Please tell me how someone has NOT heard of autism? If you’ve been living under a rock, there’s a good chance a kid with autism likes the texture of it and has tried to pocket it for his collection. If you’ve permanently lost your remote control or don’t have access to a television, DVD, or VCR (do they still make these?), you’ve missed some seriously good movies and shows lately — many of which even showcase the autism spectrum (Parenthood, Temple Grandin, The Big Bang Theory). All in all, there is NO excuse for such blatant and ignorant disregard of humanity.
My brain is ablaze because of a comment that I apparently had to hear as I opened the waiting room door at my clinic: “What’s wrong with these kids?” At that particular moment, they were too loud. But, more generally, nothing. The real question is: “What’s wrong with you?”
As you might guess by that statement, I’m as judgmental as the next person. I like to people watch. I look through magazines and comment on clothing. I watch “What Not to Wear” and wonder what in the world some of those ladies were thinking. I worry about my own personal presentation and the thoughts of others. My largely neurotypical abilities are shining through. In contrast, my four little boys with autism aren’t equipped to recognize, understand, and care about what others think just yet. And, some days, those are skills I’d love to bypass teaching.
I’m not asking people to cure it, recognize it, donate, wear a puzzle piece, or even “have a friend” diagnosed with it. I’m asking for the benefit of the doubt, some understanding. I’m asking for empathy, that neurotypical trait so many with ASD struggle with. I’m asking for acceptance. And I might be done asking.