about my son so that he had to read it and think about and couldnt cut me off. Then I took it in to my waitress and asked her to give it to that rude man, she smiled and said she would be happy to. I dont know how he felt after reading it, but I hope it will make him think twice next time on how to handle that situation.

  51. Karen
    September 3, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    People will always think that they have the right to come up and offer “advice” or be downright nasty. My saying to them is this, “Wow thanks for your input. My son is autistic which explains some of his behavior, what’s your excuse?” I’m southern and I say this with the sweetest southern accent and a smile on my face. Either way, I’ve had people apologize to me or look at me blankly too. While it hurts when other people can act ugly towards you and your child…please know there are so many more of us out there that understand and smile knowingly at the “small everyday gifts” bestowed upon our children. Thanks for sharing your story!

  52. Leigh Anne
    September 3, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    My then-nine-year-old daughter came up with our family’s solution to Mean People In Public during a screaming blue hissy-fit pitched by my then-three-year-old daughter. My husband, who doesn’t handle public scenes very well anyway, was trying desperately to pick the kicking, screaming child up off the pavement at a family music festival as her siblings looked on. My older daughter, catching the eye of a disappoving onlooker, smiled her biggest smile and said, “Don’t mind us–we’re just having an autism moment!” She later reported, “Mom, once I said that, everyone went from mean to nice–one lady even asked if there was anything she could do to help!” I’ve tried the line myself, and it is amazing how rapidly the mood changes once people understand the situation.

    • Lori
      September 3, 2010 at 2:33 pm

      Leigh Anne–just read your comment and thought that was a fantastic response by your older daughter! She deserves a huge hug for standing up for her sister!

    • BlessedMom
      September 3, 2010 at 2:46 pm

      I love that! “Don’t mind us–we’re just having an autism moment!” Thanks, I am definitely going to use it!

    • Janet
      September 4, 2010 at 11:51 am

      Love it! I’m a special ed teacher, and may use that one myself! Blessings to all of you and your Autism power.

  53. Kathy Reid
    September 3, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    My daughter is in Kindergarten and I had this same experience last weekend. Thanks for telling this story. I know I am not alone.

  54. Amy
    September 3, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    hi,
    my son just turned 3 and is also a “screecher”. 99% of the time he does it because he is HAPPY, but sadly we also get the looks from other people that don’t understand why we can’t just make him be quiet. I want to scream along with him, saying “HE CAN’T TALK YET!!” and “LOOK, HE’S JUST MAKING THAT NOISE BECAUSE HE’S SUCH A HAPPY KID!!” What others see as annoying, I see as my happy little man. Yes, of course we try to get him to stop, and sit quietly, and use an inside tone, but I always also think that surely those people would rather hear a happy screech than a crying tantrum!!

  55. alicia james
    September 3, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    My son is almost 4 and has autism and it is almost impossible to take him anywhere. Once when we were at Perkins for breakfast he was throwing a tantrum because he was hungry and they hadn’t brought us our food yet. There was an elderly couple sitting next to us that called the waitress over and very loudly pointed to us and asked if they could be moved. After our meal as we were leaving the lady said that I should really learn to get a handle on him or it’s only going to get worse. I was mortified! I looked at her and said “my son has autism. He can’t HELP it.” And then I walked away. Its sad that so many people are so unaware of what we parents go through with our autistic children. My son make just look like some unruly kid in public, but he’s so special to me and it breaks my heart how judgemental and cruel people can be.

  56. Peggy
    September 3, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    How heartbreaking for you. That might have been me at onetime, but after the blessing – and I do mean blessing for me – of having 2 grandsons with autism, I look at “misbehaving” children in a whole different light. They are a blessing for me, because they have taught me about patience and awareness of parents and what kind of people they run into everyday. And their parents, my son and daughter-in-law – well I can’t say enough about how wonderful they are with the boys! My best to your family!

    • angie
      September 3, 2010 at 2:36 pm

      It happened to me at a football game this past Friday, the guard came up to me and told me that my son needed to sit down, i was like are you serious? This is a football game, an outside event with people screaming. He just kept an eagle eye on us throughout the game. It upset me soo much, i try to control my anger and comments, but it is soo hard. Do I need to place a label on my child so people can keep their mouth shut.

  57. Roxanne Artis
    September 3, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    I have had this happen in grocery stores and restaurants with my autistic daughter. One woman looked at my 3-year old baby girl and screamed angrily at her, saying “EXCUSE ME!!” when my daughter screamed. I explained to this woman and the crowd of onlookers who had turned to stare at the commotion that my daughter has autism. The rude woman felt ashamed and apologized, rudely at best) but I could not help but wait for her outside the door after sending my husband to the car with my kids. I was going to literally beat the **** outta this woman!! (my reaction surprised and bothered me) Thankfully she exited through another door, but I decided then to print cards with a short apology and a short explanation as well as website address where more info can be accessed, and hand them out to anyone who decided to make a comment or stare at my daughter. This way I can be an advocate for my daughter in a more positive way and help to educate the community I live in one person, and one encounter at a time.

  58. stephanie
    September 3, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    I had an experience like that at Target. I had an elderly couple block me from going down an aisle and asking me to leave the store because my daughter was crying due to being spoiled. I was speechless. I told them my daughter’s situation and they said that she was spoiled. I don’t think older people know or understand what Autism is. Thank goodness some other moms were there to back me up. I felt my blood boiling and I did want to cry. Then I understood that they were the ones with the problem. If they are so unhappy with their lives that they feel a need to stop me in a store, then I feel sorry for them. Blessings to you and your wonderful child.

  59. Jennie
    September 3, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    This kind of judgemental misunderstanding is especially tough when it happens within my immediate family….

  60. Charlotte Winters
    September 3, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Yes, I’ve also had my share of mean people. I know quite alot of eldery folks. I really don’t know I guess certain people once they reach a certain age lose there sensitivity chip. They are usually judgemental about everyone and everyhing though.

  61. Charlie
    September 3, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Some people do not know what it is to have manners, even if you do not like whatever, the personal morals and certain etiquettes (or lack there of) that I see of some are simply horrifying to me, yet better judgement prevents me from of course telling people like these how miserable their lives must be if they act this way. It makes me think of a quote I like which I feel is appropriate here. “The virus of hate infects the ignorant mind”

    • Vicky Z.
      September 3, 2010 at 9:19 pm

      Charlie,

      Do you have an autistic child? If we are all walking around trying to out perfect each other, out special children, whom we are advocating for, will not get the help from their parents that they need. It gets easier with time. My autistic son is 19, and so I have had too many of these experiences to begin to share here. And, I have reacted in all kinds of ways to the insensitivity of others, but to walk around trying to prove to others that I’m above them, when my child is helping them feel so superior to me, it’s just too stupid. We have to speak up for our children. We have to be strong and not care what others think of our kids or our feelings or what we say back to them. With practice and time, we get better at it and more and more of the elderly, overly sensitive bitties will die off. Autism was hidden and wasn’t as prevalent in the olden days. My own parents, my son’s grandparents, are not nice about him. Children were heard and not seen, and that could be why so many people in the world are so unhappy. The world is getting better and Autistic people are adding to that improvement. But to be all pretentious, and try to one up each other is silly. One of the basic differences between the autistic and non autistic is that those without autism can pretend. They can pretend to be nice, well mannered, better than others, perfect, etc… Let’s not miss the gift that an autistic child in the family gives us. We all need to get off our high frickin’ horses and be ourselves more often. Let’s all get real, and thank our autistic people for broadening our perspectives.

  62. Kristina
    September 3, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Next time that happens, go up and confront them back. I’ve gone up to people and told them that their judgmental staring and rude comments hurt my feelings and I welcome them to do a better job. In fact, encourage them to take your job for a day and let you judge how well they’re doing. See how fast they close their mouths. After eight years of being stared at, I’m no longer putting up with people’s ignorance.

  63. Curt
    September 3, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Sprry for you to have gone through that…there are entirely too many folks out there with absolutely ZERO perspective. I have to keep reminding myself of that as I navigate life or else they win – I have been dealing with a perpetual nag up the street from me, it seems every time I bring my son into the establishment with me, she has to ask how old he is…only to act surprised and then continue to compare his size to other children his age…my son has Kabuki, which is a different syndrome altogether, but the perspective issue remains the same.

    recent quote helps me…got it from Invictus where Nelson Mandela says “forgiveness frees the soul, removes fear. That is why it is a very powerful weapon”…
    I dont think those types of people will EVER ‘go away’…so its up to us, as always, to understand and compensate for all.

    my best to you and family – you are blessed

  64. Angela Roberts
    September 3, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    I have a daughter with autism, too, and have endured numerous stares and rude comments when we’re out in public. Then, another mom told me about a comeback she gives to someone making judgmental, ignorant comments. She simply says, “Oh, thank you for the advice. You must be the expert I’ve been looking for. How long have you been working with autistic children?”

    • Becky Davis
      September 3, 2010 at 11:50 pm

      I love that response! I hope I can remember it the next time we have issues with a know it all smart mouth!

  65. Jen
    September 3, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    I have meet some pretty mean people also. My mother-in-law almost hit a women because she had made a rude comment about my son how also has autism

  66. Adult with Autism
    September 3, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    Maybe the elderly couple also have high-functioning autism. As an adult with autism, even though I can reason that it is the autism…I can’t stand screeching noises. They do hurt like knives in my ears. I would have stood up and left. In my wisdom I would know that you couldn’t help it, but I have my condition too.

    I wanted to respond and point out that -many- adults have Autism-like features. At least the asked you to try to calm your little girl down. I’m wise enough to know, that my tolerance may have been less.

    But in my defense, I go out well after 9pm. So most children are sleeping at home when I go out. I sit away from other people in restaurants, and account for the child’s age. Some Screeches are painful to me but I can reason with myself and not react. (leave)

    The last time I heard a screeching child, for a moment my brain interpreted the noise as the roof collapsing on the building. It took me a moment to realize it was an unmanaged child running through the store. “fun with Autism” I said.

    Remember, you are sharing the world with other Autisitc people.

  67. Steve
    September 3, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    I would have given the old fart a piece of my mind on behalf of the family — and it would have been meaner than she could have imagined. And by the way, I am fortunate enough not to have an Autistic child yet I will defend them any chance I get. Take your daughter everywhere and take it to the bastards who object; none of them know just how fortunate they are.

  68. Marla
    September 3, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    I can sympathize with you. I’ve encountered similar situations and at least one that was very hateful. I am sorry you experienced this heartache.

    I would like to caution you against using generalities to include all autistic children. This is a very wide spectrum. I take issue with your statement, “If any of you have an autistic child you know how they cannot control their volume very well.”

    I do have an autistic child, but he controls his volume fine. He has other challenges that your child may or may not have. Please don’t write things that try to force others to see all autistic children as the same or having the exact problems of your child. That is simply not the case.

    • Vicky Z.
      September 3, 2010 at 9:27 pm

      How mean is this! Most autistic people have a difficult time with volume perception Marla. We need to agree that autism can be difficult for non-autistics, no matter what the particular behaviors are.

      • Marla
        September 7, 2010 at 10:12 pm

        I don’t see that it is mean at all. My child is autistic. He does not have trouble with volume control nor is he sensitive to sounds. I was at a birthday party Saturday with 10 autistic kids. It was a quiet party. I didn’t see any with volume issues. My point is this is a wide spectrum. Yes, some kids do have sound/volume issues, others do not. Don’t paint kids on the spectrum into a corner with generalities.

  69. Toni Pederson
    September 3, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    People have a hard time being around children period. There are people who at the slightest misbehavior of any child, will complain or be rude. Unfortunately, people are still very judgmental especially when it comes to children. They think they can put in their “two cents” or even have a right to. Your response was warranted and appropriate. My son who has autism is 16 now, and there have been many times that I may have been curt in response to ugly glances or rude comments. The fact is when you explain your child has autism, the other judgmental
    person does not know how to respond b/c of their ignorance.
    Kudos for your courage and don’t let the idiots get you down.

  70. coles-mom
    September 3, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    My son with autism is 13 now. And, he is still very loud; clueless as to what an “inside voice” is! I used to be mortified when people stared or made comments about him. I always shot back “he’s autistic and cannot help it.” Now, I gauge my respnose by whom I’m responding to. If the person is simply ignorant, I will educate; but if the person is stupid, I don’t waste my breath! No one knows what it is like to walk in our children’s shoes, or in our shoes. We do the best we can!

  71. Lanita Donhowe
    September 3, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Consider this: If you have never been around a child with Autism, they seem rather weird. My grand-daughter, Ava is seven and does not talk yet. She also screeches like Sierra when she is excited and having fun. She is quiet much of the time, so the screeches (although they hurt my ears, too), are a welcome change to the total silence. I have found that people want to know about Autism. Usually I end up explaining it a few times to different people every time we go somewhere with Ava. I consider it a privilege and an obligation to pass on the knowledge I have gained about this disability just because I can! If you don’t explain it to people like these two “old farts”, who will? Have you never reacted to something strange that maybe scared you a little? That’s all these women were doing, reacting to something that frightened them a little. If we all adapt the attitude “walk a mile in my shoes”, I think we will all be better off. We have to keep spreading the news about Autism, because we need our kids to grow up in a more accepting world, and because if people know how to help, they usually will.

  72. Patrick Brislin
    September 3, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    My son is 14 and has autism. He paces, talks to himself and yes talks loud. I guess we have gotten used to the stares but no one has ever said anything to us. If they did I would have my 14 year handle it in his most “tells it like it is” voice. That would definately shut them up.

  73. Jeanne Wilson
    September 3, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    Your daughter is one of God’s blessings. It is sad that people are so unforgiving in this world as to be angry with any child – autistic or not. Though you must have been seething you handled yourself with dignity – you can be proud of your daughter and yourself! Your story is so touching – and very familiar to many – please consider sharing it with a source external to the autism network…a newpaper maybe? Maybe that very ignorant woman or someone just like her, will read it and understand how hurtful her behavior is the next time she is out and a child is too loud for her. Educating those who have not been touched by autism is a key to opening doors for our autistic childrens’ futures.

  74. Becky
    September 3, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    I can TOTALLY understand how you were feeling at the time. Sometimes I have to remind myself that my angel is (supposedly) the “different” one. His food aversions can be quite overwhelming, especially going out. BUT–we did get an OT eval and treat for food aversion, and it helped tremendousely. Does he eat lots of things, no. But his “menu” has expanded to where we can go places and not have the melt-downs nearly as bad. He’s now in 5th grade, and this fall we are going on a two-night campout with the Boy Scouts–please pray for us, as I have absolutely no idea what the menu is going to be! Keep your chin up, hon. I’ve eaten in restaurants with “normal” kids that behaved so badly even MY angel noticed! I just smile and say, been there—I guess tonight it’s your turn!”

  75. amy
    September 3, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    Your story is my story. I feel constant stress and anxiety about taking my 7 year old out in public. I have to many stories that end in my tears to relate at this time. I thought it would get easier but it’s getting worse. The situation is exhausting and very emotionally unhealthy. There seems to be no volunteers that could give me some semblance of a normal family life and the stress is really taking a toll on my family.

  76. Beth
    September 3, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    I am not defending or supporting that ignorant rude woman, but sad to say that the norm these days is that the majority of parents do nothing to control their children or teach them how to behave in public so I think the public’s response is to just believe that any child who appears to be acting out is one of those children. I’m not talking about children with autism, I understand that is a completely different situation, I’m talking about kids who are the boss of their parents and don’t have any boundaries or expectations. My heart breaks for you that you had to suffer such intolerance. There is a very special place in heaven for people like you and a special place in hell for people like that nasty woman.

  77. Jason
    September 3, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    I can totally relate to this, my son Jason, Jr. is 7 and he has the same issues when it comes to crying because he can’t communicate his needs to us. We get stared at constantly, and get dirty looks just about every time we go out to eat at a restaurant. I have flat told people myself, “my son has autism, what your excuse?” They look at me like I am the crazy one, but I have gotten used to it. It does break my heart that I know my son sees them staring at him, and I can’t imagine how it makes him feel. I know it makes him feel bad because usually he starts yelling or crying even louder, and he will grab his head and duck down in the seat yelling and crying. I just feel horrible, I want to get up and smack those people! I am getting upset just thinking about it. All I know is when we get home I just give him a hug and hold him and tell him how much I love him and how wonderful he is. I just don’t want him to feel upset by what other people say or think about him, they are just ignorant, rude people!

  78. Rita
    September 3, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    A number of years ago, a woman in a grocery store suggested I should get a sitter whenever I needed to shop—ever since then, I’ve wished I had said, “Is that what YOUR mother had to do?” People who haven’t lived with short funds and long needs have no concept that there IS NO SAFE sitter who is willing to work for a few hours when you need them to help out so you can do things you have to do every day to keep a family fed, clothed, etc.—even if you could afford that luxury!

    As for the woman who told me (25 years ago) that I should breast-feed my baby with a towel over his head in a small, smelly restaurant bathroom, I DID suggest she eat her dinner that way and see how she liked it!

    Some things will never change but we encounter fewer jerks and mean people now than 20 some years ago, when that was the “norm” when trying to bring up a child with severe behavior problems due to developmental issues, not due to the parents’ failure to mistreat them enough to “control” them!

  79. September 3, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Good for you for being your daughter’s voice. I learned a long time ago to speak up where my son was concerned. Initially it was difficult. I think it is human nature to want to be apologetic when you are still learning to cope with these behaviors yourself. I think that society has to understand that our children have a right to a full life which means social interaction. If they are uncomfortable then they should have asked for different seating. We go through enough as parents to not be obtrusive on others and live our lives, our children deserve the same respect that others want for themselves! Again, good for you! Your daughter is a lucky little girl to have you advocating for her!

  80. Cher
    September 3, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Bless your heart. Keep up your courage and continue to be the best advocate you can for your daughter.

  81. Lori
    September 3, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Your story made me cry and mad at the same time! That woman was a complete idiot! I have been in your shoes before. My son is 5 1/2 and was diganosed a week after his 3rd birthday. I remember us being in a family restaurant and having a couple that was sitting near us ask the wait staff if they can move because that “little boy is being to loud and shouldn’t be allowed in a restaurant”. The wait staff did move them–however we are very well known at this restaurant and the wait staff told us what they said. My husband nearly lost his mind—he was nice but very blunt and said very loudly so the whole restaurant could hear–” I guess you’ve never heard of autism before”. The wait staff thought it was fantastic that we said that and thought we should have said more—but we needed to keep it nice. What they didn’t know was my son was just making noise trying to communicate and he also has issues with waiting. They also didn’t see the fact that my husband had just barely brought him back into the restaurant after walking outside–while our food was cooking. He just happened to come back in a few minutes to early! Please don’t let that one ignorant person dicate what you can or can not do with your daughter in public. People with autism are just like the rest of us and deserve to be treated with respect! They shouldn’t be “punished” for something that they have no control over. We continue to take my son out to eat or whatever and we still get looks/comments from people—but now we are not afraid to say something to someone if they are being rude. You take care of that little girl–she is a special gift!

  82. Aunt to an autistic child :)
    September 3, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    I have a 5 year old autistic nephew, Nathaniel, and I hear my sister in your story. Thanks to my nephew I can pick up on autistic children all the time. Sorry you had to go through that, hopefully with time more and more people will have greater awareness of what autism is!

  83. Mindy Kaszerman
    September 3, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    I have been in this situation many times. I have 2 autistic children. The way I see it, I do my part. I go to casual restuarants at off hours. I do not take them out during “date times”. I bring something to busy them. People cannot choose to only interact with non diabled people when they go out. Disabled people live in this world too. We pay as much for our meal as you do. If you have problems with disabled people, maybe you don’t want to go out. I see kids with problems every where I go. We work on teaching them how to be appropriate in public. Maybe they are not the only ones who need help with this.

  84. diane
    September 3, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    i get that all the time my daughter is ten and is quite big for her size and she is the same way not yelling ans screaming because she can not have her way gut because of the routine change when happy she squells and laughs and is very active and loud you would love too see her brightness and in her eyes this beautiful child wants to be like evryone else and to her she is so you let your daughter be herself and never say your sorry for her just explain she is autistic and that is the way it is let them walk a minute in our shoes they would never say another word!!!!

  85. September 3, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    i believe most older people are uneducated about autism. they are unfamiliar with the behaviors of children with autism. in their day autism was not known. i think we should try to educate people when we have the chance. most people would be so much more understanding if they were aware of a developmental issue.

  86. Anne
    September 3, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    Me if I have someone so rude to my Kristin I will explain that she is disabled and then ask them what their disability is.

  87. bev
    September 3, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    I want to stick up for all concerned. I understand through granddaughter, all about problems of Autism.
    At 69 & 72 we have no trouble sitting with grand kids. But we are in several
    OLDER ACTIVITIES; bowling, goldtimers, Red Hatters & others. Lots of these folks use hearing aids & lots of noise upsets them. They turn the aids down but can’t hear conversation.
    I guess the generations have always had conflicts. We are just having different problems of society.

  88. Melissa Cruz-Skaggs
    September 3, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    You are an awesome mom and as long as your little ones know it, nothing else matters. You would think with awareness and the modern times we live in people would get a grip. Unfortunetely, ignorance is a disability in itself! I have walked in your shoes, my son opens and closes freezer doors over and over at the grocery store and I sometimes can snap him out of it quickly and other times he is going to do what he does. When I wear shirts that have Autism stuff on them no one ever says a word to me about it, as if it’s shameful well shame on those that can’t open up their minds and hearts!

  89. BlessedMom
    September 3, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    There is nothing “wrong” with Sierra. She is different and there is nothing wrong with being different. What is wrong is being rude and judgmental and good for you mom for sticking up for your daughter. So many times we are ashamed or embarrassed to say “hey, my kid has autism so mind you business!”. I was in a large retail store checking out one day and my son had a fit because I had to give his DVD to the cashier and he couldn’t hold it anymore. He had carried it around the store for an hour while we shopped. The cashier said “I would have never been able to get that dvd acting like that!”. So I said “well that’s probably because you didn’t have autism and would have just been acting ugly!”. She apologized profusely and I just made it into a teaching moment. Like you said, not all children who are acting up are acting out because of bad manners. Keep teaching the masses, it’s exhausting, but it’s the only way they will learn.

  90. Helen
    September 3, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    The exact thing happened to my son and his Dad at a fast food restaurant. An older woman was throwing them judgmental looks and meanly asked Dad why my son couldn’t behave and be quiet. Dad replied “he’s autistic…what’s your excuse?”

  91. September 3, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    God give us these special children because we are special to him to in some kind of way. My daughter is 15 years old with austism. I had been is a lot similar situations in the pass and just learn that people act this way because they are ignorant. We will never see our children with the same eyes as they do. I know the pain of a mother in this situation. I want the world to know that i got a special daughter that i love. Thanks to austism speaks we all know that we not alone.

  92. Angela
    September 3, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Imagine when it is your own father who tells you your child just needs more discipline and that your child gets on his nerves

    • coles-mom
      September 3, 2010 at 5:19 pm

      Angela :Imagine when it is your own father who tells you your child just needs more discipline and that your child gets on his nerves

      I am so sorry your father feels this way. He is missing out on having a very special relationship with his grandchild.

      • Jeanie Sauerland
        September 4, 2010 at 12:38 am

        I’ve come to believe parents are fixers and the generation before us felt that with strong discipline and structure, everything worked. How well did he accept the diagnosis? Don’t know how old you parents are, but my parents never could accept that autism happens – not because you let them eat a cookie, or didn’t spank them enough, etc. Lots of theories – we just don’t know. It’s not about blame. How great the world would be if we could stop searching for someone/something to blame. If you can blame, you can control. And with autistic children, control is a fleeting thought . . .

      • M Durant
        September 4, 2010 at 10:20 am

        My father-in-law actually put his hands on my 15 yr old son in anger when he didn’t do as he was asked immediatly. I told him I would have him arrested if he did it again

    • Elizabeth
      September 4, 2010 at 1:01 am

      I keep clear (by several states) of my family because I know that will be exactly their reaction. They’ve never so much as seen my daughter and can’t tell who she is in pictures. If they passed her in a crowd they wouldn’t know her from the next kid and I am prefectly fine with this.

  93. Rose
    September 3, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    If someone decides to make a comment to my husband, myself or even my autistic daughter (who is only 9) I have only one response. I say “I’m sorry you don’t like how my kid is acting, well she has a disability called autism and can’t help it—I by the way don’t like how your acting, clearly you lack self control or you wouldn’t be opening your mouth to give your unwelcomed and uneducated opinion to a total stranger–last I checked rudeness was not a disability–just a character flaw!!!!” If the person would like to continue this debate I then inform them that if autism is on the rise with 1 out of 100 (and growing) for them to get used to my childs behavior cause in a few years there will be more of them then us!!!!! ////mommy with 4 girls on the spectrum\\\\\\

    • Z's mommy
      September 6, 2010 at 9:12 pm

      Awesome response! I have to write that down for future use!

  94. September 3, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    It is sad that people are “still” so ignorant about Autism and also mental and physical illness. I see the world trying but it is not enough. People that have never walked in your shoes should just keep quiet, because they have no idea how sweet and wonderful your child really is.
    I am so sorry you had to experience that woman’s ignorance. You are right, she was a coward, in more ways than one.
    I drove special needs children for 15 years and some of the most beautiful children I have ever seen were my riders, and I still remember each and everyone of them and the gifts they possessed.
    I will pray for that woman and maybe God will grant her the wisdom to see the error of her ways, and I will pray for you and your child to one day “never” have to go through anything like that again.

  95. Emily Criddle
    September 3, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    I have an 8 year old son with autism. I have been there…all of your comments about the tears, the stunning remarks, the in-your-face retorts, it’s all part of the autism ride. Thank you so much for sharing your stories with me. I felt part of a circle of people who “know.” I have five kids, four of which have all different special needs. Once when I only had three kids, I was with my sister who had two kids herself. We had an incident at a restaurant, a very family-friendly place that was mostly deserted. We had been travelling all day and finally stopped for dinner. We didn’t even get to look at our menus before the two elderly couples at the table behind us rudely asked each other why we couldn’t have sat somewhere else. My husband and I turned around and said, “Hey!” at the same time. My husband then said very clearly, “We can move, if it would make you more comfortable. Believe me, we would be glad to move.” They all turned their noses up and said “No, no, we’re fine.” As soon as the watiress came to us with our menus, we asked loudly to move somewhere away from cranky old people. The oldies were so indignant! We took our brood and moved across the restaurant where we let our children be as loud as they wanted, and the few teens seated near us played with our kids, making faces back and forth, and it was great. And that wasn’t even over my son’s autism- it was just because we had kids! We’ve had our share of “autism moments” and they are not pretty. But at the same time, it’s so fun to watch them in their happiness. They have a way of purely expressing their feelings, which we could all learn greatly from. I’m proud of my five children, and of my four with their “needs” that make LIFE so special.

  96. Kristina
    September 3, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    In my case I do not have a child – I AM the person with Asperger’s Syndrome and I AM the one who gets stared at, odd looks, not invited to people’s homes a second time, have few friends, and even relatives who avoid me. At 46 you can’t imagine how lonely and self-conscious it is to exist in a world ignorant of the autism spectrum. At least there is some hope for children with some programs and therapy finally coming out. However, to date I have found NOTHING in support or assistance for adults. I’ve got news for the world – childen eventually will become adults with austism/asperger’s – is anyone out there working on ideas to help the grown-ups? This doesn’t just go away when the children turn 18.

