January 13, 2015

"I know parents who carry an 'autism card,' saying that their child is not spoiled or misbehaving."

"They deal with scornful looks by wordlessly handing out the card and walking away. The mere fact that so many parents believe that [they] have to carry this prop reveals the scope of the problem."

97 comments:

Bob Ellison said...

We’re not alone. All parents of children with disabilities experience these kinds of subtle aggressions.

I don't. I have a son with Down Syndrome. People treat him fair and square. The kids around him are especially nice to him, partly because he's a really nice and fun guy.

Maybe it's a New York thing. People there seem trained to be self-centered jerks.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Who cares what strangers think?

kimsch said...

As the mother of a disabled daughter (developmental delay, epilepsy, moderate hearing impairment, lupus) I don't know that I can agree wholeheartedly with this.

This was a grocery store. In the produce department. Where germs from the runny nose would get directly on food. Also runny noses are kind of disgusting. Now, the lady who brought that to his attention might have been a little more politic about it. I, perhaps, may have offered a tissue to the parent, in case the parent didn't have one.

My daughter usually behaves herself. But her disabilities don't give her a license to behave poorly. When my non-disabled son was about four he threw a temper tantrum because we said no to cash register candy. My husband tossed him over his shoulder, said, "we'll be in the car", and went out the door. Nearby customers applauded.

I think those "autism cards" are for the parent. My personal thought is, "I don't inflict my poorly behaving child on other people" not - "You need to endure my child's poor behavior because, autism."

Bob R said...

My son is handicapped and gets treated very well in public. I'd be shocked if someone treated us or him that way. (Since he is on canes or a walker, there is no question of his disability as there might be with an autistic child.)

Maybe this is regional, but note that the author is from River Forest, IL; not New York.

David said...

So don’t be the lady in the produce section. If you think a child is misbehaving, why not assume that there’s some story you’re missing?

Most misbehaving kids are not autistic. They are just brats, so I think I'll decline that assumption. Mostly I deal with it by ignoring, or if the circumstance is right jollying the kid. Sometimes that actually works.

Sometimes it's unavoidable, but is the parent doing the child a good service by putting him in an environment where it's inevitable that the child will be annoying and disruptive?

bwebster said...

Our daughter and son-in-law (who live in Mt. Hebron, btw) have four children, the oldest of whom (age 11) is on the autistic scale, though high-functioning. I'm not sure how many struggles they have in public, but their life has been a real challenge, so I would fully understand cards such as these.

Simple example: a few years ago, our grandson told one of his friends at lunch, "When I'm in sixth-grade, I'm going to come back to school and kill my teacher." You can only imagine the fallout from that comment.

Steve said...

I have been hanging out with, and listening to parents of special needs kids for now 27 years. I have never heard of this "autism card." The author is a professor whose "work on the topic of disability rights has appeared on CNN.com, The Nation and Al Jazeera America." I think that explains a lot.

Being the parent of a child with disabilities is harder than being the parent of a typical kid but the principles are the same. You set reasonable boundaries and enforce those boundaries. You let your child know when they have violated those boundaries and have reasonable consequences for those violations. And you never ever tolerate the intolerable.

acm said...

The anecdote in the story doesn't really seem to fit the whole "autism card" thing. I'd find anyone who walked up and said "His Nose!" to a stranger in the grocery store to be an ass, whether the kid was neurotypical or not. If it bothers you that much, politely offer your own tissue or gently point it out. The only situations I can think of where I'd even care to explain my kid's issues to a stranger would be if I was apologizing for something my kid had actually done to them/their property. If you're standing in line at Walgreen's with a shrieking infant, it's totally normal to say to someone, "Sorry, ear infection. Really need that antibiotic and Tylenol!". Or if you're at the playground with a kid who doesn't respect personal space. Other than that, who cares if the kid at the next table is spoiled or if the grandma in the cereal aisle is silently judging you?

Eleanor said...

Grocery stores, restaurants, etc. are learning spaces for children. They aren't born knowing how to behave. It's our job to teach them. If we're good parents teaching our children how to drive, we don't start out on the freeway at rush hour. In the same vein, we shouldn't be taking our small or disabled kids to a fine dining establishment at the height of the dinner hour. You start somewhere like McDonalds, but you require the same behavior you will expect when you go to the place with the fine china and white tablecloths. And you practice at home.

AustinRoth said...

It most certainly isn't the federal food guidelines, but it is also almost certainly the food chain.

I am no anti-GMO, organics only type, but something is wrong with our foods. Some combination of modern growing technology and additives, and the use of things like high-fructose corn syrup )although I suspect that has more to do with the weight problems) has caused a problem.

There is also I am willing to bet a correlation to later birth and with the medicines we now use.

It may be in the end a trade-off we have to accept, though - to feed the size of our world population and to provide the levels of advanced health care we do now (which ultimately help way more people than are affected by issues such as autism, Downs, etc.), these are the side effects.

Wen said...

I don't wish to be unkind to the author, beacuse as a parent of a child with Down Syndrome, I do know EXACTLY how he feels. But it's a pity party and no place you want to dwell in. The kindness and indulgence we recieve from so many friends and strangers alike by far outweighs those real and peceived slights. Every parent would like to say "Don't judge me!" So hold your head up! You're doing more and working harder than most. Screw that mean lady! Keep your powder dry for the school district.

m stone said...

I'm thinking the "dementia card" won't be far off.

Some people with that condition show little restraint and cannot even learn that you don't make a face and point at obese people.

david7134 said...

I was in Aspen and had my child undergo a complete melt down. He was about 5 and the superior people in the area made comments as if we were horrible parents to allow such a thing to occur. I thought he was just tired and hungry, picked him up and got his stomach full and his body rested. But according to our betters, we were bad. Now, some 20 years later, the child has graduated top from VMI and is an officer. Well mannered and mature. Lesion, you don't give a flip what others think.

David53 said...

"Nico likes to run, shout, and then sit down abruptly in the aisle and refuse to move."

Maybe a better choice would be to shop without Nico until his behavior can be modified. A kid running down the aisles of a grocery store knocked my 89 year old Mom down,miraculously she only broke her arm.

George Grady said...

I have two sons with Down syndrome, and we've had the occasional glare or stare from strangers about them, especially when they're being loud. However, if we somehow end up being somewhere that they can't handle and they act inappropriately, we leave as soon as we reasonably can. On the other hand, we've had many, many more strangers come up and just talk to us, telling us about their positive experiences with children, siblings, or aunts or uncles with Down syndrome. The vast majority of people are remarkably understanding, and those who aren't, I ignore, as not worth the effort of being upset at. Of course, I don't (and wouldn't) live in New York.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

"Most misbehaving kids are not autistic."

It can be cultural as well. First-generation Hispanic immigrants tend to let their children whine and cry it out.

Alan said...

I've never even thought of printing up one of those cards for my daughter. Part of dealing with autism is having the child find some sort of way of self-moderating "anti-social" behavior. That is only gained with experience in social situations. She can't carry such a card her whole life.

Unknown said...

Try this "you think my child is badly behaved? You should see what their mom/dad says to people who don't mind their own fucking business."

TreeJoe said...

I should really start carrying around a card that says, "My son is a toddler." so that if people mis-understand why this human being is not acting according to social norms, I can quietly point out to them that he is a toddler and they can check their privilege as adults and remember that they too, once, were toddlers.

TreeJoe said...

On a side note: This article's primary anecdote reminds me alot of how Michelle Obama thought it was racist that a shorter, older white woman in Target approached her and asked for help getting laundry detergent down.

Here, the parent makes a pretty massive assumption about the passerby's motivations. Let me posit an alternate theory that seems entirely plausible given what is shared in the article:

The mom mentions the child has chronic bloody & runny noses. Perhaps one minute beforehand, while the mother wasn't looking, the child had some blood-specked mucus running down his nose, wiped it onto his hand, and then touched some fresh produce with said mixture.

This strikes me as the potential equivalent of a parent watching a child sneeze into a salad bar (Below the sneeze guard!) and continuing to walk along because the child sneezes frequently.

I don't know the situation of course. But I don't see this as some sort of (trigger warning: Big word) microaggression against the parent or child. C'mon people.

etbass said...

I'm blown away by the number of commenters here who have challenged children. And by their wondrous attitudes and responses. Hurrah.

SeanF said...

My youngest is autism-spectrum. Right from the start, our goal was to teach him to learn to control himself. It's obviously harder for him than it is for other kids - although I'm aware there are kids who have it even harder than he does - but he can do it.

Regardless of how his behavior affects others, it's a disservice to him to let him think his condition justifies misbehavior.

Gordon Scott said...

@David7134: "the child has graduated top from VMI and is an officer."

To the residents of Aspen, this would be proof that they were right about your parenting. Okay, not the residents, perhaps, but the folks who own the vacant-50-weeks-year properties.

dreams said...

Maybe autism is caused by all the sugar in baby formulas, which are basically milkshakes, plus all the other sugar they eat. There wasn't any autism that I knew of when I went to school many years ago.

tim in vermont said...

Imagine a life free of micro aggressions!

As I white man, this is my life. Never is heard a discouraging word. The skies are not-cloudy all day. The whole nine yards.

sparrow said...

FWIW I think Down's is a special case where in my experience Down's kids and adults are wonderfully warm pleasant easy going by nature. From my limited understanding autism however is in another category when kids on the "spectrum" have elevated sensitivity to sensory input. I thought (again not very knowledgeable- just asking) that autistic kids were more likely to withdraw and isolate themselves rather than be outwardly difficult, or is that an incorrect assumption.

tim in vermont said...

Nowadays, (and get off of my lawn) every child has to be like a little girl, sitting in class with his legs crossed at the ankles, drinking in enlightenment as it can only be decanted from books.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I'd have a lot more sympathy for the author if I didn't think he was an it takes a village to raise our children type who has no problem telling others how to raise theirs.

acm said...

Dreams, if you're over 35 and American, it's very likely that more of your schoolmates were formula fed than the children who are toddlers now. Rates of breast feeding have gone *up* not down.

SeanF said...

sparrow: I thought (again not very knowledgeable- just asking) that autistic kids were more likely to withdraw and isolate themselves rather than be outwardly difficult, or is that an incorrect assumption.

"More likely," perhaps. Autism is a spectrum, though, and a very broad one. That a child is diagnosed as "autistic" tells you pretty much nothing about how they're going to behave, except that it'll probably be different than non-autistic kids generally behave. :)

Two of the stereotypes of autistic children are that they don't like to be touched, and they have problems with body language and facial expressions. My son is so very touchy-feely that we've had to correct him at times for inappropriate touching of strangers. And, because he also has a language disorder, he communicates almost exclusively through body language and facial expressions.

Jason said...

Great. As if the fake service dog scammers weren't enough, we're going to have autism scammers now.

Laslo Spatula said...

When I am in the grocery store I often give out a card to certain women. It reads:

You Have Been Selected.

I am Laslo.

You WILL Remember Me.



They now know that they are special, and possibly followed, perhaps.

I am Laslo.

Jason said...

I bet we've made a lot of progress, now, though, and we're actually identifying 873 out of every five cases of actual autism before children reach first grade.

Bryan C said...

I suspect the "autism scale" stuff is mostly a fad. You have a tiny number of kids with autism, and you have kids who are within that wide and varied range of human experience we used to call "normal".

Jason said...

Then again, when we have actual cases of autism, I think Rabbi Menachem Schneerson has it right.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBjUmj95r6g

When I grow up, I want to be like this guy.

Uh oh. Time for Wapner.

dreams said...

"Dreams, if you're over 35 and American, it's very likely that more of your schoolmates were formula fed than the children who are toddlers now. Rates of breast feeding have gone *up* not down."

Probably not when and where I grew up. All my siblings and I where breast fed as were many, probably most others near my age which was the forties and early fifties in a rural area.

dreams said...

Just to be clear, I don't know that I've ever seen a child with autism.

SeanF said...

Bryan C: I suspect the "autism scale" stuff is mostly a fad. You have a tiny number of kids with autism, and you have kids who are within that wide and varied range of human experience we used to call "normal".

