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Pointing Out the Obvious

Thursday, 12 August 2010


“So what’s with your son? That was quite a meltdown.”

Really? Because I hadn’t noticed. Nor did I notice the entire store staring at us. With the looks. You know the looks.

  • She sure has her hands full.
  • What that kid needs is a good old-fashioned spanking.
  • What is wrong with that kid?

So you want to know what’s with my son? Autism. Autism is what causes his unpredictable, and sometimes erratic, behaviour. He is not defiant for the sake of being difficult. His emotional outbursts are a result of his inability to cope in a given situation. Though we try to avoid the antecedent that elicit such reactions, we are not always able to anticipate what will set him off.

I’ve grown immune to the stares. I used to be embarrassed. Until I realized that if Beernut’s disability was a physical, and therefore visible, one, I wouldn’t be embarrassed. The only difference is that his disability is hidden deep within the wiring of his brain.

Because of the negative comments and reactions over the years, I find myself, as I did earlier today, approaching parents whose children are exhibiting good behaviour and complimenting them. Folks are quick to comment on “bad” behaviour. Why not put forth an equal amount of effort in praising the good?

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Friday, 13 August 2010 3:17 am

    Thank you!! I am so tired of the looks. I’m also looking forward to developing a thicker skin.

    Good for you, for acknowledging good behavior. I think it is a fantastic idea and would love to see more people doing so.

  2. Debbie Garcia permalink
    Friday, 13 August 2010 8:10 am

    I agree! If we all spent more energy on praising “good” behavior, we may create a “vicious cycle ” of positive energy and stronger human connections. Imagine that!

  3. Friday, 13 August 2010 9:49 am

    It’s funny, that’s exactly what I try to do. When a kid is throwing a tantrum or whatever, I’ll often say to the mom something like, “everyone has a bad day” or “don’t worry – no one minds. people understand that kids don’t like being in the grocery store/doctors office/etc.” Particularly at the synagogue – I specifically go over to moms with children who aren’t sitting quietly and say hi to those kids or say to the parents “it’s okay, a little noise is good for the Jews.”

  4. Lili Dubrow permalink
    Saturday, 14 August 2010 12:23 am

    As one who through the years overshadowed my sons outbursts, difficult behaviors and uncontrolled fidigiting by always feeling like I had to “cover up” the situation, I have become immune to allowing any of this to bother me while in public places. If we model positive behaviors to not only our children but to all, we could be praising all of the kids all of the time. I found it difficult to initially praise others while mine were out of contol, but somehow it is comforting. Through this praise and modeling we can “grow” our society, not just children. I don’t always understand the synapses in the brain, but watching a child on the Autism spectrum become more and more successful is amazingly rewarding. These are some of the smartest people that surround us. I love my son unconditionally and enjoy watching all of the growth, positive behaviors and accomplishments he has had.

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