To the elderly man at the supermarket last week who took it upon himself to growl at L and then tell L that he was a very naughty boy. Do you realise just how sacred you made L feel?
To the mother who openly ignored my child as he was trying to say hello to you and your child and who then said to a mutual friend “that L doesn’t have Autism, he is naughty and his mother can’t control him. Period” Do you know how much you deflated his self-confidence by ignoring him?
To the mother who glared at me when L was having a moment and then told her own son “I don’t want you to play with that boy, he is very naughty.” Do not call my boy naughty.
Do not judge L’s behaviour based on your one chance encounter with us. You saw L when he was at his most vulnerable and you have judged him on that.
L is not a naughty boy, he has Autism.
You just happened to notice L’s behaviour when he was overwhelmed by his surroundings and had entered into sensory overload.
Did you know that Autism is called Autism Spectrum Disorder? Did you know that ASD encompasses so many different attributes but not all individuals diagnosed will present with the same traits?
Did you know that my heart breaks every time either of my children are so over stimulated from their surroundings that they enter into a sensory meltdown? Do you know how mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting a meltdown is?
Do you know the difference between a tantrum and a meltdown?
Do you know what sensory overload is?
Many individuals on the spectrum also have sensory issues and these issues affect how they process the environment around them. Sensory issues can make noise, lights and sounds seem so much more intense to an individual on the spectrum. And at times the only way that they can communicate how they are feeling is through a meltdown.
Every time they leave their home, their safe haven, they are entering an unfamiliar ever changing territory where they can no longer control what happens.
We have learnt how to minimize the impact of such environments to L, but at times he still struggles. The one thing that I can’t protect him from, is ignorant comments from individuals like yourselves.
So on behalf of L and others like him, please think before you make a comment or pass judgement on their behaviour.
We need support, not your negative comments.
A smile or nod that you understand means more than you will ever imagine.