the funny - and odd - things stranger say | Autism PDD


Okay, I'm back. Am I reading too much into these, or are some of you
responding kind of rudely?? If someone said "he doesn't look autistic," or
"she's so beautiful," I wouldn't leave them stammering, or roll my eyes, or
snap, "isn't he?!" I would calmly say, well, autism doesn't have a
characteristic look, or I would simply smile and say thank you. If one of my
kids was having a fit and someone said something, or started to say
something, first of all I would hear her out to see what she's going to say -
not cut her off - and then I would smile/grimace, apologize for the scene
with "pardon us," or a patient, "s/he's autistic" (not shouted), while my
attention was focused on my child. Rude people are rare; more often it is
another mother watching with compassion.I think what drives me more crazy is my husband's reaction when we are out. He gets very upset if the kids act out in front of other ppl. Then he yells at me to get them to stop or his favorite line "Take care of YOUR kids".  When I would visit relatives I would be exhausted because I was constantly trying to diffuse the chaos and every aunt, uncle, etc was trying to tell me how I should raise them. I would start to feel alot of anxiety everytime we had a family gathering or if I knew I had to take the boys someplace new. Now, I feel like a veteran of all of this and I just take it in stride and only attend events where I know my children will be accepted.

I do have to sometimes say Emily has autism, like at her hapkido class last week she was having QUITE a meltdown and she was screaming and crying covering her ears then she want's to lay in my lap and suck her thumb well, she is 10 so you can imagine how this looks.  And people keep coming up to her and try to comfort her and this freeks her out even more.  So I tell them Emily has autism I am sorry when she is upset she cant stand to be touched or talked to.  That is what embarreses me the most when she becomes so isolating, I know she has to and it does not always embarase me, but sometimes it does.  By the way Emily also hates the public restroom, and the automatically flushing toilet was deffinatly not invented for people who have autism, this freeks her out even worse because she does not know when it will go off.

Em's mom38871.2652893519I have never really had too many comments but I have read a ton about it on this board! my son is getting bigger, looks older, we have recently been getting looks and I got my first comment at a restaraunt a couple of weeks son was perseverating on the words "shut up"...lovely, I know....

He just kept yelling them out loud over and over and I was getting up to take him outside for a little "walk" and hopefully get him to move on to something I was walking out, some man said to his wife "I would NEVER let my child act that way...I would slap him for that kind of talk"....I was stunned...really stunned at such a whacky statement. I didn't say anything at the moment and handled my son, came back into the restaraunt with him.

When it was time to go, I sent my family ahead (we had releatives visiting) and I stayed back. I walked up to their table and I said to the man..."It is obvious that you wanted me to hear what you said about my son and I did. Slapping a child for any reason is abuse....that is just not acceptable for any reason. You also need to know that my son has a neurological disorder called autism and the only reason why I am telling you is so that you can put a face with this is unfortunately quite common".  The man and lady were speechless...did not say one word and their faces were in shock...horror actually. It was kind of funny...I didn't need a response really...or an purpose was to take a stab at education because clearly, they were ignorant and I thought that maybe by doing this, they would think twice before doing it to someone else...

Slap a child?? What kind of person thinks that is okay? Can anyone say...Whacko!!
Sorry for my snideness last night.


WELL SAID! I am sure they were done eating after you walked away!

Yesterday I informed one of my older childs,friends mom,that our little guy has autism, & her comment was "oh...but he is so handsome!" & I said "Isn't he?...Thank You!" & left it at that.

Terribly ashamed of this, but until I had my ASD (suspect) baby, I was one of those people in the stores that would wonder why a parent couldn't gain control over their child, or why in earth that child would continue to behave that way.    Again, I am terribly ashamed!  I will never ever ever judge another parent as long as I live. 

You know, it's not just parents of ASD kids who feel ashamed of their thoughts about children misbehaving in public.  Parents of NT kids remember the days when they were judgmental every time their little darlings throw and "I want that" fit in K-Mart.  Misbehavior is part of being a kid.  Handling it -- both in public and private -- is the job of the parent.  BTDT.

If you had a child who was deaf and someone was scolding them because they weren't listening, wouldn't you say, sorry, he's deaf?  I KNOW when my child's misbehavior is caused by his autism -- and when not.  So I have no compunction about saying, sorry he's autistic.  I hate saying the "sorry" part, but I can't seem to make myself not say it.  I don't apologize by using it.  It's just kind of an "intro" word.  Autism should be understood.  We are the only ones who can make the public understand it.

I think the best one I heard one time we were in a restaurant and my child was under the table screaming, the waitress came up and said "Awwwe, is it naptime??", and I said no, he has Autism.  She then said, really?.. he doesn't "look" Autistic. lol  I then thought maybe she has it confused with down"s syndrome? and BTW, my son is also terrified of public washrooms. I have to go in real slow and talk very softly and flush n run!!

I don't like to make fun of innocently ignorant people, or rejoice in making them feel uncomfortable for misunderstanding a situation.  I have no problem apologizing for disturbing the peace. 

I too was one of those people who wondered why parents couldn't "handle" their child. Boy have I been taken down several notches since!

