Walk ten feet in someone else’s shoes

April 16, 2009 at 5:22 am 13 comments

     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.

Entry filed under: autism. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

The things we do for our kids Don’t sweat it

13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jesch  |  April 16, 2009 at 5:49 am

    Well done.

  • 2. Natalie  |  April 16, 2009 at 9:24 am

    I know exactly what you mean. Hannah is the same way. She’s high functioning enough that it’s not obvious that she has Asperger’s. She does just look like a normal kid behaving like a huge brat a lot of the time. Like you said, sometimes she is behaving like a brat, but most times it’s the autism and spd talking and that has to be handled differently than the bratty behavior. I do wish I could invite someone to come take over for me for a day or two and let them see how it is. Then maybe they wouldn’t be so judgemental.

    I figure even when C is doing the bad behavior thing, there’s always an autism component to it. I no longer try to separate the two and just try to use the same strategies all the time. But it sometimes is a challenge with HFA kids to know what’s behavior based and what’s diagnosis based.

  • 3. mom-nos  |  April 16, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    right on! they can stop by my house too when my middle one has been in his room yelling and screaming for 2 hrs and give me whatever advice they want to. Believe me at that point I’m usually open to some suggestions!!

    way to remove him from the situation btw…that’s so hard to do sometimes. 🙂

    It reminds me of the time, when C was about 2, that his ped was telling me to “just brush his teeth.” I wanted to invite him to try it. I couldn’t even get my finger in his mouth at that point, much less a toothbrush.

    It must be nice for the Denis Learys of the world to be so ignorant. I find myself thankful that people like that don’t have kids like ours…

  • 4. T$  |  April 16, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    duct tape. solves every problem. duct tape.

    Please tell me you are suggesting I duct tape Michael Savage and Denis Leary, not C! Otherwise I’ll have to tell Mom what you said and you’ll be in trouble… 😉

  • 5. goodmum  |  April 16, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    AS if you need the added stress of worrying about what people are thinking. You’re already dealing with a child who’s having a meltdown and trying to calm the storm any way you know how. I wish we could live in a world where no one judged anyone else’s parenting.

    Oh, and as for the toothbrushing advice you spoke of in an earlier comment? I’m there too, my friend. I invite anyone to attempt brushing my child’s teeth. ARGH!!!

    I figure it’s my own karma coming back at me for when I was the person in the grocery store wondering why a kid was screaming and why a parent couldn’t shut them up! I’m pretty sure I brought this on myself…

    And OHMYGOSH the toothbrushing thing drives me crazy. C actually uses a spinbrush now, which is astounding, but toothpaste? No way…

  • 6. therocchronicles  |  April 16, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    I hear ya. It’s so hard when these things happen in public with all eyes on you. I’ve wanted that scarlet A on the Roc’s forehead a few times….scratch that…a few times a week!

    Bravo for keeping your cool. I just tell myself, in hopes that I will start to believe it, that I am a stronger person than those who judge me and my parenting abilities. You are the best parent for C and all those that judge couldn’t do a better job than you are doing.

    Chin up!
    I know – I gave myself a pat on the back for NOT losing my cool and for ALMOST talking C out of the tantrum – almost, which is pretty good…I hear you on the “positive talk.” One of these days I’m hoping it will kick in and I’ll believe it too!

  • 7. Bobbi  |  April 16, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    Well said! It’s hard for me because the bigger my son gets, the hard it is to wrangle him. I’m sitting here with a sore neck because he wanted to wrestle with me tonight. He is 74 pounds and only 6 years old.

    It is definitely wrangling for sure – that’s the perfect word! My little guy is 8 years old and only 44 pounds! So I can still pick him up and move him, although I’m more likely to get a jab or poke somewhere painful…I don’t know what I’ll do when he gets bigger!

  • 8. pixiemama  |  April 17, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    YES! So well said. Even though it would be such a valuable “teaching moment,” I’m SURE I couldn’t invite those people into my house. Ever.

    Good point – I think the lightning bolt would strike them at the door – at least it would if I had any control over it! 🙂

  • 9. robinaltman  |  April 19, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    I hate judgmental people. Sooooo annoying. Every time I zap my kids with a taser in public, people are all, “That’s cruel and illegal, you know!” So I turn around and zap them. Jerks.

    I think you’re amazing to just keep your cool and take C out of there. Let’s see Denis Leary do that trick.

    Maybe that’s what I need – a taser!!! 😉

    And you are right, I’m pretty sure Denis wouldn’t last an hour in my shoes.

  • 10. hopeauthority  |  April 19, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    As soon as I order them, I will send you the following tee-shirt to help in such situations: “Hey, my kid has Autism. What’s YOUR kid’s excuse?”
    It’s sure to work when simply glaring at the jackass with “the look of death” doesn’t. So, I got your back…

    Dang, I would totally buy one of those. Seriously. Not sure I would ever actually wear it anywhere, but I’d like to have one! LOL!

  • 11. kristi  |  April 27, 2009 at 10:24 am


  • 12. BQkimmy  |  April 28, 2009 at 11:56 am

    I totally get ya on this. I have wanted that scarlet A a few times myself. I actually struggle to not just tell everyone that gives us “the look” WHY my son acts the way he does. I know it won’t make a difference because they won’t get it anyway though. Besides it’s really none of their business. But sometimes you just want someone to understand!

    We have the same issue with toothbrushing. There was a long time that I couldn’t get Meechi’s mouth open, let along get something in there. Now we get to deal with the dentist work to prove it. Fun

  • 13. Kiwi  |  May 8, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    I’ve been working in a Preschool since August, and gotten quite close with our autistic student and have had to carry him out of the classroom during his tantrums on more than one occasion. I have nothing but awe and admiration for his parents and others in your shoes. I’m pretty sure there is a special level of sainthood for you.

    Thank you, and I suspect that child’s parents feels very much the same way about you. It takes a special kind of person to work in special ed, and I am in awe of you all!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

It’s all autism, all the time.

Parenting Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

Blog Stats

  • 80,498 hits

%d bloggers like this: