I was watching this segment of What Would You Do this morning and through the tears it always gives me, there was a moment in the beginning that grabbed me. I have seen it many times before but this moment didn't used to get to me like it does now. It's the moment the dad turns and tells the rude customer the boy has autism.
An autism parent always finds themselves in a situation people stare or many times people are extremely rude. Thinking a parent isn't doing there job or they just have zero control and well, I can tell you sometimes zero control is exactly what life with autism brings but at the same time a family in a sit down restaurant is taking full advantage of whatever control they have that day and enjoying it. The reason the moment he turned and said "he has autism" grabbed me was because in no way should anyone have to explain this to anyone. I used to tell people who were confused by my son's repetitive behavior or lack of sit still that he was autistic but I don't anymore. Reason being if my son is struggling we owe no one an explanation of any kind and frankly I don't have time for that. No one does.
Autism is not a rare disorder these days and if someone isn't aware of autism, they aren't from this planet or live more isolated than we have ever come close to. If someone is rude it is not me who needs to explain my child but maybe me who needs to explain a rude person to my child. I have spent way to much time explaining autism to people and way to much time thinking people need to understand and the bottom line is people will either be kind or they won't, depending on what they are made of and according to this segment, most people are kind. Being rude is a character flaw that can't be changed with the word autism and no explanation is going to deter that. I think of my son and consider as he goes through life all the people he will encounter with character flaws and I don't want him to explain himself to them so they will accept him. I want him to find the people who's character is good enough to flow with what he needs, without explanation and that starts with me showing him how.
I talk about autism with people who I know want to learn or are just kind enough to now they don't understand the big picture, the rest are just aliens from another planet we don't have time for. Isolating themselves from a disorder everyone should be aware of by now. Autism parents, you don't need to tell people why or what is making a situation challenging. Every single time someone has been rude to us, they had no idea autism was factor and I am positive it wouldn't have mattered or made them instantly kind to discover it. Almost every time someone has been kind and understanding they also didn't know autism was a factor. The issue is not autism, it's the character of people and what they are made of. It's a much better way to approach people in public than letting our children hear us explain them to irrelevant strangers. Explain the strangers and how their behavior is not okay, and carry on being a rad parent.