What I need to get over is coming down too hard on my son in public - it somehow feels to me that if I do that, then others will see that I am trying to deal with it. However, I think I am just making things worse for my son and battering his self-esteem. That I don't want to do - but that's something I need to work on. The other day I did need to tell another mom. My son very unintentionally scared another little girl (who I suspect has issues herself). He was pointing an object at her (a kaleidoscope) and making a mean face while kind of growling. I don't know why he did this - he isn't usually like this with people he doesn't know. However, I had him go apologize - he had no idea that he had scared her. I told the mom that he had a hard time reading that her daughter was scared. The mom tried to pooh-pooh it off (although I could tell she was ticked) and said that most kids can't tell that at this age. So, I said - actually most 5 year-olds can and my son can't because he is autistic and that is a part of that disorder. So, she then seemed to not be quite as ticked off - but more confused. Because (as others have posted) my son doesn't LOOK autistic


Hey Ford, I get that alot with my son, I usually just smile and say Thank You and leave it at that.I always get the ooohhhh he doesn't look autistic or the oh wow I never would have known. I dunno. Our DX comes pretty late in the game, so I've not had a
situation arise where it's come up, but I know what it's like to be
judged as a crappy parent despite doing my best. I can imagine how
frustrating it could be to be commented on or to be given
unsolicited advice from judgmental passing strangers. When
something is your world, it's very hard to be patient with the
ignorance of others sometimes, especially when they start off giving
you a hard time over something they know nothing about.Sleuth...I try to approach it matter of factly..not necessarily rude...just this is what it is...this is what it called... I think judging and being judged is a part of life (fortunately or unfortunately) and I don't believe I can change the world...but I do believe I can help educate and share information....and if it makes them uncomfrotable...well...that is their choice not my intention. Great response optimistic.

[QUOTE=tzoya]Use it.  Saying "autism" not only backs them off but it gives them a well-deserved kick in the pants.  There is no shame in autism. And the more the public comes face to face with what autism IS, they'll stop thinking about what autism ISN'T.  It's long been observed that children with autism tend to be MORE beautiful than average (just look at the pix on this site).  Why, no one knows.  But that lady found out yesterday what autism is not.[/QUOTE]


You're right...  we do need to just get comfortable with using 'autism' so that the public can become more aware.  I've never been ashamed of him being on the spectrum, it's the actual physical act of such a tall almost-7-year old spinning in the aisles or screaming because he doesn't want to sit in the back of the cart (sometimes I lose him in big stores if he's not in the cart or he touches EVERYTHING on the shelves) that can make me want to run....  Next time someone shoots me a dirty look, I'm going to give them a 'well-deserved kick in the pants'..  lol  :-)

I tell people my son is autistic.  If they are ignorant enough to give me parenting advise, I let them know their place.  People can be so judgemental.  It realy makes me angry and I let them know.I have further proof-my daughter is DOLL FACE!!!!I don't use the word "Autistic" or "Autism" often in public for fear of using it as a crutch.  Because sometimes when my son is acting up he's just being a 7 year old who is not getting his way. Hey, why all the kicking? I would have just smiled and said, "Thank you,"
and encouraged Briana to say "Thank you." She never does, LOL, but then I
smile again at the stranger and say, "We're still working on this." Many people just don't know what to say and are in that situation so fast they don't really know how to come up with a proper response to the situation. So, if I have had some comment or question asked of me , I keep that in mind.  MOST people are good.

Good advice. I also do not use the word with strangers, and I am going to have to change that. The other day at the doctors office, Richard was staring at the aquarium, not making a sound. A young mother was in there with a child of about the same age. Richard had come to sit beside us and was looking a t a book. The mother was chastising her son for making too much noise, and looked at me and my wife and asked if our son was always so quiet and good. We just smiled and shook our heads yes. She told us that we were very lucky. And she was right, but for the wqrong reasons. 

Great answer,Thankfully it was worse.

okay, I just had to share this one. I took my dd into the dreaded public bathroom today because I had to go. She is terrified of the bathrooms and meltsdown with crying, screaming, yelling, and repeating over and over - it sounds like I'm killing her, which I guess in a way I am because it is sooo hard for her.

Anyway, I finally get her in there and do my thing (I am not even asking that SHE go, just me). One lady was in there and I told her my dd is afraid of the flushing. Well, she must have misunderstood me, because she went and flushed her toilet again! But she meant well.

Then another lady comes in and does her business and all the while she can hear my dd (everyone in the store probably could!) and we come out of the stall and she starts to say something to us. I don't know what she had in mind but all I let her get out of her mouth was "Why don't you..." before I cut her off with one word - and the word was "AUTISM".

She goes OHHHH, OHHHH (very gravely, like it's sinking in and all makes sense now) and then says incredulously  "But she's soo beautiful" over and over; she just kept saying it! The implication was "how can that be?"- it was like she couldn't understand how "a beautiful child" could be afflicted with autism. Finally, I said "yes, she is beautiful" and left it at that.

It just stuck with me all day. It wasn't a MEAN comment like so many of us get. Just strange!

I never feel brave enough to use the word 'autism' with strangers...  I usually just turn bright red and try to hurry whenever Deuce has a meltdown in public  (mostly at Walmart....that store does awful things to him, LOL)