    • coles-mom
      September 3, 2010 at 5:22 pm

      Kristina I worry about my son’s future every day. I am sorry for your hurt dealing with “neuro-typicals”! In our are, our special recreation groups have many activities for adults on the spectrum, such as Friday night clubs, outings and even trips. Is that a possibility in your area?

      • Kristina
        September 7, 2010 at 2:01 pm

        If there are, I have not been able to find them. So far, there are plenty of groups for PARENTS and even GRANDPARENTS but nothing yet for the adults who have AS themselves. Closest yet is a hook-up group for teen AS girls but that is not helpful for my age group… LOL. I’ve found that older folks seem afraid of AS so even if they might have it, they don’t want to admit it. I guess it will take time before enough education about it spreads to affect a change. Thanks for your reply.

    • Vicky Z.
      September 3, 2010 at 9:51 pm

      Dear Kristina,

      Very well said. I have worried that it seemed as my son got older, everything for autistic people was for the youngsters. It isn’t right. My husband and I know that we have to help people with autism. Thank you for your message.

    • Mike
      September 7, 2010 at 7:21 pm

      Kristina, I know exactly where you are coming from….and I didn’t really get diagnosed until recently (around my 50th birthday – about 2 years ago). At least now I know “why” I seem to offend some people, and make others nervous and such….it is hard finding any groups for adults. I have “heard” that the local hospital holds one, but have been unable to find anything out about them….maybe they combine their meetings with the meeting of the overly paranoids and won’t give out location, time or what not. *shrug*

  97. duncan
    September 3, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    I’m sorry to hear of your unfortunate incident with the ignorant ladies. I have a nephew who has autisim and is now 25. He has a heart of gold and is probably one of the most positive persons I know. It was heartbreaking to see all the challenges he, his brothers and their parents (my sister) went through in order to make his life easier and as normal as possible. From what I could see, they took every resource entitled and or available to ensure my nephew could lead as improved life as possible. He well surpassed what was expected of him. I hope and pray this will be the case for you and your daughter. You are no doubt an angel and it sounds like your daughter is another happy soul just like my nephew.

  98. Pam
    September 3, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    My son who has Aspergers with co-morbid medical problems and other LDs and Mental Health issues is now 17. When we started at age 3 he had no voice what so ever. He was angry and frustrated because he was so aware of everthing but could not share. Years later he discribed what was happening inside of him those years without language… He now speaks well sometimes a monologue! He too has faced mean ugly minded people he too feels the pain and has a hard time with perseveration. More than once he has been crticized in public, I usually step in and say he has a disability called Aspergers… then I say the biggest disability of all is a cold and narrow heart… It stops them cold every time. My greatest wisdom is speak the truth and let no one play you like a Wurltizer with their ignorance … Dont make any excuses for your child state the facts and tell them the biggest disablity is a cold and narrow heart. BTW , We were on a vacation where we usually take out my aunt and cousin to an exclusive restaurant , my son was given a one week notice from his Dad and I that he could come or chose not too. By giving him time to process and reflect , he attended and a delightful time was had by all. Sometimes prep time helps with transitions.
    Be loving to yourselves and your family. Allow your children the time to grow up ,they do change dramatically. Parents are the source and strength of their child. Best wishes to all.

    • Janet
      September 4, 2010 at 12:17 pm

      Well said!

  99. Proud Momma :)
    September 3, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    I can totally relate. We’ve had several run-ins with ignorant people. I’ve had the looks, strangers yelling at my son, and even one woman got down in his face and yelled at him. I had to do everything in my power to keep calm. What happened? Her husband ran her toe over with the car in the grocery store. My son finds EVERYTHING funny, especially if someone says the word “ouch.” She said “Ouch, God #*$&*#%^!” so my son busted a gut loudly as we walked towards them. When we got ready to pass them, she got down to look him in the face and yelled “It’s NOT FUNNY!!!” Luckily my son (at the time) didn’t understand emotions and kept on laughing. Mind you, this entire time I still am trying to get him to stop laughing and still explain in to him. Which I do in hopes that one day that he’ll understand that pain hurts people and it’s not funny. I had to leave the grocery store bc that is one thing you don’t do… is get in his bubble. This was 5 years ago.

    One day last year he had a tantrum in the mall and a woman was on the phone. My son was screaming at the top of his lungs and she yells at him telling him to shutup. This is all while the security guard is eyeballing and following my friend and I out of the store.

    It still is hard to deal with, but these days I try to explain to them why he does some things if I see people are staring even if they don’t say anything. They can either choose to have compassion and listen or block me out. Most of the time they do once they know there is something wrong. It took me awhile to realize that others might not plainly see the “Autism” right away in my son. He is mild and appears to be a neurotypical until he starts squealing or hand-flapping.

    My best advice I give others is to take the chance to advocate. Don’t let it upset you as your children will see that. And don’t assume they don’t know what’s going on. It could very well be that they do, and just don’t know how or can’t show you that they do. We know this from the ones who communicate through devices.

  100. Hilde
    September 3, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    Our society is most unforgiving and far to quick to judge. While I am sorry that one or two diners behaved rudely, it pleased me to read that most were delighted with your “special gifts from God”. It is sad that some cannot see their beauty. It is certainly their loss. Our son is now 15 years old. We also suffered unwanted advice, rude remarks and baleful looks when he was younger and struggling to maintain his composure. Remain steadfast in your mission to love and support your children. Try not to be distracted by the ignorance of others. Heaven knows it can be tough, really tough. Good for you and your husband for sharing community experiences with your children. I applaud your efforts, which will pay off in the long run for all of you. I wish you all the best.

  101. Naomi
    September 3, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    We actually had the police called by another customer at a family restaurant. The policeman was very nice. Now we have a rating system: the police were not called today, it was a GOOD one!

    With 1/100 or more kids on spectrum it is extremely important that people see them out in public. These kids are part of the world’s new reality. Get used to it.

  102. Judith
    September 3, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    It seems that manners are a forgotten art. I can’t tell you how many times people stare at my mother who is wheelchair bound or our nieces who are both autistic. They don’t just give a quick look, they stare and stare and stare and stare. I used to blow it off but now I make it a point to comment, particularly when it’s a child who is old enough to know better or an adult who is just crass. And it’s amazing how upset people get when their inexcusable behavior is called to public attention…but then they stop, and, I pray, they think twice before they do anything that offensive again.

  103. For the love of Jimmy
    September 3, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    My son is 26 years old and like many who have written, some people just don’t think before they open their mouths. Good for you for the way you handled it. Your an inspiration to us all who deal with this all the time. I have been told many things like why do you bring him out, what sin did you commit, beat it out of him, make him stay quiet, fix him, do something. My answers are always, because if I don’t bring him out he will never learn how to cope outside the house. I committed no sin for this, what sin did you commit that made you so quick to judge. Ignorance is a disability also. Beat it out of him, just try it and see if your still alive when I’m through. Make him stay quiet, No. He has a right to be just as loud and bossy as your being right now. Fix him, yeah right. I am his mother, not God. Do something, I am. I am loving my son and showing him off no matter how he acts because I am proud of him. That elderly lady probably just never takes time to check her surroundings. A family where I live took their son to a local nice restaurant and a fellow patron tried to beat up the dad because the little boy was getting used to his surroundings loudly. Nothing was ever done to the patron who attacked the father. A lot of things needs to happen in this country. Hate laws should cover autistic people and their families/caretakers just like it does homosexuals or people of other cultures and races.

  104. Karen
    September 3, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Jennifer,
    So sad that this happened. So many people pass judgement so quickly with out even noticing how the Parents and the Child are dealing with the situation. When my Son was that age he also screamed a lot and was a runner. So many people would say things about him when we were out in public. I used to carry around some P.E.C.S pictures/words on my key ring to show them to him when I needed him to calm down. When people saw me doing that they sometimes realized that my Son had a problem communicating and other times they did not. One time in a 7-11 the clerk thought she should give my Son a lesson in manners and I had to tell her that he has Autism and he was actually doing very well in this situation. She had nothing further to say! Yes, if everyone could have some compassion instead of being judgemental the world would be a better place.

  105. Gloria Knapstad
    September 3, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    My heart aches for you. I had a friend once who disliked being placed near any child when we ate out together–frequently, she was polite but others knew she was annoyed. She didn’t need to be near an autistic child to be unhappy—just any child who did not behave to her standards. I do know people are mean, but perhaps they would be mean with any child. I tried to go to restaurants where where children seldom went but alas that didn’nt work either. At present t I am dealing with going anywhere and/or eating out with my husband who has Alzheimers and does unusual things and is given looks where ever we go. I have some understanding of your situation even though it is not my child.
    So I will pray for you and your daughter and ask God to help others see with eyes of love and underatanding. Hang in there Love does win!!!!!!! gloria

  106. Victoria2
    September 3, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    I really feel for you especially since your child was diagnosed pretty recently.
    Yes, there are incredibly rude, mean people who say ignorant and insensitive things to
    You in public. But for every complaining jerk, there might be a whole room full
    Of people who understand and are just going about their business.

    After a pretty hectic lunch with our autistic six year old, the waitress came and informed us some
    Gentleman across the room paid for our meal as he was leaving. My dress was cute but not that cute!

    You gotta let some of it go and try not to get too upset.

  107. Jen
    September 3, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    I am so sympathetic to you and this story! It is heartbreaking that people are so rude and close mninded in this day and age.
    I had something very similar happen to my son and I while we were at the beach. My son was running around in the sand and a few times stepped on someone elses vacant towel. I tried to stop him from doing this but it happened. The last time the woman sitting in that same area screamed at him to “STOP STEPPING ON MY DAUGHTERS TOWEL” Yes screamed at him!!! Luckily he wasn’t paying attention to anyone else because her screaming would normally have sent him into a meltdown. I just grabbed his hand and walked him down to the water where I stood fuming until she left. I wish I had been in the right mind set because she deserved to have a talking to but I knew I would cry and didn’t want to give her any kind of satisfaction. Some days I wish I could just put a shirt on my son that says “I’m not naughty i’m Autistic”

    • September 3, 2010 at 10:14 pm

      I posted a comment a little further down, but I have started making shirts for my own son that say things like “I have autism, what is your super power?” or some that say “WHAT?! Is my Autism showing?” :) fun ways to say things so people will just think for a split second before they be rude…

      I would love to make one for your son too ! fluffshop.etsy.com , come and join the wonderful world of SNARKY AUTISM SHIRTS hehehe

  108. nally
    September 3, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    Sorry to hear how hurt you were about this incident. I have a very good friend whose beautiful son is autistic. I have learned so much from her. Please have patience with those of us who have never had to go through your experience. Sometimes we just don’t recognize the situation. Especially as we age, many, I feel think that the “younger” generation is just allowing children to misbehave. Many of my generation and the ones before me have had a very diciplined upbringing and limited patience about dealing with unruly children. Unfortunately, your case was totally different. My friend is such an angel to go to those who don’t know about her son’s challenges and she, with a very sweet apology and explanation, usually wins a new friend and another person in this world who understands what you are experiencing. God Bless you for your courage and strength to have and cherish your special child.

  109. Katie Bryce
    September 3, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    There is an old woman who lives down my street that leaves poison on the grass by the street in an attempt to kill my dogs. Now keep in mind, this is not the grass in her yard…its on the other side of the sidewalk. None the less, I finally had enough one day and told her “Look lady, just because you are old does not mean you get to be a b*tch.” Ive always been taught to respect my elders, but lets face it…even old people can be a*s holes. (excuse the profanity, lol)

  110. LuvinmysonShaun
    September 3, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    I truly believe that there is a “reserved” spot in hell for idiots such as this guy and anyone else who would judge a child or adult with a special need. Idiot!!!

  111. Monica
    September 3, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    I had a similar story and it happened in Disney…of all places! My son used to watch anything that spins. He was particularly interested in fans. We were at Goofy’s Grill (not called that anymore) and we were sitting at a side counter and there was a man and a woman sitting at a table next to us. Well there was a fan spinning above them. My son walked over to their table and touched it only to look up to see the fan spinning. The couple gave him dirty looks and I quickly ran over to get him away. They looked at me like I was the worst mother ever and I said “Is there a problem?” They said, yes your son is annoying. My husband chimed in and told them that they shouldn’t have kids. Their answer was if we had to have kids like yours we wouldn’t want any. Well! I freaked. I told them I hope that you won’t because he has autism and he can’t help himself. Then I got in their face and told them to go eff themselves and I walked out. I must have cried for at least a half hour. I never thought people could be so mean. That was just one time out of the dozens I had experienced, but I send hugs to you because it is hurtful and uncalled for!

  112. Amy Curry
    September 3, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    This story breaks my heart. I have a healthy 21 month old boy, and every so often get jabs and parenting commentary from complete strangers. It just infuriates me, for the simple fact that it’s rude. I imagine it must be so much more difficult because your mama hen claws must be twice as sharp. I believe God gives the extra sharp ones to the moms he blesses with the more precious and fragile of His children who need super human protection from this cruel world. I’m glad you let her have it. And I’m proud of you for not becoming physically violent. THAT’S super human strength!

  113. Kim Mitchell
    September 3, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    Oh how we all can relate to this! I have the same stares and comments made about my son as well especially when he was younger. Only rarely do you speak to someone one truly understands what you’re going through. If you’ve ever read the poem, “Build Me A Bridge” it will certainly touch you. I always wonder what it must be like for my son, Bryan, to look through his eyes and see things. How would I feel if I looked through his eyes and he through mine. I, like many others, will apologize for Bryan’s behavior and offer an explanation that he’s not being ugly, it’s just simply how he’s made…special just like any other child! Keep going out to eat, going shopping, going wherever with your special child and enjoy every moment of it!!!

  114. Kelly
    September 3, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    Honestly, this kind of crap happens even with typical children. Case in point, I was at a matinee of the play “Peter Pan” and a little 3 year old girl was with her father in front of us. It was a play that was highly advertised for children, but we live in a very elderly place. So the little girl was whispering excitedly to her Dad and nibbling on a snack, but really being very, very good. The elderly man next to us kept grumbling and grumbling until he stood up, got in the father’s face and yelled “You have a very poorly behaved daughter, I want my money back!” and stormed out. It was so incredibly ridiculous and ironic really because Peter Pan is a play about “the evil grown ups” and how mean and grouchy people get when they grow up! LOL.
    So I have a daughter with autism and I too have gotten the stares and comments. Elderly people, though many are kind, can be the worst. I’m sorry this happened to the poster and I think we’ve all been there. One reason autism awareness is so very important!

  115. September 3, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    I do know how you feel. After taking 3 year old Caleb shopping for school clothes last week I wanted to cry. I too get the “will you control your child stares”. I am looking for a program to help me learn to handle him alittle better.

  116. Stuart Schnapp
    September 3, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Being the father of a 9-year-old autistic boy, I am happy to say that most of our experiences are the opposite. I find most people are very kind and accepting of my son (the fact that he is a very happy and good-looking child probably has something to do with that). I have had a few incidents and seen other people come to his defense. But there will always be ignorant and unaccepting people out there. If explaning that he is autistic and can’t help his actions doesn’t do it, I have taken it a step further… “Look, my son is austistic. He can’t help his actions. But you are an adult. So what’s your excuse for being so rude?”
    t

  117. Jackie
    September 3, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    Good for you for speaking up for your child who cannot. I have had similar things happen with my daughter. Give them an education on autism on the spot and I bet they won’t forget that. Use their ignorance as an awareness opprotunity!

  118. Cathy
    September 3, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s been there. I had someone tell me that they would know how to handle my son, implying that the answer was to spank him. And yes, this was an older lady. The older generation was taught that children should be seen and not heard, and if anyone couldn’t conform to the expectations of “polite society” that they shouldn’t go out into society. I hope that, as people become more aware of autism and are educated, this is changing. My son is 16 now, and it’s much easier. But when he was little, going out could be a nightmare and we had to choose carefully where we were going and decide if the hassle and what he might be put through by other’s expectations would be worth it. But usually, we’ve just gone on our merry way and learned to try to ignore most people who just don’t get it.

  119. Shawna
    September 3, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Unfortunately this is something that is very common. Last month an actual manager came up to our table (which was a party of 25 for a family members birthday) and asked me to leave or get my child out of there until she had calmed down. It hurt me so bad because not only was I embarrassed but my daughter had just started to stim and it had only been going on about 35 seconds. One thing that I finally did that helped was had business cards made the say “my child has autism! If her behavior seems unruley or annoying it is not because she is misbehaving, please be patient with her” when I go out to eat or to a park ect I will set them on the tables around us.. It usually results in people having a little more empathy when we do have to go to places like that.

  120. Son with disabilities
    September 3, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    You are an amazing person. Your story broght back many memories for me. I have a son with disabilities and I have often gotten rude (what’s wrong with him?) and ignorant comments (why does he run that way?). I understand the theory that lack of knowledge often breeds ignorance but before I had a child with disabilities, I didn’t act the way those ladies did in the restaurant. I didn’t stare or make comments about an unruly child or a child that walked “different”. That’s why I am often amazed and angered when adults make comments like that. No one in this world is perfect including those ladies in the restaurant.
    As for Laura’s comment above – I’m surprised at your lack of sensitivity and understanding. I too, spend a lot of money on babysitters and trying to find the “right” restaurant at the right time. However, it isn’t always possible to “do the right thing” so as not to offend or bother other patrons.
    I have often quoted a favorite song of mine…….before you abuse, criticise and accuse…….walk a mile in my shoes.

  121. Mike
    September 3, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    I understand how you feel, although I have to admit, it is sometimes me making such comments. Not that I do so on purpose, but at my age (51) even though I have Asperger’s, I should know by now when to be “completely” honest, and when it is not acceptable. I still make mistakes.
    But, the person mentioned above most likely did not have my problem. They still were being “just who they are” and sadly, sometimes we take offense. We have to learn that, “this is going to happen” and some will be doing it to “be mean” and others will be “well meaning” and still others, like myself, will simply not “know any better” or will forget ourselves momentarily.
    IF the person, after having the situation explained to them, doesn’t show any “understanding”; chalk it up to the general ignorance of the public (all of us are ignorant about SOME things) and leave it at that. It is a sad fact of life.

  122. Cathi
    September 3, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    On the other hand, why should people have to put up with that kind of behavior in a “grown-up” restaurant? If I go out to eat, which I do often, I don’t want to have to tolerate ANYONE’s disruptive behavior, child or adult, period. I work with autistic children and their families, and I understand the above arguments, but I don’t want to have dinner with you. Please stick to kid-friendly restaurants. It’s not “lack of sensitivity” and Lord knows it’s not ignorance — like many people, I just like to enjoy my evenings out and to eat in peace. That’s why I don’t go to Chuck E Cheese, Pizza Hut or MacDonald’s, ever. Can you understand another point of view?

    • Estrella Collazo
      September 4, 2010 at 11:56 pm

      Yes I can understand your point of view… My question is does that apply to everything else? As you know Autism does not go away with age so if a parent wants to take there adult w Autism out and they act up a bit will that be wrong? I like to enjoy my date nights too and it sucks when I go somewhere and some idiot is drinking and yelling and talking well above the norm and no one says anything cuz it’s big guy having happy hour with his buddies. Since we are on the subject I take it then that you agree that if someone were say racist and the appearance of a a nationality or ethinic group offended them then perhaps it is fair to say that all Chinese eat at chinese places, all hispanics eat at hispanic places and all black eat at soul food places mmmm I guess that would leave all anglos eating at country places. I am so glad you are not part of the family of Doctors and teachers and therapist that deal w my child. My child will be eating at a restaurant near you I suggest you eat at home :)

  123. M. Barclay
    September 3, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    Humans often need to “personally” experience things as a way of learning, growing, and understanding. And there’s not a lot in life more personal than a relationship between a parent and their child!
    When others are ignorant of something like autism (that we know only too well), it naturally can lead to anger or sadness. This coupled with rudeness only makes it worse.
    But I think addressing that rudenes with anger is not the best way to respond!

    Those two elderly women, who were rude to you, grew-up in a world where autism was less prevalent and often people with cognitive disabilities were institutionalized or hidden-away. We have come a long way “mainstreaming” our brothers and sisters with disabilities, autism as well.
    We are not there yet, as a society, in our compassion for all people, regardless of appearance or personal beliefs, but I do believe we are headed in the correct direction- it will take time!

    When confronted by ignorance, speak softly and with patience. This will go a long way in helping people better understand the face of autism and improve there own behaviors!

  124. September 3, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    Thanks for your post – reading this gave me an “aha” moment and inspired me to write a blog post. Though I wouldn’t wish your experience on anyone, it’s wonderful to see that others have this same issue and get hope and help from one another. I hope that you cen relate to my post. http://www.facebook.com/pages/All-in-a-Days-Quirks/111116812270654

    • Janet
      September 4, 2010 at 12:38 pm

      Excellent blog, Perky!

  125. Catelynn
    September 3, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    I have seen throughout this thread many people calling others judgmental, mean, ignorant, rude…My heart goes out to all the parents of children with autism, but I need to add that you have had the time to learn about and adapt to your children and their needs. People who don’t have a child or relative or friend with autism have no idea what it entails. There are many parents who just plain don’t or won’t discipline their children and allow them to act like animals at home and in public places. How are people to know the difference between a child with autism and an unruly child without discipline? There are also children who do not have autism but rather a strong will. When my daughter was young, she would throw temper tantrums in public. Although I didn’t give in, I would get comments from other parents. I am happy to say that my daughter is almost 20 and is an amazing young woman who is very ambitious, a role model for younger girls, and often a leader. We are all born with different personalities and need to be given direction and guidance. All children should be loved and guided to reach THEIR full potential regardless of the labels that are placed on them by society.

    When people go out to eat they expect to get a good meal, good service, and to be able to enjoy themselves since they are paying for it and it is usually a special treat for most people. Unless they are aware that a child has a disability, they may take offense to behavior that is disruptive. Of course, disability or not, people must take into consideration that children are not adults. I usually try to make light of it because the parents are usually feeling stressed when their children are “acting up” in public. I have my own physical problems and often feel frustrated when other people don’t understand, but I have made it a point to at least try to explain to them what it is like so they can somewhat understand when I am not acting like myself. I know you can’t walk into a restaurant and announce that your child has autism, but try to educate others around you and realize that they will never fully understand because they don’t walk in your shoes.

  126. lisa
    September 3, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    OMG thats insane. We have 2 boys (11 &16) who are autistic and the behavior you’ve described is typical of our 2 boys. We have good days and bad days when we go out. We had one incident a few years a go at a department store when our youngest had a TOTAL meltdown. One woman commented that our son had no home training. I looked at her and asked her did she have a clue as to what she was talking about I then went on to tell her that both of our children had Autism and who was she to judge our kids. I then went on to tell her how can she speak about home training when it was obvious to us she had none. We actually had other customers apologize for this person’s behavior because we were very upset with her comment. But I can saay this much the look on her face was priceless. he was clearly embarressed. I am so sorry that the author of this story went through that. It’s so sad when there is so much ignorance in the world.

  127. Tonya
    September 3, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    I would just like to say – that I myself find myself in PITY of these types of people. They are so used to having everything fit in a neat tidy box – that when something don’t fit or is not like everything else they don’t know what to do with it. I know a man who is at odds with his kids and is used to kids being seen not heard and he was upset when even my sisters normal kids interuppted him to tell their mom something. She said excuse me but you always talking and its no more important than what they have to tell me – lol. You just have to at some point realize that others don’t understand and I don’t expect them too. I have friends that want to take up for me n my Angel at times. But I tell them “they just don’t get my daughter because theres is not special”. God knows who to give these special kids too and it wasn’t people who would lock them in the basement THANK GOD

  128. Kristie
    September 3, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    Don`t let it get you down.Just keep your chin up high, and just believe that your will never change mean people in this world. I believe that you are not the only people they have been mean to. I have met many of people like that. You be strong and take care of yourself.

  129. Jessy
    September 3, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    Your story really made me cry.My 3 year ols son sounds just like your daughter and they are still making an effort to diagnose him. The say he is mentally retarded and has all signs of Autism but wont diagnose him with it because he is freindly and loves people. that was not always the case. I know people look at my son differently but he is the happiest brightest little guy I know. It really breaks my heart to know that he will be treated horrible by people that just dont understand his issues. He is doing much better now and goes to special needs classes (he is 3) He sings twinkle twinkle little star (it sounds like someone keeps hitting the mute button on most of the words) He counts to ten. He is doing AMAZING! I am so sorry thatpeople treated you and you shining star like that. Some people really need a good kick in the butt!

  130. Tonya
    September 3, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    The worst example I ever had of no one understanding = was one day when I went to the Mall. There was a lady with a little cart thingy set up and I was uterly exhausted because I had no clue the MALL had ballons up that day or I would have stayed home. Angel went crazy and was screaming and flailing wildly while I was trying to drag her through the Mall to where we parked our car. I sat down to catch my breath and look for my cell phone I dropped and the lady there was worried that angel was goin to break something on her cart. Angel was on the floor not up near her cart goods. I lost it THAT day though. I turned to her and said MAM can’t you see that I am having a hard time here and that your goods are not in danger. I guess you don’t care to help you just want to stand there like everyone else looking and hoping that I move on just becuase a child is crying. People cry – you cry – why is everyone so afraid of crying. Crying has never killed anyone to my knowledge nor does it have to upset you. Of course the spanking things came up. I was thinking seriously you have no clue. You don’t spank an autistic child because they will further abuse themselves – this coment just further shows how IGNORANT you are of things. I was so upset that day – not at my daughter but at others. This cart lady was so selfish that she did not care what problem i was having as long as it was no where near her lol…

  131. Dani
    September 3, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    I am so sorry for your experience, as I too have had to put people in their place about my child. What really bothers me is when people see the child having a tantrum, and they stop, and stare, as if that is going to make the situation any better. Then it’s like they don’t understand, most children tantrum. Continue to go out into the world with your beautiful child. Each day your child can be out and tolerate the world a little more is a milestone for her.

  132. Laurie
    September 3, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    What is wrong with people these days? You have just as much right to go to a restaurant as anyone else. The problem is theirs and they are making it a problem for everyone else by making it a society full of ignorant people. I applaud your restraint at not smacking that woman!

  133. Martin Maag, MD
    September 3, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    Jeniffer C.
    Your story is similar to all of us, so please don’t think you are alone. It doesn’t make it any easier, but sometimes it is good to know others are and have walked in your shoes.
    when we would have similar issues with my son, my comment was simple…”The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…good thing I am having a good day or you would have two of us screaming!” :)
    People are ignorant and education is key.

    Have a great day and enjoy your child’s silliness, and quirkiness. Your child is the greatest person in the room…Enjoy!

  134. Dan
    September 3, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    I am not the parent of an autistic child but I teach autistic children at a special school. Last December my co-teacher and 3 ABA therapists took 6 pre-school children to McDonald’s for lunch. We arrived at 10:45 a.m. in hopes of missing the lunch crowd. There were only a few other people eating. Two of our kids were crying as they often do when they are not doing what is familiar. None of them ate much of the food they were given. So they were somewhat noisy for a few minutes but they were otherwise behaving quite well. A couple walked by our seating area on their way out and the male said, “What’s the matter with you people! You need to take these kids outside and beat the sh… out of them!” We were all stunned and speechless for a few moments and then angry. Then a second couple walked by a few minutes lates and also lashed out with some cruel language. I am very sensitive about how others treat the kids and their families that I love so much. One of the things we do now when we take our kids outside the school setting is to wear our shirts that reveal who we are.

  135. September 3, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    It’s amazing how cruel and insensitive people can be. I know, I’ve been there…many a time.

    But my son Nicholas’ button has helped us many times. You can find them on the autism speaks website. They state I’m not misbehaving I have autism, please be understanding. They work.

    It’s not easy ..but one by one I feel like we’re educating the world…

    Good luck my friend, and enjoy the screeching… maybe it will form into words…and that would be the best gift and who cares if it’s loud.

    Phyllis a mom of 2 beautiful boys.

  136. Alicia
    September 3, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    Sierra is what is most important. I’m glad you introduced that lady to the term “autism”. I wish you could have been bold enough to give her a short, patronizing dissertation on autism and why children like Sierra need a little understanding. You should have told her “It would have been a nicer thing to do to offer a moment of conversation with Sierra instead of showing her ignorance!” Think of a line you’d be comfortable speaking loudly and clearly for the next time a stupid person shows their mean side! Be brave, be bold and support Sierra for what she can’t verbalize but would if she were YOU! Wouldn’t it be cool to get a standing ovation from the other patrons for defending Sierra?

  137. Jeanine
    September 3, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    I think we have probably all had this type of experience. I have gotten looks from people who don’t know my sons. I have also had people make comments. It’s hurtful, but they don’t know. They see kids who “looks like ducks and walk like ducks” and assume that they will “act like ducks”. Well, appearances can be deceiving. As parents of children on the spectrum, I think we can all pretty much pick out a kid with an issue fairly easily b/c we are so in tune with what to look for but that is not the case for the general population. Don’t get me wrong, I am not defending anyone or making excuses for them but ignorance is ignorance. People can be very hurtful. I think somehow it makes people feel better to be judgmental as if they are better parents. Obviously, we all know that you have to be a pretty strong person to parent kids on the spectrum. My philosophy is now, “Walk a mile in my shoes…until then close your mouth”. It still hurts. I won’t lie, but now I just ignore it. I used to want to defend my kids or explain, and once in awhile, I still fall prey, but by and large, I just continue on with my day. I wait for my husband to come home so I can complain to him!

  138. Jan H
    September 3, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    Not all, but a lot of these attitudes, at least as far as management are concerned, come down to the almighty dollar. If many ignorant restaurant patrons are complaining, the manager may ask a family with a child they consider “disruptive” to leave, because they don’t want the MAJORITY of their patrons to be angry. The trick is to turn the majority around. If you have a child with autism, chances are you know other families, from school, play groups, therapy, etc. Call them and tell them what happened and ask them to phone and/or write. Better yet, call local newspapers; and call the Chamber of Commerce for the city that is the restaurant’s location. I teach Pre-K children with autism in a public elementary school and I could get at least 20 families to write or call. Watch how fast you’d get a public apology.
    As for old people; just let it go. Let them know that they’re ignorant but don’t expect any major changes. they are from a different generation; we are the times of autism awareness, thank goodness. After all, they are from a time when people, and doctors!, thought that autism was caused by unaffectionate mothers-remember the term “refrigerator moms”? And remember one other thing, some people just love to complain, because they hate themselves. It makes them feel better to turn their self-hate outward onto someone else. You can’t win with people like that, so just feel sorry for them living a life like that and let it go. Your children are beautiful; I know, I get to love them from 8 to 2 five days a week and I consider myself the fortunate one.

  139. Rachael
    September 3, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    Wow! I think all of us have been there. My son is now 16 and we have had our share of mean people. The ones that hurt the most are the neighbor kids with their bully parents or the church members that worn there kids to stay away from the mentally challenged kid. Educate, educate, and keep educateing. I figure with the rise of Autism atleast one of them will be affected and learn alittle compassion! I am usually more bothered by it than my son…..his gentle soul tells me “mom, its ok they just dont like me”. That was many years ago but so vivid in my mind. Today he has most of his class mates approaching him like he was some cool rock star in the store “hey connor how ya doing”! Ill ask him who is that with great pleasure in my eyes and he just says i dont know mom some kid from school i guess. It amazes me how far he has come and what a wonderful young man he is becomming. Lord knows we still have challenges i just want his happiness and not my bitterness. It all works out and you realize that they have grown up. Hang in there! and a few years from now all that will matter is how happy your daughter is :)
    with great respect,
    Rachael

  140. Marla Szoradi
    September 3, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    Usually the people that are judgemental of my son, are very closed minded in my experiences. Recently a clerk at a drug store rolled her eyes at a comment my son made to me. She appeared to be annoyed with his behavior. A piece of me wanted to call (more like yell) to her attention her rudeness, but I refrained. She had also made us wait for her assistance, while she chatted socially with a delivery person. Situations such as these make me think of the need for social skills classes for the rest of the world. Some people are quick to blame others for their uncomfortableness, and are oblivious to their own shortcomings.

  141. September 3, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    Hey, I totally get it :) I even got to the point one time of using a sharpie marker on the back of my son’s Tshirt. I wrote “living with autism” and that day was different. We were at a Disney park, and instead of people glaring at his odd (especially odd for a 12 yo) behavior, they actually thought about him. They knew that autism meant “different” not bad-brat. It made such a difference I could NOT believe it !!
    I watched him transform right before my eyes. In the eyes of other people like this lady that you ran into. They saw his shirt, and thought for two seconds, and CHOSE not to judge him, but just let him be. It was amazing.
    Ever since that day, I have decided that he should have that chance everywhere. So when we go out to eat locally, or on a plane to go somewhere, or any where I might have major behaviors (read:anywhere!!) I have him wear special shirts. I started making them for us, and realized other parents need them too.
    I would love to make a shirt for your kiddo ! Come see what has changed our family’s time out in public :) fluffshop.etsy.com

    It makes a world of difference !!

  142. September 3, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    I am so sorry, to here this, im very disapointed in society. With so many children with disabilities, these days, you would think people would learn, to shut their mouths! My son who is 3 has autism, i thinked i would have wacked her! keep your chin up honey! god bless you!

  143. judy anderson
    September 3, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    We had the same experience while we was traveling on a plane. My grandson was 10 years old and is nonverbal. As the plane was decending it hurt his ears and he was winning flapping his hands and hitting his ears. The elderly gentleman behind us hit our chair and told us to keep that child under control. My daughter turn around and gave him a piece of her mind. He did appologize.

    I buy Jayden shirts that say “I’m Autistic” or other saying on them. People look and their expression says ” Oh I understand”. What upsets me are the older kids that make fun of him. They should know better. I love my grandson so much and it hurts me to see people be so cruel. I really think the majority are nice and understanding. Our family is so much better because of Jayden.

  144. September 3, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    I have a son with autism who was non-verbal until age 3 1/2 approximately (he is now 7). Then we used several innovative and self-created ideas to get him speaking, as we could not afford resources, but knew if stroke patients could develop a new language center in the other half of their brain so could our son.

    How I see the above issue is going to differ with many and I am not trying to provoke, I am simply reminding each of us to give the same understanding we hope to receive.

    The problem is, the elderly did not see autism like this when they were having children for one. Also one of my grandmothers always got so upset with Levi for being loud, because she could not remember from one time to the next what autism was, that he had it, and all she knew was his loud voice hurt her head. She just could not grasp autism and she was not trying to be mean. She meant well. In her day, the elderly gave advice to moms on how to properly raise children. Loud and active children indoors was considered inappropriate and rude.

    We, the parents of autistic children, have to also be careful not to be too judgemental. The very thing that upsets us so much about others, we end up doing as well, if we don’t stop to consider maybe those elderly people have issues too, that differ from ours. Even my father who has GREAT patience with Levi, finds that certain noises Levi makes really HURTS his head when he has his hearing aid in.

  145. Michelle Brown
    September 4, 2010 at 12:26 am

    Be encouraged Jennifer C. My husband and I have had many experiences like that in resturants. Our daughter is now 14 and still has volume control issues with her voice as well as occassional tantrums in public places. Tantrums – at 14 years old, at 200lbs. and 5’5” tall. Her speech is very limited. It’s very hurtful when people judge our family. We even get judged by our family. I say the same thing all the time “Walk a mile in our shoes!” I am always quick to speak up and tell them what is going on! It usually shuts them up! Then I tell them to visit http://www.autismspeaks.org or google autism to learn more about autism.

  146. Jeanie Sauerland
    September 4, 2010 at 12:33 am

    I think we have to take our kids out there to be seen and learn how to relate to the outside world and let the world learn from them. There are moments when it goes over the top, but I think most of us know when we have reached this limit.
    I love going places where they know her now and welcome her. It’s sad when people get so set in their ways, they may not open their heart.

  147. KC Leach
    September 4, 2010 at 12:34 am

    Karen C. Leach :K. I could not agree more. A sad unfortunate situation to be in. Iv’e been there myself but as you pointed out it’s a great opportunity to try and educate people. As parents of Autistic children we must be willing to educate those who don’t know any better. For those who are just rude well… there are those you will never get through too. Thanks for sharing. Well said.

  148. Elizabeth
    September 4, 2010 at 12:49 am

    As I go through and read everyone’s stories I can just feel my rage level rising. I want to walk up to every one of those rude people and beat them into the dirt.

    I’ve had worst of all, FAMILY being the rude ones. My Autie is an eloper and would get loose and run, naked, regardless of weather, to the neighbors house (which also just happened to be family) at random times. We had to come up with new locks for the door weekly. I’m sorry, after being up all night every night for months on end and having a disaster to clean up anytime I cat napped (I have 2 autistic children with sleep problems) The last thing I need is relatives bringing her back and calling me lazy for sleeping and screaming at me for my house being a mess, threatening me with CPS and blaming me for my childrens problems. Some of them even took it upon themselves to spank my kids themselves because OBVIOUSLY that was all that was missing. It was horrible and I think our entire family is scarred from it. Thank god we are no longer in that situation!

    I appreciate all of the new ideas of what to say to strangers who don’t know how to keep their noses out of other peoples business. :)

  149. jose osornia
    September 4, 2010 at 2:08 am

    My daugther is 17 years old and authistic we also suffer this kind of behavior from people.but i try to keep this ignorant at bay.a year ago we had a celebration of my daugther sweet sixteen party ,I did dance the night away in our celebration .she was very happy thats what really matters

  150. mary
    September 4, 2010 at 3:28 am

    I have a 15 year old son who is not verbal yet. We went on vacation last year and My husband got me and my son first class while they sat in economy(we were so excited) My son sat down in his seat and touched the top of the seat in frount of him. The man turned around right away and looked at me and said ‘ could you please keep you son from touching my chair, I understand your situation, if you could try I would appreciate it’ ok not so bad but my son understands everything and he was sitting right there and got upset, I tried to calm him down and he seemed better, then a few hours later my daughter came to let me go to the bathroom, just as I left and came back there was a commotion around our seats. I got there and the stewardes said my son smacked her in the chest, she took away his glass and stuff while i was gone. He makes like a lttle ritual with his stuff on his tray, so I apoligized and she said she wasnt going to say anything she understood, she has a special nephew and that she was ok…I was greatful but then all the people around complained to the other stewardes that they were worried about there safety..then the captian came out and told me that he can have the marshall take over and send out f15 jets to land us if he doesnt settle down. He has never acted up on a plane we travel alot and he loves it, but he was probably feeling everybodys judgement against him cause he does make loud noises and people kept staring at him before i left. He did calm down and then we were told not to leave the plane after it landed and we couldnt get on our connected flight until a report was written and TSA got involved. 8 people came in and talked with us for a half hour … i thought a IEP meeting was bad lol
    NEedless to say they made us spend the night in a dumpy hotel and catch another flight the next day… I understand that it is a security threat to hit a stewardes, they did say they dont consider any disability as a exuse.

    So now we havent traveled on a plane in a while, but I would say all do respect to the elderly, they don’t know autism because they never seen our unique special kids till now…my own father in law still dont get it…its like trying to change there religion.. :)

    Oh and if any of you want to fly and havent already buisness class is the way to go, make sure its the seats were the seats go back like a recliner and theres like 4 feet in frount of you…that was our morning plane the next day…very impressive and no problems whatsoever…he slept like a baby :)

  151. Luis & Nancy Novelo
    September 4, 2010 at 3:59 am

    Hello Friend, we are parents of an autistic child. Our son Steven he is 7years old and we have the same problem with our son when we go out to eat. He is very loud and repeats things over and over again. We have tried the inside voice method and quiet voice but many times it does not work. Our therapists who help Steven have suggested that we use the Voice Thermometer. Simply draw a big Thermometer with 3 levels with different colors and take it with you where ever you go. Our son listens more with visuals many times so that helps him see that he is talking too loud. Also we prepare him in advance by talking to him on what we are going to do next. He also lives in a rountine system so these types of things we do when we go out. We also give him a prize if he follows all the steps. We hope this tip helps you and your family. If you want I can email you a picture of the Thermometer that we made that way you can see it. Please let me know ok, we are in this together and Im so sorry that those people were so cruel. We have had that happen to us many times and we go off as well. Hope all is well, take care and let me know about the picture. Kind Regards, Luis and Nancy Novelo

  152. Annette
    September 4, 2010 at 4:46 am

    So many of us can relate to the harsh words, sharp glances, and plain mean behavior. I doubt many parents of children with Autism escape unscathed. I admire your approach in taking your daughter to a restaurant where families and children being loud are the expectation. And I think the elderly women were incredibly out of touch to expect anything other in such a restaurant.

    My approach, however, would have been a lot different. I accept that my children are disabled, but it doesn’t excuse me from making an effort to teach her how to behave in a social setting. I don’t feel that my sons’ disability (2 with the Autism diagnosis) entitles them to make anyone else miserable. Ever been on a 10-hour flight with a screaming infant whose mother is sleeping off a sedative? A parent may not be able to soothe a screaming infant, but everyone cuts you a lot more slack if you at least try. We are not entitled to make the world a victim to our children’s disabilities. Accommodations are one thing, an irresponsible attitude of entitlement is another.

