A few years ago I was browsing in a bookstore and found a book called “Ten Things Your Child With Autism Wishes You Knew.” I was tempted to buy at least a dozen copies of the book and wrap it up and give it to a bunch of family member as Christmas gifts. I didn’t. I wish I had. Especially today.
It turns out that a few of these “family” members could benefit from a lesson about autism, and kids who have it.
Suffice it to say that people are ignorant, even if they are related to your child. You expect them to be compassionate and understanding because that is what family is supposed to do, right? You expect them to welcome your child with open arms and make every attempt to connect with them. You expect that they will be different than the rest of the world.
But what if they are just like the rest of the world, who don’t understand, don’t have compassion, and just don’t understand?
If a complete stranger stares at you in the store, you can just blow them off, and walk away. You’ll probably never see them again anyways. If someone is pointing or whispering about your child, again, you can ignore them too.
When people don’t want to invite you and your child over for a play group because they don’t want your child in their house or near their child, you can simply stop going to their house.
When people say something offensive on social media, you can unfriend them or unfollow him. Problem solved.
But what if the ignorant one is family?
All day I have been upset about something that happened to my son last night. He was trying to connect with a family member and was met with rejection. The fact that he was trying to reach out to anyone in the first place was huge. And this person shot him down. They weren’t there to see the expression on his face, but I was. And I can’t describe to you the amount of pain my son was feeling at that moment.
This is not the first time, this has happened, either.
Ignorance. It knows no boundaries.