I suspect you may be right. But I can also assure you that my son is what we used to call "weird." He would probably have been called "retarded."

He certainly would not have been called "normal."

Roux said...

My favorite niece has Down Syndrome. She's funny and loving and memorizes entire movies down and the dialogue. Something I don't think I could do.

Her many first cousins treat her just like every other cousin. They don't treat her like a baby or cut her any slack.

Alas, she has her moments and throws a tantrum or two on occasion. I don't think I've ever seen anyone give her mom and dad or the rest of us an unkind look.

Revenant said...

"My child is misbehaving because he/she has autism" is not the same thing as "my child is not misbehaving".

Sigivald said...

AustinRoth said: I am no anti-GMO, organics only type, but something is wrong with our foods. Some combination of modern growing technology and additives, and the use of things like high-fructose corn syrup )although I suspect that has more to do with the weight problems) has caused a problem.

Nope.

I mean, at least, there's zero goddamn evidence for it that survives anyone critically inspecting it.

The best bet is simply that we're looking for "autism" harder now, and thus finding more of it; it used to be, as I understand it, that people on "the spectrum", but "high functioning", simply didn't get a diagnosis as "autistic".

Now they do.

So it's an "epidemic" and "new".

But it ain't, really, and it's not food, and it's not vaccines, and it's not computers.

(Or at least, not one of the claims that it's any of those has withstood any criticism or closer look.)

Freeman Hunt said...

You can't walk around in public with snot running down your face. You also can't walk around with urine soaked pants or a bloody shirt. Them's the rules of public space.

Let it run free at home if you want. Dab, don't wipe if the skin is irritated.

And if you're going to have a snotty face in public anyway, learn to ignore strangers.

tim in vermont said...

Laslo's not autistics. Nosiree!

kimsch said...

When I was in high school in the late 1970s there was a boy named Ivan in the special ed classes. He was definitely what we now call autistic. At the time though, he was what was known as an "idiot savant". Ivan spent most of the day sitting cross-legged on the floor, his arms crossed with left hand on right knee, right hand on left knee, rocking. He sometimes hummed to himself as well. You could, however, ask him what day of the week any date in the past or future would fall on and he would tell you immediately and correctly. He didn't seem to need to think about it at all. He just knew.

n.n said...

Autism describes a basket of symptoms. It is not a "get out parenting" free card. Perhaps the problem is that education has been replaced with sexual education, and traditional religion or morality has been replaced with libertinism. Well, at least they didn't follow Obama's advice and abort their burden. They are already ahead of the liberal curve.

Anonymous said...

My oldest boy is different. His gymnastics coach insists he is afflicted with aspergers. From my reading online, seems more like a sensory disorder to me.

Whatever it is, I'm sure if we sent him to public school he would be diagnosed with something.

Doesn't matter. We treat him the same as the other children and expect him to behave. Everyone has their cross to bare.

Unknown said...

Autism is a communication and socialization disorder. It is real. Young autistic children do not pick up on social cues nor can they "read" facial expressions. There is a wide ranging spectrum and it is manifested in many ways. Some autstic children do have beahvioral problems due to their lack of social and comminicative skills. Many years ago there was a stigma attached to Down Syndrome. Today there is not. There are bona fide behavioral disorders in children, too. There are brain disorders just as there are kidney, lung, and pancreatic diseases. People need to think before they judge a situation.

Jason said...

There was a "stigma" attached to Down Syndrome? Bullshit. The rest of your post is either straw man bullshit or a restatement of the obvious.

richard mcenroe said...

it's all the THC in the breast milk these days, by cracky!

jimbino said...

Great. Any kid without this card in a grocery store needs to be tossed out ASAP.

jimbino said...

We who are childfree don't relish getting infected or grossed out by the breeder's kids.

Zoonoses are diseases we humans get from animals, principally cats and dogs.

Iatrogenic diseases are those you get from all the docs who haven't learned to wash their hands. That's most of them.

Nosocomial diseases are those you get from being in the hospital.

We need a term for those numerous diseases you get from breeders' kids in grocery stores and from the food they've slobbered over or touched.

Mary Beth (the commenter) said...

We can all carry cards to hand out. It will be like an update of the Victorian calling cards but instead of receiving them at home, you get them while you're out.

"My child is autistic."
"I'm caring for a terminally ill parent and don't have time for your child to plop down in the aisle and not move." (That one might be too wordy and situation specific.)
"Stop oppressing me with your hetero-normative behavior."

If you came home with a large collection of cards people would know that you're a "good person", but if you refused cards that were offered, people would know that you're just the opposite, a Republican.

I am a robot, stop judging.

jimbino said...

We who are childfree don't relish getting infected or grossed out by the breeder's kids.

Zoonoses are diseases we humans get from animals, principally cats and dogs.

Iatrogenic diseases are those you get from all the docs who haven't learned to wash their hands. That's most of them.

Nosocomial diseases are those you get from being in the hospital.

We need a term for those numerous diseases you get from breeders' kids in grocery stores and from the food they've slobbered over or touched.

ELC said...

When I got to the word "microaggressions", I quit reading.

Anonymous said...

There is legitimate study under way linking Autism to acetaminophen. Might explain the horrid rise in this awful condition. Something to do with the drug's interaction with Seraronin. This would explain the insistent link to vaccines as well--what do they usually advise? Child gets a vaccine, give them prophylactic acetaminophen.

Only reason my ears perked up when I heard this was the memory of the feeling every time I was advised to give my children this drug. Something (maternal instinct?) just told me it was not good. It bothered me that much, and that was 25 years ago.

campy said...

"I'm caring for a terminally ill parent and don't have time for your child to plop down in the aisle and not move." (That one might be too wordy and situation specific.)

A mini-printer for smartphones would come in handy here ...

wildswan said...

The term for "breeders kids" is: "your only chance for Social Security"

Drago said...

jimbino: "We need a term for those numerous diseases you get from breeders' kids in grocery stores and from the food they've slobbered over or touched"

Ask your parents for their suggestions.

Revenant said...

This would explain the insistent link to vaccines as well

You don't need to "explain" that which does not exist. There is no link between vaccines and autism. The one study that found one turned out to be fraudulent.

LeAnne said...

The physicist married the engineer and we hit the genetic lottery with our last son. He's not autistic but he has what is now called Pervasive Developmental Delay - Not Otherwise Specified. PDD-NOS for short. Intellectually he is right on target for his age but he is quite socially delayed especially in terms of communication. He is also exceptionally tall for his age. People tend to expect more from him than he can give.

For the first five years of his life the only form of communication he used was screaming. He found it exceptionally effective to get what he wanted :-). As you can imagine, this made any sort of grocery shopping, doctors appointments, etc., pure hell.

Eventually he figured things out and after a many years of tears and frustration, he learned to talk (and now will talk your ear off) but those early years were so heartbreaking.

I had to take him out often so that he could learn how to behave. I had to take him out so that we could have food to eat :-). But the social disapproval was difficult to take sometimes.

Anonymous said...

So the big problem is not a generation of entitled, self-centered, undisciplined brats. The problem is that moms of the tiny minority of kids who have an explanation for their bad behavior getting annoyed looks.

Anonymous said...

So the big problem is not a generation of entitled, self-centered, undisciplined brats. The problem is that moms of the tiny minority of kids who have an explanation for their bad behavior getting annoyed looks.

Skyler said...

How did I know this was a NYT article?

Skyler said...

I should add that I seriously doubt that this story even happened. I've never met an adult to behave this way. If a comment was made at all, it was probably made in an attempt to help and not accompanied by grubby rat-like gestures.

I think this is most likely made out of whole cloth by the writer to be another "make New York City people feel good about living in a rat and bed bug infested crime ridden hell."

furious_a said...

We who are childfree don't look forward to Visitors' Day at Trembling Acres.

There, fixed it for you.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

breeders' kids

*snort

As opposed to those kids who come from nonbreeders. They are flown in via stork.

PB said...

Many parents play the disabilities card to give their kids an edge in school, primarily so they can have unlimited amounts of time to complete tests.