    In your situation, and yes I have been in it, I start to defuse things before it gets to the point where people are rude. When the old gals started making faces and covering their ears I would have made the effort to change the behavior that was so disconcerting to them (whether they were within reason or not, it’s just manners). I would have also made the effort to connect with them. “Hey, I wish this wasn’t a bother to you, and I hope you can see that we’re trying to moderate the situation. My son has an Autism diagnosis that’s causing the difficulty, and we’re really make an effort to help him adjust in these situations. We really appreciate your indulgence.” Make them your friends, not your enemies. You don’t really need any more problems.

    My husband and I don’t have family in the area to support us with babysitting. And it’s not easy to find babysitters who can work with disabilities. Sometimes we couldn’t go places or do things because of that situation, but the problem was (and remains) ours to deal with…not my neighbors or the public. We have made the best of what we can and our children are well-accepted wherever they go because we haven’t shirked our responsibility to our community by hiding behind their diagnosis.

    • September 4, 2010 at 5:15 pm

      Annette: I really agree with you on this. We do not have any family and we cannot afford “special needs” sitters. My husband is often at work trying to keep us paying our basic bills, so my son MUST go with me when I go most places. I try my best and I also try to understand that many people just don’t get it.

      The first time we went on a plane, my son with autism was then 4 and my younger daughter was 2 and they both cried and screamed much of the trip. I did everything in my power to comfort them and quiet them. I did not get much grief, as people could see I was trying. If anything, I was frustrated with the attendants who were not helpful at all. Most of the time Continental Airlines has been excellent, some of the others NOT so much.

      The neighborhood children do not understand why my son is “different” either since he looks normal. Fortunately for my autistic son, one of his older brothers always insists the kids include him or else my older son walks away too! World’s coolest big brother!! :)

  153. JaydensMommy
    September 4, 2010 at 7:20 am

    I have had similar experiences when I take my son out. People look at him like he is a bad kid. He is also non verbal and we are working on it. He does use sign language to communicate though. I cried reading this story because I have been there before. People are ignorant and when they make a comment about autism they usually don’t understand what autism is all about. I wish people could be a little more compassionate and instead of attacking a person because their child is being “bad” take a second and try to see why the child is acting the way they are before they open their mouth.

  154. Exie Kirby
    September 4, 2010 at 7:56 am

    We have a four year old son who is on the spectrum. As far as telling people in public that your child has autism, that doesn’t always work. There are morons out there that don’t think that autism is that prevalent. They’re envisioning “Rainman”. We have family that have internet and have never gone online to maybe understand Walker. They feel and act as though he is this way through my neglect of him.

  155. Melissa
    September 4, 2010 at 8:50 am

    You keep your head high and keep doing the wonderful job that you are doing. Unfortunately, we live in a judgmental world and people can act cruel when they don’t understand something. I am a parent trainer for parents/families who have a child with developmental disabilities. It is so upsetting to me when we get to the “community” stages of the parent training, how many parents do not want to go. Needless to say, they experienced similar situations that you recently have, but their child is older, so it is even more awkward for others. I will never forget being in the middle of Costco with a parent and her 15 year old son who had DS and ADHD. He started throwing a tantrum because he learned that when he acts out he gets what he wants. The parent looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “everyone is staring at us” at that point she had an epiphany when I said, “are they going to take care of your son when he is an adult?” From that point, I am proud to say tat she is using behavior charts in the community (they are working wonders) and she no longer fears the “community” because she has to teach her son to be as independent and functional as possible. So, once again I am proud of you and keep up the great work you are preparing your daughter for life, one that sometimes can be cruel.

  156. Marilyn
    September 4, 2010 at 8:53 am

    The real truth is that people without children with autism, etc. have no idea what life is like with an autistic child. All the campaigning etc, is for financial support. the real day to day struggle is just not a reality for most people. There is no way they can get it. You cannot do the right thing, whatever that is, I usually speak up loudly and say that my son has autism, not that it will change to opinion of others, but just for my own peace of mind, that once it is stated, people have the right to stay or leave. There is no mystery.

  157. mauraweis@aol.com
    September 4, 2010 at 10:20 am

    I wrote a book about people like her “miles from the sidelines”, my daughter has developmental delays and was originally diagnosed with Autism. Good for you for saying something, my daughter
    is 15 now and we still get some stares, I still tell people who are rude a thing or two. If we don’t we are ignoring a big problem in society for all of us. I feel like we are teaching people and if they are going to be rude they need to know it’s wrong!!

    Maura Weis

  158. Ann
    September 4, 2010 at 10:51 am

    I like to explain Autism as it is comparable to Artistic.. as in ‘he is Autisic, seeing the world with a clearer and more vibrant vision..’ much the same as ‘He is Artistic’.. seeing the world with a different perspective and consiquently the great Galleries of the world are filled with ‘those perspectives’..
    Mundane is the sad state of those who ‘cannot see’ with their hearts.

  159. September 4, 2010 at 11:00 am

    i truly know how you feel my daughter is 10 years old and we have been thru alot the world is so cruel it breaks my heart to know the teasing and rude coments she has and will have to endure please be proud of your daughter and tell people to get a life and walk away they are the ones with the problem keep your chin up and hug your daughter for me my daughter is autistic also

  160. Denise Gitchell
    September 4, 2010 at 11:11 am

    I cannot believe how mean spirited some people can be. They make it THEIR business to stick their upitty noses in everyone ELSES; business. Just remember: When you point a finger of judgement at someone else,their are 3 more fingers pointing back at yourself. I wonder how “Snooty Lady” would feel, if the show were on the other foot.If it was HER that had a child/grandchild/other loved one who had autism,and they were out TRYING to have a “normal” family outing!

  161. Suella
    September 4, 2010 at 11:12 am

    I’m sorry that anyone has had to experience the Mean People of the world. I was super-sensitive to the looks and whispers, and it would ruin my time out, so we opted to just not take our son to public places when it could be avoided. The babysitter issue was the same as most – I didn’t have anyone I could trust to watch my little escape artist, so my husband & I played online games (like World of Warcraft) and that became our dating – in the virtual world where we could be home just in case.

    When we had to take Connor somewhere public, there was a constant litany from my husband or myself addressing his inappropriate behavior – Connor, use your inside voice; Connor, it’s a sitting time; Connor, hold Mommy’s hand; etc. Because of this, no one ever has accused us of being bad parents, or not disciplining our autistic boy.

    In fact, when I had to take Connor to the store to get a prescription refill, and he had a full-on meltdown after having to wait 1/2 hour, I was working so hard to get him to calm down, when I finally got my prescription & went out to the car, an older couple came over to me and complemented me on my hard work and effort with my obviously special boy. Of course, that’s when I just sat in the car & cried.

    It takes a lot of work, but it does get better. I have Connor wear his Special Olympics T-shirts when we go public places, and he’s gotten to a point where he can just put his hands over his ears now when things are too much for him. Good luck to everyone.

    :)

  162. Chad
    September 4, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Jennifer-

    I praise you for responding so nicely. I think that since autism is just really being brought to light within the past couple years that a lot of people do not understand it. Thank you for sharing your story!

  163. Mike
    September 4, 2010 at 11:48 am

    M. Barclay, I couldn’t agree with you more.

  164. Ronda
    September 4, 2010 at 11:56 am

    I have been on both side of this story. Before going to work at a school for special needs children I did not fully understand a child with autism. And some of you who have made the comment about “how rude those people are for not understanding my child,” well, if you had not been given the gift of having an autistic child, you might be that rude person. So please dont be so judgmental about people who have not been fully educated on our very special children.

    I also still believe after working with autistic children that there are some situations that no child should have to go through. I have two wonderful grandchildren, one and two and a half years old. I will take them to a nice reasturant, the book store, movies, etc, but if they get over tired, loud or just cant sit still, I will do what is best for them and leave. My grandbabies are not bad children, they just cant always sit through what an adult can handle.

    We need to keep educating the people around us, but respect them when they want to go out for a nice quiet dinner away from their stressful day, or read a book in a quiet bookstore. We need to respect our special children and those who just want some quiet time.

  165. Larry
    September 4, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    I have a daughter who flops at WalMart during a meltdown. As I kneel beside her and coach her back to her feet calmly many people go by in that 10-15 minutes. Some blurt out to spank or whip the childs butt. I refuse to let ignorant people upset me. I do not say ignorant in a mean way but rather as a way to describe they do not know anything about my child. I would have apologized to the elderly ladies with a simple she’s autistic and went about my own business without being mad. To be mad would make me like them without understanding anothers point of view.

    • September 4, 2010 at 5:19 pm

      Exactly! If I allowed anger to get to me everytime I go grocery shopping, etc, I would be miserable. There are many people who just don’t understand. Why let them steal my joy? Only I can give them that permission. I deal with it and we enjoy our lives!!! :)

  166. Teresa
    September 4, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Ann September 4, 2010 at 10:51 am | #223 Reply | Quote I like to explain Autism as it is comparable to Artistic.. as in ‘he is Autisic, seeing the world with a clearer and more vibrant vision..’ much the same as ‘He is Artistic’.. seeing the world with a different perspective and consiquently the great Galleries of the world are filled with ‘those perspectives’..

    I am totally going to steal this. Beautiful.
    Mundane is the sad state of those who ‘cannot see’ with their hearts.

  167. September 4, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    In reading the story of going out for a family meal, and then the comments that followed, I have to say that a lot of you are right on target with educating the public about Autism. Just remember we also have to educate our children. I’ve have always strived to teach my daughter, now 15, how to “survive” the world beyound our home. (She was diagnoised with Autism at age of 2). After all, she is the one who lives with Autism every day, and some day I won’t be here to “explain” her behavior. Educating my daughter for the last 13 years has not always been easy, but I keep believeing it will be well worth it. To all the parents, siblings and care givers of children & adults with autism, hang in there, and remember to take it one day/minute at a time.

  168. September 4, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Jennifer.C has poured out her mind because Sierra requires love and understanding!She rightly calls the old women responsible for unwarranted comments as MEAN ‘minded’.I read all the comments and incidences and mostly the culprit happens to be a woman in company with another woman.These old women hunt in pairs and they have CONQUERED THE WORLD feeling because they would have made men dance to their tune.Somebody is not obliging them whatever is the problem, they would comment on the spot wickedly and when leaving give unsolicited advice hurting the feeling of near and dear.If only sharp tongue could slash user’s throat, it would wag just as a blunt weapon.
    My daughter is autistic and 28 years old;she told us one day that she is unable to speak (normally) or go to a normal school and further in to college like her elder sister;when we persisted ‘why’ she replied ‘AUTISTIC';we asked what is ‘AUTISTIC’ and she quickly said ‘SOMETHING WRONG’.Again we asked what is wrong.She paused for a moment and repeated ‘SOMETHING WRONG’ and we could notice that her eyes were moist then.We patted her and diverted attention to another activity!
    Autism is deceptive because person affected would look normal and only speech/behaviour reveal that SOMETHING is WRONG.People commenting on behaviour thus perhaps not aware how persons afflicted with autism can behave and here unpredictalility also adds to one’s problem.Blowing hot and cold is the feature of Autism.Displaying a sort of identity card on the child or person with special mention of tolerance request on tantrums/unmindful behaviour in a public place away from home.Understanding and help required and not sympathy.
    Whilst on this I am reminded of a poem (author unknown)which I read in book on Autism:
    AUTISTIC CHILD
    My mind is a blank
    My head is a whirl
    My thoughts are all jumbled
    My speech is all mumbled

    It is very frustrating
    My brain is not relating
    I often feel angry
    I often feel violent
    I do things so bad
    It makes people sad

    Please can you help me
    I’m not a bad person
    I need all your kindness
    I’m not really mindless

    In all places public visit,in addition to providing ramps, toilets for handicapped,there shoud be some awareness poster on not easily recognisable disability like Autism!People tend to club all disabilities like Cerebral palsy,Down’s syndrome under one head MENTAL RETARDATION!Request people to treat special children as they would any normal children!

  169. Toni C
    September 4, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Hello, I am so sorry to hear of this incident. I am the Grandmother of two Grandson’s in the spectrum. When I see children who are so called “misbehaving”, such as in a grocery store, dept store I take a different perspective of these children. I consider the fact that they could have Autism, so I do not judge. I offer a silent prayer for the children and there families. I have been there, and I still am there everyday (I care for them 4 days a week.) When I take them out I very courteously say, “he is autistic” I remember my mother (passed away many years now) commenting on the misbehavior. These elderly people, unfortunately are not educated as we are in this day and age…how unfortunate.

    God Bless you and remember God gave these very special children to very special parents. God does not make mistakes!!

  170. Jen S
    September 4, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    I just wanted to make 1 comment about your experience and your comments about it. You said that you wished that people would take a minute to look at the child first before they said something, but that with your child they may not be able to tell that there was something “wrong” with her just by looking at her? (If they saw her using sign language, etc they may notice) Well, I want you to know that the general population is coming to grips with autism, and there is nothing “wrong” with your child!! She is most likely a beautiful, smart, wonderful child, and the old woman in the resteraunt is the one with the “problem” or the one with something “wrong” with her. Their generation didn’t understand that children in general were people too, and had needs that should have been met, no matter what those needs should have been. In your case, your daughters needs are simply a little different than the mainstream child her age. Good luck! Keep going out to eat and enjoy your child for goodness sake!!

  171. Connie
    September 4, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    I’ve had many of these encounters, and unfortunately most of them were with the elderly generation. I was waiting for a prescription at our supermarket and my son was being loud…there was an elderly woman waiting and casting us dirty looks. I yelled over to her, “He’s autistic, if you’re wondering!”. She shamefully looked down, but then asked another woman standing next to us, “but doesn’t he still have to behave?”. Luckily, the woman understood, and said, “no-he’s just fine the way he is” and smiled at my son.

    This is what Autism Awareness is all about. People need to be aware that some people that look normal may indeed have a disability!

  172. Dayna Mattis
    September 4, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Hi, just so you know, you are not alone. This has happened to my son and I several times. You have to understand that people are just ignorant, rude fools. It is nobody’s business to say anything to you. You are a wonderful Mom ! Don’t be afraid to stand up to these people and tell them exactly where to stick it !! I am extremely proud of my son and his abilities as an Autistic child ! Keep up the good work !!

