"He's Autistic. Is It Okay if They Play Together?"

Categories: Parenting

I can understand why it might ultimately be better to be up front with your child's autism during play dates in order to head off a possible scene later. I get it, but it breaks my damned heart. So let me say this...

Parents? Your kid doesn't need my permission to be autistic. They don't need my permission to be blind, to be in a wheelchair, to not speak the same language as my daughter, to be transgender, or a dwarf, or any other aspect of their life in general. They not only don't need my permission, they don't need anyone's permission. Not even yours. Not a single one of us dealt this hand; we just play the cards as best we can.

Know what I was writing about last week? A couple of parents that only got around four years with their son before he died of a rare cancer, and the video game they made to honor him. And yet, in an era when that is totally a thing, some parents apparently have lives so shiny they can get upset over other children drinking Yoo-hoo. And it's apparently an era where people can actually have the gall to look at a little kid with autism and feel that the best way to deal with that is to have their own child shun them like an unclean caste.

This world needs a lot of things. It needs fewer guns and more access to medicine and it needs a damned Doctor Who LEGO video game post haste. Most of all it needs us to consider other people before we open our big stupid mouths. No parent should have to apologize or ask permission for their autistic child to participate in the big old ball pit of life.

But some parents need to apologize for being assholes. Unlike autism, that actually can be contagious.

Jef has a new story, a tale of headless strippers and The Rolling Stones, available now in Broken Mirrors, Fractured Minds. You can also connect with him on Facebook.


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5 comments
raven_summersong
raven_summersong

Never should a parent have to appologize for who their child is. But as a librarian, I always appreciate it when a parent lets me know if there child is autistic, or has any other specific situations that mean I need to adjust how I do a program or a story hour to help them be comfortable. It's easy for me to adjust noise levels or other parts of the activities to make sure their child is more comfortable, whatever that particular child needs.

bruce_katherine
bruce_katherine

Can I just say that being told by a parent, however apologetically, is much better that having a mother in your face screaming "He's autistic, you bitch!!!" with spit flying into your eyes when you try to treat their child like a 'normal' child during an Easter egg hunt on Easter Sunday. Sorry, but I think I'd rather be in your shoes. 

MommieDawn
MommieDawn

Again....well said.  As an aspie and mother to an aspie....I thank you. My daughter was diagnosed at age ten....so for ten years I felt I was just dealing with a special kid who was painfully shy, anxiety ridden, tightly wound, and very sensitive. It really didn't bother me, because I could relate and treated her the way I wished I was treated growing up.  So many times I'd be in public, say, at the grocery store, and she'd have a meltdown. As so many parents do...I did the opposite. I didn't tell her to 'HUSH' or tell her she's embarrassing me....rather, I got down on the floor with her and allowed her to move through this meltdown. We would rock. I would hold her, when she allowed me. And when she calmed down, we'd dig through my purse for a toy or pencil or even paper to tear. 

Meanwhile, every adult around me shot me Go To Hell looks...which I promptly shot back.  I was accused of coddling my child, catering to her, spoiling her and, yes, allowing her to 'act like a brat'. We parents of autistic kids, sometimes feel it necessary to tell others....some of us feel we need to wear a sandwich board while in public. 

I can say that being a parent is the hardest job in the universe.....being a parent to an autistic child adds about a million more tons of stress, guilt, anxiety and exhaustion. 

My oldest is twenty and away at college now. She's the ideal child - self sufficient and self assure. My aspie is 17 and has been home schooled for almost 5 years now. I have not been alone in years...she is my shadow and I am hers. She's still learning about herself and I'm here to smother and make sure she's ok. Do I wish I had a break now and again? Totally. I'm human..but this is life and I chose to be a mother and I take that title very seriously,. 

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