CWJ said...

It's late, but Mary Beth @1:34 nails it, pounds it flat, pulls it back up nails it again, and then grabs the nailset to sink it deep.

Get over yourself. Do you really assume that the rest of the world has a perfect life just waiting for you to inflict your problems on them? EVERYONE has a story! It's not a competition. And if you think so you may be 21st century normal, but yours is a game I will not play.

Brett Lutz said...

I have an autistic 7 year old. The biggest problem is that many autistic children do not look like they have a disability. With many disabilities there are physical signs. The biggest clue for autism is usually a stimulating behavior, like flapping their hands.

We were approached by an older woman in the store one day. We had skipped the frozen treat aisle at the store. MY son is a creature of habit, and knows where his treats come from. He broke down. The woman looked at my wife and said, rather forcefully, "Control your child!"

I was just walking back up to the cart and replied, "I apologize for his behavior, he has a developmental disorder called autism. It means his temper can change rapidly. What's your excuse for such rude behavior?"

I got a dirty look from an old lady, and a hug from my wife.

CStanley said...

For reasons of privacy I don't want to give a lot of detail, but one of my children had an anxiety disorder which made her appear rude when out in public. People are a lot more judgmental than some commenters seem to believe, and it impacts the child- not just the parents. I won't deny feeling thin skinned sometimes over it, but it was because of the way these interactions impacted my child that I used a card somewhat like this. It was impossible during brief interactions to explain to people what was going on, but I felt the need to educate as many people as possible and sometimes it helped the interactions to go more smoothly (the card had brief suggestions of ways to facilitate communication with her, and-more significantly-when people knew she wasn't deliberately snubbing them their attitude changed and her ability to interact improved.)

What some of the parents of disabled children here don't realize is that each situation is different. Downs kids tend to be very sweet but if you have a child that is irritable and aggressive then unless you keep him or her locked up you are going to have to deal with a lot of negative interaction in public. The goal may be to teach adaptive behavior but there is a range of what is possible for each child and a time period while the behavior is being taught, so there will be difficult times. When your child experiences that on a regular basis it becomes obvious that the negative feedback he or she constantly receives is destructive and you feel a need to break the cycle.

Fernandistein said...

m stone said...
I'm thinking the "dementia card" won't be far off.


My card says "I can hide my own Easter eggs".

tim in vermont said...

We need a term for those numerous diseases you get from breeders' kids in grocery stores and from the food they've slobbered over or touched.

"The people who are going to wash your ass and wipe your chin in your old age" would be one word.

jimbino said...

Yo, you who have misplaced your pants and your brain,

"We who are childfree don't relish getting infected or grossed out by the breeder's kids" are entertained by the breeder's logical ineptness.

jimbino said...

Yo, Tim in Vermont, I don't know how it is in Vermont, but in our non-flyover places, we are overloaded by kids who, whom we pay fortunes to mis-educate, can't even mow lawns or shovel snow anymore.

To "wipe my ass" I will need to depend on immigrants and their children, god blessem, since our expensive domestic kids aren't worth a damn.

Bob Ellison said...

Yo, jimbino, just put an electric fence around your lawn, and sit on the porch with a long gun.

jimbino said...

On the contrary, Bob Ellison, I would remove all the fences on the Texas border that keep out the educated, bilingual and potty-trained who know how to "work like a Mexican."

Bob Ellison said...

This woman seems like the kind of person who would bitch about an autistic kid in the way of her first-world-problem life.

And jimbino, that's cute. So you like well-trained puppies. Good for you.

Michael K said...

"Maybe autism is caused by all the sugar in baby formulas, which are basically milkshakes, plus all the other sugar they eat. "

Autism is caused by a defect in the receptors for certain hormones, like oxytocin and vasopressin. It's an interesting question whether it is more common now than before.

Maybe it's more women having babies at older ages. No, that couldn't be it.

That author sounds like the parents who want their severely disabled kid "mainstreamed" so the public school teacher spends half her time tending to gastrostomy tubes and other non-educational activity that has gotten more common in our public schools these days.

Michael K said...

