Walk ten feet in someone else’s shoes
There’s way too many people who say things about how kids with autism are really just poorly behaved children with terrible parents. For every person who says that publicly, I’ll bet there’s a zillion more who believe it but don’t say it out loud.
I’m here to say I get it.
As I stood at kid golf class this afternoon watching C behave just enough like a banshee to warrant some intervention, but not quite enough like a banshee to warrant complete removal from the situation, I understood why people might have the perception that he is only a poorly behaved child with parents who can’t control him.
In fact, sometimes C is a poorly behaved child with parents who can’t control him. I looked around this afternoon at the parents looking back at me and keenly felt what they were thinking. I almost wished C had a scarlet “A” on the back of his shirt just so everyone else would know. Not to excuse his behavior, but at least to explain it, along with our difficulty in managing it.
Ultimately, the lesson ended with my carrying a screaming, writhing child to the car. I made the what-seemed-like-a-mile-but-was-really-only-about-a-twenty-yard-trek to the parking lot, knowing that I was much closer than I’d ever been to talking C through his frustration before the behavior spiralled into a tantrum. I was proud of both of us for that. Yet I’ve operated under the assumption that C will grow out of these tantrums eventually, and I find myself wondering if they’ll stop before I am no longer able to physically relocate him to a safer, calmer place.
In the meantime, however, I’d like to invite the Michael Savages and Denis Learys of the world over to my house to see if they can do a better job than we do. If they have parenting advice for us, I’m ready to hear it. Bring it on.