  173. Mom staring at Wwe and has no friends
    September 4, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    I know what it is to have to deal with really Rude people.I have 3 autistic children and i put a shell around what i feel and don’t care about it annymore.Because we moved out to a lot of different places i have no girl friends neither, and me and my husband have no contact with parents or family annymore.More than once i felt like an alien…but i got used to staring eyes and negativity.I try to raise my kids the best i can but lord knows how hard that is.Sometimes i just wished someone would passed by and just say ‘hi’ to me and treat me like a human beïng, but i always will be ‘that strange woman with those strange kids’ and i don’t belong with other moms and their perfect children…at last that’s how i feel.
    Next week we have a neighbourhood party in the street, i offer to help out but was completely ignored…but yep, i have to put a happy face annyway and pretend to like everything that happends that day…even if the whole crowd acts if you are invisible or just exchanges a few words to feel better about themselves…
    Those are the days i hate to be mother of autistic children, i will never be a part of them, and i don’t know how to change that.If i try to explain my situation, people hardly listen…because every one has his own troubles here and i am not one of them so who cares??? I hope someone recognize this story, and really i try to make the best out of it, but it’s hard not to get mad.

  174. Margaret Drugan
    September 4, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    I understand. My 7-year-old daughter is also autistic. She spent the better part of 3 years only screaming and crying – desparately trying to function in this world and communicate her needs and fears. There will always be someone who will judge – you will not be able to control other people’s reactions. Some people are fearful, annoyed or just uneducated about people with special needs and become unsettled, uneasy and even rude. Continue to do your best with your child and you will find that she will improve. I, myself, live life as if my daughter is typical and work to give her every bit of support, understanding and teaching I can to help her be, feel and function at her best. Early and intense interventions/therapies/even preschool will help your daughter grow and feel she can manage her challenges. Our children are bright, beautiful, sesitive and loving individuals. I am always proud of my daughter’s smallest achievements and look forward to watching my tough, determined, intelligent little girl take on the world! A movie I highly recommend: Temple Grandin (on HBO and DVD) with Claire Danes. The idea is that no matter what the challenges (in the world or with autism), our kids can be successful and happy! :). LOL.

  175. Lisa
    September 4, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    You were nicer than me.
    I put people right in their place now as I have had it with mean people!

  176. Ocipare McKinley
    September 4, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    Nicleyton :
    I don’t have time to go around educating and informing the entire world about my child’s disability. Haven’t they heard the statistics? It is time for people to start educating and informing on their own about autism because it is everywhere now!

    I do not agree… it is my belief that it is up to us parents to educate those around us who may not know about autism. Who is better to teach about it than those who are living with it everyday? I advocate awareness and education about autism because soon my daughter will be an adult in this world and she must live in it. So do I leave my daughter to “well everyone should find out about it own their own” or do I do something about it? I believe I am the change I want to see in the world and instead of my daughter being left to chance, I can do something about it by having the same level of patience with a stranger that is ignorant to autism as I have for my daughter.

    And to Jennifer C… mean people are everywhere and most of us have had the same experiences as you have just witnessed with your family. Stay strong… you have many more of those coming so thicken your skin!!! That is all we as parents of our special children can do. Learn and move on… your child is more important than her ignorance!!!

  177. Rhonda Earl
    September 4, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    I have experienced the same mean people when my daughter was 2-3 and we were just finding out she was on the autism spectrum. It has only gotten worse in elementary school and it has become viscious in her last year of middle school! It is very painful.

  178. Susan D.
    September 4, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    My son, who has Autism, is 22, so we have had many experiences with people when we are out in public. I know how painful it is when people make remarks like the one that woman made to you. I also have to admit that I am not all that patient with them. I usually have a snippy answer for them, and I want them to be uncomfortable, so that thye will hesitate to repeat those comments. My son bumped in to a man, once, during a Christmas shopping trip to Toys r Us. The man looked really angry and said in a very threatening voice, looking right at my son, “Hey, what’s your problem?” I got between them and said, “His problem is called Autism, and apparently yours is called ignorance.” He did look uncomfortable and he just walked away. I guess I should have felt sorry for him, but I really didn’t. Of course I tried and still try to teach my son how to navigate through the stores while keeping his distance from others, and he tries very hard at everything he does. If his Autism gets the better of him every so often, people will have to find a way to get over it. Their lives are easier than they realize. They should be very grateful…..and much more thoughtful!

  179. Estrella Collazo
    September 4, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    In short we have all been there at some point. I have been there with my daughter too many times to keep track. She is really good about stores and restaurants but like this ladys child she can get loud when she is happy. People do stare even when she is simply laughing and having fun. Yet I have been to restaurants where the adults are are at the bar part and are talking really loud and yelling to the point they can be heard across the crowded room and no ones questions them mmmm so it’s okay to be drunk and loud at TGIF Fridays but if your child giggles too loud OMG! Here in Florida at an Olive Garden a man PUNCHED a father because his son w Autism was being too loud and disrupting his dinner. The father DID mention his son had Autism and that only got him a punched in front of his kids and wife. So in this mans world it’s okay to punch someone and ruin dinner for an entire restaurant but it’s too disturbing for a child w Autism to be happy and enjoying a family outing. Yes we shouldn’t call people names and perhaps we should be polite but you know what after seven years of explaining my child to others I frankly do not care anymore about people and their ignorance I do not need the employees at a store to defend my child thats MY job and I do it rather well. I follow a simple rule to ignorant words deaf ears. I have mastered the ability to ignore the stupid that walk amongst us. The last time I apologized for her the woman said that if she is like that then I shouldn’t take her places. She had a young child herself. Another mom in the spot at the time came over and said don’t worry about it I understand my daughter over there has Autism too. I was so upset at myself for apologizing to the other woman and for always having to hang my head as if my child were evil. People, we are in 2010 we have access to information everywhere ignorance is not an excuse. This isn’t the 1940s where our kids were chained to beds in institutions or hidden in attics. Eunice Shriver whose sister (a Kennedy) was given a labotomy in secret by her dad that left her institutionalized, has been educating people and proving the worth of the special needs community up until she passed. So sorry if I go out and you snap a nasty remark to my child brace yourself bc I well tell you off. Polite doesn’t always work some people need to be set straight.I am nice to those who ask or seem confused about her behavior but hose who insist on downing my child I ignore if they keep making sly remarks I say something and it isn’t polite. Be strong Jennifer remember she was placed in your care for you to protect and God did so because he knew you would.

  180. jessica
    September 5, 2010 at 7:03 am

    I also have an autistic son and I know how you feel. I sometimes can take my son out to eat with me and his dad and our 3 other kids but other times I can’t. He’ll have enormous outburst for no reason especially if he doesn’t get his way, he’ll hit things around him hit himself start whinning like we did something to him and people will look at us like what the hell are you doing here if your son acts that way. That is so hurtful and disrespectful! After school he goes out with his PABS and they’ll take him to his favorite place to eat McDonalds or L&L only if he earned it, well one day he got upset and broke the coffee machine at McDonalds and they banned him from coming in there. He had the same problems at L&L this time it was over a phone book (which is one of his obsessions) and he got banned from there. We don’t know just yet how to control this issue. do you have any suggestions?

  181. Barnes girl
    September 5, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    When we go out like that, I have my son wear his “Autistic by Injection” t-shirt. Usually that helps identify him. I have had people give me really dirty looks about the t-shirt, but it spreads the word. My son is constantly doing Thomas the Tank Engine talk, but usually people are very kind about it.

  182. September 6, 2010 at 9:38 am

    I once had to educated an elderly woman in a lab while we were waiting to have my grandson’s blood drawn. After waiting for one hour and the poor baby having to fast all night and morning I think even a child without autism would have begun to behave badly. After the comment by this woman ,”I can’t believe parents let their children behave like that” ,I had to step in as this childs grandmother and defend him. I told her to go home and look up the meaning of autism and then come back and tell us the same thing!

  183. Mike
    September 6, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    I try to wear one of my t-shirts also when I go out (unless it is a fancy restaurant), but some people still don’t really “get it” My favorite one I made from a poster: http://myspace.roflposters.com/images/rofl/myspace/1216363439486.jpg.%5Broflposters.com%5D.myspace.jpg

  184. Christy
    September 6, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    I am so sorry that you have to deal with people like that. My nephew is autistic and I work with kids that fall on different areas of the spectrum. I often wonder what it would be like to have a child who was autistic and I know it would be so difficult. I agree that most people could not handle or would not do a very good job with such a difficult diagnosis. Thanks for being such a great parent and loving your child unconditionally! We need more parents like you!

  185. Herb Gerber
    September 6, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    I agree with your spontaneous response to the lady diners. Having the benefit of time to think about what I would do in a similar situation when my grand daughter is loud and screeching may I suggest walking over to the ladies’ table quietly saying, “I apologize for my grand daughter’s behavior. She suffers from autism and sometimes she is loud and sometimes she screeches. However, I can assure you there is no intent on her part to disturb you. Would you like me to ask her to come over and apologize?” It is a teaching opportunity for the ladies and the child.

  186. Anacelia Smith
    September 6, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    OMG I totally feel her on that! Our daughter who is about to turn 5 this month was recently diagnosed with Autism and it is hard for us to remember that when we are out at the store and she is screaming and running off. It’s gotten to the point that we don’t want to go out as a family to the store (it’s usually only the stores she does that). And at times I see people looking at us and sometimes I do apologize. No one has said anything matter of fact people seem to be patient and understanding. Weird huh? I know one day I’ll probably run into someone that will say the wrong thing and I pray to God that I’ll respond correctly. I think Jennifer C. did a great job, because I don’t think I would’ve been so polite.

  187. Lauren A.
    September 7, 2010 at 8:15 am

    My next door neighbor stopped talking to us after she saw my daughter’s behavior. It got to the point where if we were walking down the street, she’d cross to the other side.

  188. Tamara
    September 7, 2010 at 11:46 am

    I am the grandmother of a beautiful grandson on the ASD. He and his mother (who I also believe is on the spectrum) since the day he was born and the day he was diagnosed with ASD on the fourth birthday. Let’s try to educate the public about ASD before uncomfortable incidents happen. Let’s tell everyone we meet every day about ASD, how special these children are, and the great hope we have in them.

    God bless you all as we try to do all we can for those we love and bring us so much joy!

  189. Tonya Myers
    September 7, 2010 at 11:56 am

    I had a similar experience in a walgreens drug store the other day. I have a 5 year old son who is moderate-severe autistic. He was screaming and a lady said that if it were her kid she would whip him. I told her thats why god didnt bless her with an autistic child.Some people really can show how mean and ugly they are when it comes to disabled children.

  190. Mike
    September 7, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    I just want to make one more observation: non-judgmental, and completely from an Aspie’s point of view (i.e. me).

    The problem with human behavior is that several things could be going on here:

    #1: she could be afflicted with Asperger’s, and just blurts out because the noise DOES bother her (this is probably the least likely scenario, though),
    #2: she could have had a bad day, or as others have said wanted a quiet place to be and paid for it, or a million other distractions that can make us, any ONE of us, be extra irritated,
    #3: with or without #2, she could be completely ignorant of autism and why the outbursts happen,
    #4: she could just be evil hearted and vile inside (probably the second least probably condition),
    #5: she could just be stupid.

    Except for #4, she deserves at least to be “upgraded” as best as we can, so she can make an informed decision as to whether or not to continue feeling as she does, or change her mind about the situation.

    Having grown up in a time when so little was known about all this, and not even knowing that I was “on the spectrum” until a little over a year ago, I have learned a lot about why people do what they do. NO reaction is ever “simply” self-generated and internal. Reactions are a combination of one’s past (and if we didn’t have that past, it is hard to judge), one’s present (or what just happened hours or moments ago), and one’s “company” (those they are with); among 1,000 other things. We ask for tolerance and forget it is a two way street. Now, I don’t advocate “acceptance” of a person’s behavior when it is “out of line”; not at all, I prefer someone tell me if something I said sounded “inappropriate” (something I will do now and then as an Aspie, even though I have had 50 years of practice on how NOT to ;-). But there are effective ways, and there are ways that will only exacerbate the problem and promote the person’s reasons to continue in their behavior.

    /steps down from soap box.

  191. Becky Jarrell
    September 7, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    All I can say, Jennifer C, is that you were nicer than I would have been. I do not like to be judgemental. And sometimes, lessons are not fun, nor are they ours to chose (most-times). Since Mrs. Age-Group deemed it upon herself to say something about your child, she should be told that it IS none of her business, maybe she should get a brief description of how it’s not nice to say mean things about people when you haven’t got the whole story. Yeah, I can just picture my scenario turning a bit ugly and her storming off with a ‘well I never’ ‘tude…. of course my husband is my ‘tude repellant and he would have politely advised her that if she could just go back to her table we could all enjoy a nice evening without each others’ company :D ….. meh, I hope you and your family are well :D and continuing to go out and about in the world at large!

  192. Adrienne Bibby
    September 8, 2010 at 9:16 am

    I have to admit that I have not read all the responses here. I suspect most of them are more horror stories of bad experiences in public places. We have all had them….way too many of them. But I thought I would share a positive experience. At the waiting room of a blood draw lab, Erik was being particularly challenging. Loud vocalizations, lots of stimming, running back and forth, grabbing people etc. At 5’7” and 15, this is no longer “cute,” if it ever was. Most people tried to look the other way but one man was staring. Finally he said “I have been watching you and I have to tell you something.” Insert pregnant pause here while the hair on the back of my neck stands up and my hands start to clench in a fist, ready to defend and fight. After what seemed like minutes while smoke was billowing out of my ears he finally said “You have a BEAUTIFUL child. I wish I had a greeting card right now to give him that read…You are a beautiful person and you have a beautiful family.” I immediately broke down in tears. I am quite sure that I would not have cried had the most cynical and mean-spirited words come out of his mouth. But this amazed me. Suddenly all the people who had been looking the other way looked on like a veil had been lifted from the room. I thought the room was going to break out in applause. I could not even form words for a response. I don’t think that I had to.