"Only reason my ears perked up when I heard this was the memory of the feeling every time I was advised to give my children this drug. Something (maternal instinct?) just told me it was not good. "

The reason why parents are given the suggestion to give kids acetaminophen was that it does not cause the fatal reaction that aspirin can cause in febrile illness. But you go right ahead. Reyes Syndrome only happens sometimes.

Michael K said...

"Iatrogenic diseases are those you get from all the docs who haven't learned to wash their hands. That's most of them."

What a nice fellow ! I understand that naturopaths wash their hands. Why don't you go to them ? Thin out the jerk genome.

Anonymous said...

I have a special needs son who is 27. He tests at about the 3-year-old level. He was a real challenge to raise and we moved him to a group home at age 16 because a toddler's tantrum in a man-sized body is hard to deal with.

He knows nothing about oil prices, foreign wars, stock market crashes, home invasions, or many other things that worry most of us. He shows his enthusiasm for the things he loves--things that move automatically like windshield wipers and elevator doors, riding in a car or, even better, a bus, and music of any kind. Many people in our church choir have commented to us that seeing him enjoy the music has brightened their days.

I think his spiritual gift must be encouragement.

Sometimes I wish my life was so good.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and we get a lot of hand flapping, and moving around when we should just stand still. And sometimes he spins around to walk the other way without looking. So far we have only knocked down one old lady who stood too close in the checkout lane at the store.

Anonymous said...

George Grady at 10:21 mentioned that his kids can be loud.

My wife and I asked the group home agency to take our son to get a state ID which we could use for him at the airport when we fly to visit Grandma. They said they would and they told me their strategy, too. The workers have found that if they take a noisy resident as part of the group that they get faster service at the DMV.

If you know George Grady you should think about borrowing his kids the next time you need to renew your driver's license.

CatherineM said...

Grundoon- your son sounds like my nephew. He went to a home when he was 17 because he was really hurting himself and sometimes my sister. In addition to a long list of ailments his autism is so severe it would often mean banging his head or another body part. At the home he finally became toilet trained and stopped hurting himself. It helps when you have so many people around to stop the behavior. He also learned to curse because the orderlies apparently would in frustration, so now when he stops himself from doing something harmful he will shout, "knock it the fuck off Bobby!"

My sister brought him home after a medical issue and won't bring him back, but he improved so much at the home. I still worry at over 6ft tall and very strong he is going to accidentally hurt my sister one day

CWJ said...

Grundoon wrote -

"So far we have only knocked down one old lady who stood too close in the checkout lane at the store."

I really hope you weren't serious. In fact, I think you were just being tongue in cheek.

But if not, pray tell, what is the regulation distance that old ladies should stand in order to be blameless once knocked down?

CatherineM said...

The guy in the story is not from New York people!

Being the NYT I read the comments waiting for the why didn't you get tested have an abortion? It was a ways in, but yup! Assholes do not disappoint.

CatherineM said...

There isn't an epidemic of Autism, it's an epidemic of diagnosis on "spectrum" just like ADHD. I read someone on another site saying that he has never met an autistic like the "rain man" character (who is an awful lot like my nephew if only he could form sentences longer than 2 words never mind being a math savant), but I think you had to be extreme to be diagnosed and then it was few and far between.

When I was in HS I had a "class" each semester helping the teachers in spec Ed. The teachers would tell us their disabilities are not an excuse for bad behavior.

Ornithophobe said...

For the people who think there wasn't any autism in the good old days, I offer the following: In my family, I can trace it over a century back. My son has "Asperger's." I was "weird." My great grandfather was "eccentric." His son, my great uncle, was institutionalized for being "insane." All of these relatives shared specific common traits- poor grasp of social conventions, bad comprehension of body language, physical clumsiness and dexterity concerns, coupled with high intelligence and a predilection for talking about things (and reading about things) that other people found bizarre.

My son's diagnosis just put a fancy new name on some very, very old problems.

Anonymous said...

Some food for thought while we're on the subject ... though it's sure to draw some sharp comments, if anyone reads this.

