Thursday, March 25, 2010

Judgments Aside

Sometimes, when I am out with the guys, I get the feeling of being in a fishbowl. People sometimes notice my kids are different. Sometimes people look at Joey askance. Am I dreaming it? Am I over-sensitive? Is it just me?

And every time I start thinking, maybe it is just me, I find stuff like this.** And it isn't just the post- its the preponderance of comments supporting the post. It's not just one person being ignorant and judgmental, it's a whole crowd of them, who think it's funny. The point about teaching kids manners? I'm all over it. Making fun of someone who is teaching those manners, simply because they are in the middle of the lesson instead of at the end of it? Not. Cool.

And it is one of the reasons we don't go to the library much, to be honest. After all, Joey does a similar thing- he notes his small steps to success. "I'm being patient, Mom!" "Look, Mom, I am keeping my hands to myself!" "Mom! I am being nice to my brother!"

But let's leave that aside, and instead come to the park with me and the guys. The sun is warm, there are people laughing, kids playing. A young woman, somewhere in her teen years, comes up to Joey and waves for him to follow her. The way she holds her hands, her head, the over-extension of her joints, her difficulty with speech, all speak of special needs. Joey doesn't understand, I prompt him that the girl wants to play with him. They start a game of tag.

Some other young ladies, these girls may be fifteen, join in. The girl likes to tickle people. We tickle back. She likes Andy's new toy, and they play with it for a while, before he is distracted by another boy his own age. There is more tag, some hide-and-seek. Joey goes over to a bench where two moms are parked with their toddlers, and they let him play with a baby doll with their daughter. There is more running, some frisbee-tossing attempts, more tag, more tickling.

Are people thinking less of this young lady because she doesn't follow social rules? Because she flaps her hands, wants to play tag, likes to squeal when a dog barks? No, even the other teenagers here just join into the fun. Are people thinking less of my Joey, even though they can tell his speech in unusual, his social skills not quite on par? No, they let him be himself and join into the fun.

Compassion is a wonderful thing; acceptance is far more fun; and sunshine is for everybody to share and share alike. Everybody wins.

**Edit: If you really need to see the original post and comments, I have a PDF of the original post and comments, which have been removed from the original link. Or you can recall the original Google cached document yourself. But I don't recommend it. It really is depressing.

***Edit edit: Read this one instead. It's much better.


Anonymous said...

I read about this person's post on another hub site and it really knocked me off balance. I spent more time than I should have worrying about it. We live in a small town and have been working to let people know about G and his challenges, thinking that if they understood then the community as a whole would accept G. After reading the post and comments, I wondered if smockities opinions reflected what people in my town were really thinking too.

Your post was just what I needed to read before I went to bed and spent the night obsessing.

"Compassion is a wonderful thing; acceptance is far more fun; and sunshine is for everybody to share and share alike. Everybody wins. "


abby said...

You know what really gets to me about the post that you cited on your site? The way the author passes her off as this god-fearing, holier than thou sort.

Club 166 said...

Thanks (?!) for the link.

My initial two thoughts were:
1) If either of my two kids were as well behaved (when they were 4) as the 4 year old waiting for the computer, I'd have been high-fiving my wife that night when I told her about it, and

2) The author extolling HER patience and holiness. I've been "getting back" to G_d lately, and this story nicely illustrates why I left him before. Unfortunately, carrying and reading a bible does not a Christian make. Fortunately, there are also a lot of really nice people that also have G_d in their lives.


farmwifetwo said...

I see she took the post down. Claimed she was just trying to point out she was posting something she found "humourous" that she wasn't going to respond to the attacks on blogs, twitter and facebook. And gave a link of where you could send money for autism awareness.

She didn't get the point... at all.

Last summer we were at my children great-aunt/uncles 50th. Their cousin came up and asked to play with my younger son. She's 2 yrs younger than he is.... (they are now 6 an 8). She took him by the hand around the room and afterwards I was told she introduced him to everyone saying "this is my cousin R. We go to school together and play at recess. He doesn't talk much".

That is how it should be done.

web said...

"Making fun of someone who is teaching those manners, simply because they are in the middle of the lesson instead of at the end of it? Not. Cool. "

Very well put.

EJ Willingham said...

Agree completely with Web on that one.

Stimey said...

So well said. I'm formulating a response to this and feel much the same way as you.

Lyn said...

I finally read some of that. For the love of milk and honey, the child is FOUR. Even if she's not on the spectrum, in my eyes she was being pretty "good". She wasn't ripping the books off the walls or something like that or yelling and screaming. She's FOUR!
Plus if she's on the spectrum, she's still just a cub, trying to be patience and wait her turn. What is this woman's excuse? I'm 31 and I have my moments of growling and grunting from frustration having to wait in line in front of people moving in slow motion. If I see a child who is acting a certain way I usually think, perhaps this child is on the spectrum instead of thinking the child is being bad.
And even if the child isn't on the spectrum,I think, this is a little child. This is a kid. Yes, the screaming and yelling is annoying, but it's just a little cub. Growing up and learning about the world. Folks have not only got to be more patience when it comes to kids and throw out the Ezzopearldobsontripp books and replace them with some Dr. Sears but they've got to have more empathy for folks on the spectrum. I only SUSPECT I'm on it and I do my share of public flapping over some pretty song making me feel all twitchy and happy.
Honesty. Folks should really try to be a bit less harsh.