  193. Donna Y
    September 8, 2010 at 10:16 am

    For us, the parents of a child(ren) who have a form of autism. Life can be hard, strangers can (and will) be mean. If people ‘cannot’ see the disability there must not be one. Sad as it is some people need to see it to beleive it, Our children (unless they have another disability) do not have and outward appearance of a disability. And people ‘assume’ that they are just being naughty or we are lousy parents or both. People have heard of autism but most do not understand what autism really is. ( I know I didn’t until my son was Dx) That you can have a mild form of it, or a severe form or anywhere in the middle. Most people think all autistic people are like the character in the movie “rainman”. People do not understand the whole spectrum thing.
    For me and my family I face it head on, because that is what works for us. I wouldn’t say I am proud that my son has autism, but I am sure as hell not ashamed of the fact either ! It is what it is….. I have been known to carry those business sized cards that explain what autism is. I have also carried short articles to hand out. I mention the “A” word quite often trying to get the people who are around me and my son used to the word. Remember 20-30 years ago when people didn’t say the “C” (cancer) word. I am all about educating others. The more I talk about it and point out behaviors and “quirks” ( for lack of a better word) The more others will know and maybe even share what they have learned.
    Too bad the older women were not more understanding or compassionate.
    Remember for some of us our own families refuse to learn and understand how can we expect strangers to??
    Does it suck when strangers make rude comments and roll their eyes? yes it does, big time. can we change them? no not really, but we can at least try to educate them.
    Be strong, don’t let the bastards get you down. And love your autistic kids as only a parent can.
    hugs

  194. Donna Y
    September 8, 2010 at 10:50 am

    Dan :I am not the parent of an autistic child but I teach autistic children at a special school. Last December my co-teacher and 3 ABA therapists took 6 pre-school children to McDonald’s for lunch. We arrived at 10:45 a.m. in hopes of missing the lunch crowd. There were only a few other people eating. Two of our kids were crying as they often do when they are not doing what is familiar. None of them ate much of the food they were given. So they were somewhat noisy for a few minutes but they were otherwise behaving quite well. A couple walked by our seating area on their way out and the male said, “What’s the matter with you people! You need to take these kids outside and beat the sh… out of them!” We were all stunned and speechless for a few moments and then angry. Then a second couple walked by a few minutes lates and also lashed out with some cruel language. I am very sensitive about how others treat the kids and their families that I love so much. One of the things we do now when we take our kids outside the school setting is to wear our shirts that reveal who we are.

    Dan..When I hear people say things like that my blood boils. I have been known to say something along the lines of….”Autism is not a butt disorder that beating their butts will cure. Autism is a brain disorder that deserves understanding and kindness. Too bad your disability is ignorance which is hard to cure!”
    I do think from what you have said it most likely would have fallen on deaf ears and not done any good, but sometimes just getting soemthing off your chest is a huge help.
    Sorry to hear what the kids (and you and the other teachers) had to hear and go through.
    hugs

  195. Kelsey
    September 8, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    I had a very similiar situation. I work at a school for kids with lower functioning autism and a woman at a local YMCA where we take our kids swimming made almost the exact same statement, ” could you make her stop screaming?” I was flabergasted. People may have heard about autism and think they understand, but they don’t. I wanted to say, “could you educate yourself and not be so ignorant?” but i knew that wasn’t the right thing. We take our kids in the community often so i have started to get used to stares and whispers, but it still hurts. They are people, wonderful people and it’s time for the world to try to understand. For every one ignorant person, though, there are many more who have the utmost compassion for this community. We need to get more stories like this out in the world!
    Rock on!

  196. Christy Schreiner
    September 8, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Buttonsandmore.com has some awesome pins that are very helpful when leaving the house. I got tired of explaining her behavior to people, my favorite reads I have autism, stare all you want cause I’m not paying attention to you anyways.

  197. Betsy
    September 9, 2010 at 2:46 am

    I am going to be another one of those “fun suckers” that is going to disagree with Sierra’s mom. If I were sitting across the aisle from Sierra, I would probably get annoyed with her loudness, too. You don’t know anything about these elderly women; it’s quite possible that they’re on a fixed income and saved up for a long time to go out and enjoy this dinner, only to have it ruined by a screeching child. I tend to think that sometimes people excuse autistic children too much and feel they have a free rein to ruin other people’s fun.

    And before you think that I am one of those people who know nothing about autism, I will say that I have an autistic 10-year-old nephew who is quite capable of acting out like Sierra and also in my line of work I have worked with autistic children extensively over the years. However, I have enough consideration to realize that other people have a right to have an enjoyable time out too, and will remove my nephew from an area if it warrants. Maybe Sierra’s mom should continue to take Sierra to a kid-friendly restaurant where noise is expected and tolerated, and not just because she’s autistic!

    • Selonia
      September 15, 2010 at 10:33 am

      The problem is that the little old ladies are not the only ones entitled to a good time. This child has every right to enjoy her childhood and experience all aspects of life. Those two old ladies are old enough to know that the world is made up of all kinds of different people, and if they cannot accept that maybe they are the ones who should stay in the house!

  198. Laurie
    September 9, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    For the question about restaurants: It was on the news this morning, that a restaurant put up a sign on the door that said that “they do not tolerate misbehaved children.” The news casters discussed it from the perspective of the family who has a child with them and the people who are eating out. They then asked what the law was. The report went on the say that the restaurant has the legal right to post this sign and adhere to it, UNLESS THE CHILD HAS A DISABILITY….. then it is AGAINST THE LAW.

    I have a child who has an obvious physical disability, and people in the community have never treated us this way. I believe that it is that people don’t understand the circumstances.
    Good luck all, I wish you better futures

  199. September 9, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    I know how you feel. I’ve been there my 7yr old son michael has Autism and he is a hand full. he can’t talk and people look at him like he’s a monster.i feel your pain. Maybe that old fart needs a man. don’t ever let anyone make you feel bad you know your littel angel can’t help it.Forget everyone eles and let her be her self.

  200. Grapes
    September 12, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    Empathy hugs from one mama to another.

  201. Scott T
    September 14, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Amen Jennifer. I’ve never looked at an unruly child the same way since my son was diagnosed 5 years ago. And I hope those women never do again after your encounter. Play on Sierra!
    God bless. – Scott

  202. Damien
    September 14, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    Unfortunately it comes with the territory,all people see is a unruly child,and a equally incapable parent.Particularly if by all physical appearances the child looks normal.Its not on every occasion that you can or even want to explain your child behavior.As a parent of an autistic child it’s a kind of “forgive them father for they know not what they do” situation.

    Consider it water under the bridge:- Damien

  203. Selonia
    September 15, 2010 at 10:25 am

    I just ignore people like that because they’re ignorant! People do not understand autism and despite the information that is available, they refuse to see anything other than a child having a temper tantrum. I think every parent of a child with autism knows exactly how you feel. I had a similar situation recently and a friend of mine told me that I should have explained that my child was autistic and the lady would have felt bad. Maybe that would be effective, but we shouldn’t have to disclose our children’s medical diagnosis so that others behave like decent human beings! Hang in there, and just keep telling your child that she is beautiful to be proud of who she is!

  204. tina
    September 15, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    This story resonated with me. My boys are always loud, even when they are just talking to us..they become very animated and we’ve often wondered about how much of their issue with volume was related to their diagnosis. I was so glad to hear that this was common for others too. Unforunately, we are surrounded by people who will make a judgement immediately. And, I’ve often wondered, (if before I had my own kids, if I may have been one of those people, even on a small scale)..now, as parents, I do think it’s our job to try to reel in our emotions a bit and attempt to educate others about Autism. If educating one person can prevent that person from shooting dirty looks or muttering mean things under their breath (or perhaps even saying them out loud) to another parent of an autistic child, then we have accomplished something.

  205. kimberly c.
    September 18, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    This was also an issue for my family as we have a son who is mentally challenged and a daughter with autism. At first it was difficult taking them out but living in a small town most people now know how they are and they cannot control their noise levels but in order for them to know my husband and i had to say something. The worst is when people try to have conversations with my daughter and she “ignores” them there are times when people have gotten offended and ive gotten mad. it doesnt help the situation any but it is a natural reaction to want to defend and protect your child no matter what.

  206. Donna
    September 26, 2010 at 9:37 am

    Quick question? What does an autistic child look like?? How much did you know about autism before you were blessed with a special needs child and needed to learn to help your child?? I’m asking because I don’t have an autistic child but I know some acquantances who do. I’ve seen their pictures and they are beautiful children. They look “normal” whatever that is. If you don’t explain, how will others learn. Do you honestly look up diseases you hear about on the news and learn all of the facts? I doubt it. Most people don’t until someone close to them hs been diagnosed with it. Didn’t you at some time in your life wish the parents would quiet a child who was being very loud? I can remember one time that really stood out to me. I was in a restaurant and the kids at the table next to my Mom and I were out of control. Running around the table and screeching. Did they have autism? I don’t know. Did I shoot them dirty looks? Yep- because you see my Mom and I were trying to discuss her next round of chemo. It was one of only a few days where she felt like putting on her wig and going out to have a few bites. We couldn’t talk and we ended up cutting our luncheon short (it was her last outing before she died). I guess I’m just trying to get you to remember the other side of the coin as well. Don’t judge others- those old ladies may have lost a friend, gotten bad news, hurt so bad from arthritis, facing other issues you know nothing about. I think the comment – don’t mind us, we’re having an austic moment was great. And why did I come to this site to begin with. I was looking for the bingo event I go to every year to help support Autism speaks. God Bless each of you- I know you have some very hard moments and vry wonderful moments too.

    • KATIMA
      January 15, 2011 at 2:40 am

      YEH, I DO. BUT I TAKE IT WITH EASE. I WAS RAISED TO TREAT OTHERS THE WAY I WANT TO BE TREATED. I WAS BLESSED WITH VERY GOOD PATIENCE. I’M ALSO ALWAYS AWARE. AND BEING THE WRITER THAT I AM, I’M VERY OBSERVANT. THOSE PEOPLE WHO ARE DISTURBED BY OUR CHILDREN WITH AUTISM SHOULD LEARN TO ASK, “DO YOU NEED SOME HELP?” OR “UH-OH, WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?” IN A CHILD LIKE MANNER EITHER TO THE CHILD OR PARENT AND MAYBE YOU’LL GET THE STORY ON OUR KID. LIKE YOU SAID, WE MAY NOT HAVE KNOWN THOSE WOMEN PROBLEMS BUT DID THEY KNOW OURS? COMMUNICATE!!!!!! NOT JUDGE SO QUICKLY. AND I AM VERY, VERY SORRY ABOUT YOUR MOM.

  207. September 30, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    I understand exactly how you feel. My daughter Mary is 4 years old and she will evelvate her voice and screech when she becomes overwhelmed with the business of her surroundings. Autistic children often “look” totally normal so when they are being themselves, people just naturally think they are misbehaving. I refuse to apologize for Mary because she is doing the best she can everyday. I’m not going to hide her from the world either. She is beautiful and intellligent and anyone who bothers to take 5 minutes to see that gains knowledge when they meet us. If they take even more time to get to know her as a person, they get a gift because she is truly a blessing. I like to promote “awareness” in people. There’s a little boy that made stickers to put on his autistic little brothers shirts that read “I’m not misbehaving, I’m autistic and I’m working very hard to communicate.” He puts them on his brothers shirts or jackets or whatever so that when they go out in public, people can read it and be more understanding and accepting of his brother.

    • KATIMA
      January 15, 2011 at 2:42 am

      LOVE THAT IDEA. I’M GOING TO USE IT.

  208. Marina
    November 2, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    You did just great unfortunatelly not everyoone knows how to identify an autistic child or person it was my case with my own child always stay sharp and educate people. This autism is not a new thing but unfortunatelly is not as known as other more common disorders. I cry all the time specially when things don’t go well with my child when in public but at times I say to my self keep it together for my child sake.

  209. KATIMA
    January 15, 2011 at 2:26 am

    I ALSO HAVE A DAUGHTER WITH AUTISM. SHE’S 11. I HAVE BEEN THROUGH THE SAME THING. BUT WHAT REALLY GETS ME IS WHEN YOU LET PEOPLE KNOW SHE HAS AUTISM AND THEY CHOOSE TO STILL HAVE AN UGLY COMMENT OR DISTURBING STARE. I CAN AND HAVE ALWAYS KNOWN IF I COME ACROSS A CHILD WITH A DISABILITY. EVEN WHEN I WAS A CHILD. I CAN’T SEE HOW OTHERS CAN’T. OR ARE THEY JUST SO IGNORANT! YEH, WHEN SOMETHING IS SAID, THAT I DON’T LIKE, I YELL OUT WHAT IS WRONG WITH MY DAUGHTER,I SHAME THEM, MAKE SURE ALL CAN HEAR ME WHEREVER WE MIGHT BE. AND BELIEVE ME, I ALWAYS LEAVE THEM FEELING MIGHTY LOW!!

  210. June 7, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    I have two children on the spectrum, one of whom also has ADHD. To look at them, you’d never guess that they had Autism. There are no outward signs that scream “I have Autism”.
    Up until recently, I haven’t taken them to restaurants that didn’t have a playground because we had issues with proper social skills. It didn’t kill us not to go to restaurants. So we practiced at home instead. And it took years of practice and patience. Practicing inside voices, sitting, not throwing, not yelling, what would and would not be allowed (fidgeting is good – kicking is bad etc).
    Like it or not, we have to share this world with people and they have to share it with us. That means compromise on all ends. Our children have to grow up and live in the world – and that means that they need to learn to BE in the world.
    It’s sad when someone is rude to another for any reason. Those ladies were rude to say anything to the blog poster and should apologize. But I also see it from their view.

  1. September 3, 2010 at 8:05 pm

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