A good friend of mine has a daughter in her mid-20s who was diagnosed as retarded at a very early age, and long before the day "autistic" was a widely-known (or widely-made) diagnosis. Few parents had even heard of autism when her daughter was born.

The difference between the two, she explained, was critical because "retarded" children receive far fewer accommodations, social services, due process, etc., in the public school system than do autistic children.

But surely there must be differences, I said. She challenged me to identify how autistic children are any different than retarded children. For every example (symptom) I tried to come up with, she shot me down, persuasively arguing there was no difference whatsoever between the two. Example: "well, uh, autistic children have difficulty in social situations ..."So does my Elizabeth!" she answered.

As we continued the discussion, I was hard-pressed to name any behavior not shared by both groups. (When I mentioned that many autistic children are extremely intelligent but have difficulty in social situations, whereas retarded children are often quite socially engaged but not intelligent, her answer was that these intelligent children are neither "autistic" or retarded -- they're merely socially inept).

Her point was that doctors today rarely -- if ever -- diagnose a child as retarded because the services offered for such children are far more limited. Indeed, now a diagnosis of "retarded" is a virtual invitation for a malpractice suit and almost a death knell for the parents.

Why the difference in services? I asked. The rationale there, she explained, is that autistic children are viewed as having some hope of cognitive or social improvement, whereas retarded children are viewed by the state as having none. Hence, she explained, the skyrocketing number of autistic diagnoses; and many, she believes, are wrong and deliberately so.

Suffice it to to say, she remains a tad bitter that her daughter drew the short end of the stick in the timing of her birth, and got tagged with the "retarded" label before "autism" became de rigeuer. She says her daughter received virtually none of the special educational services available to autistic children and it seemed not only illogical but unfair.

Any "stigma" associated with either diagnosis was the least of her worries. She was a single mom who just wanted some help for her daughter yet got almost none, while the parents of autistic children, it seemed to her, got whatever they needed.

http://www.metrokids.com/MetroKids/November-2012/IEP-vs-504-Whats-the-difference/

MadisonMan said...

But her disabilities don't give her a license to behave poorly.

This.

I recall from way back when that the son's soccer team mate had a brother with diabetes. Everything that that boy did was blamed on his diabetes.

Any person needs to learn to be in control of their own body and actions. That you have a disability that complicates this, and a parent/parents that don't help, is a huge problem.

sparrow said...

( out of 10 Down's kids are aborted. I'd call that a "stigma".

sparrow said...

That should be 9 of 10

CStanley said...

But her disabilities don't give her a license to behave poorly.

This.


Sure. Similarly, being an adult in the proximity of a child who is misbehaving doesn't give you a license to be a judgmental ass.

Jason said...

That is not what "stigma" means.

Jeff Hall said...

> There wasn't any autism that I knew of when I went to school many years ago.


@Dreams: I've also heard that there aren't gays in Iran, and weren't any black people before the civil rights movement. The world's a strange place I guess.

Jason said...

THERE ARE NO AMERICAN TANKS IN BAGHDAD!

Unknown said...

As a parent of a severely autistic child with ADHD, going out to a public place is very hard. Not only because of the behavioral issues that come with autism but also because of the ugly stares we get from strangers.

Most people are IGNORANT. They dont understand what autism is. They dont understand that there are different levels of it. They dont understand that there is a difference between Asperger's and Classic autism.

Some children dont know how to behave in public and dont understand when they are redirected. They simply cannot control themselves. ...AND NO THEY ARE NOT TANTRUMS! It is the fact that they are overwhelmed with their surroundings.

As a mother of autistic child, I hate being judged. People who know my son tell me to ignore the stares, but no one has any idea what it feels for people to judge your child. The person you love the most is being judged and you cant do anything about it. He cant do anything about it. Ive even thought about buying a shirt for my son that sayd "Be patient with me. I have autism." just so that people can be more understanding of his behaviors, which would be an equivalent of the "Autism Card".

It doesnt mean that you want a break from being judged as a bad parent, it means that you want a break from them judging your child!

Autism cards, IDs, shirts, and any other from of identification is great for people around you to be a little more understanding. I dont think cards would work because your hands are always full with an autistic child, but anything else in my opinion is a great idea