Monday, April 15, 2013

In Defense of Those Misbehaving Children

No pretty pictures today. 

Today I want to confess that I was a perfect mother before I had kids :)
I used to be one of those people who was simply not going to have bratty kids. 
I used to think that all misbehaving kids were the result of clueless parents.

I have wanted to be an expert in many things in my life. 
I never wanted to be an Autism expert. 
But my life took a different turn. 

The day at the clinic when I heard those official words, "I think it might be Autism."
I became an Autism mommy.
I know a lot about Autism now. 

I see a different world than some of you see. 
I see mothers in waiting rooms who are venting the harsh realities of raising these kids.
Finances strained to pay for therapy.
Marraiges on the brink or over.
Physically exhausted people.
Kids who are out-of-control. 
Parents emotionally drained from taking care of these kids.

Who's best day, might be when their child says one simple word. In Kindergarten. For the first time.

When my four-and-a-half-year-old son came home from special-ed preschool, and said the words, "It was blue."  I cried.  That was the most he'd ever expressed in his life. I still don't know today what it was that was blue. 

And then. 

And then,
on the internet, and sometimes from well-meaning people, I hear things like this. 

"Back in my day we didn't have a label for things.  We used to call it what it is - being a spoiled Brat!!!"

"The other day I was in a restaurant, (or on an airplane, or wherever) and I could not believe the manners and the crazy behavior of the kids I saw. What's up with kids these days?"

It comes from all over the place.  From well-respected journalists, from well-meaning people who are ignorant, and self-proclaimed experts.

And sure, let's be fair, there are some really spoiled kids out there.

But I have another perspective that I really want you to know about.  Because we JUDGE.  And that judgement hurts a segment of society you probably DON'T SEE as much as I do.

I need you to know about it.  And know that those 'bratty' kids that you see in waiting rooms, at the airport, in restaurants - might not be what you think.

It's because of the 'face' of Autism.

The face of Autism is often a very beautiful one.
Without wheelchairs.
Without unusual facial features.
Without scars or deformities.

Kids with Autism look like normal kids. 

But they aren't.

For a child with Autism,
Sitting in a chair can be torture.
Listening to you chew your food can cause pain.
Fear and Anxiety overwhelm them.

April is Autism Awareness Month.

So be aware. 

And when you see those misbehaving children.

PLEASE, please Don't judge.


  1. Our diagnosis brought mixed feelings for me. Happy to have "figured it out" and mourning for not having a "normal" child. LOVE your post today! :)