Too often, I feel judged…I feel like my son is judged because he has Autism. His reactions to common occurrences are anything but “typical”. When routine is disturbed, or we have a visitor who is not part of a “normal” routine, or if we are in an unfamiliar place, Tate will react. He just does.
When these atypical reactions manifest, many people stare. Eyebrows raise. A few whispers start. Children point. Adults clear their throats in that, “oh, my, this is awkward” way…and Hubz and I are left to try to pick up the pieces…literally and figuratively…alone.
So many times I wish someone would look at me knowingly…TRULY knowingly..or put a hand on my shoulder and tell me that it gets better…or easier…that it’s OK…but that almost never happens. Instead, I feel like a school kid…one who is shunned by peers because I did something weird. For those who judge me…US..I wish they could walk a mile in my shoes…to see how it feels.
Yesterday I created a team for the Walk! For Autism Speaks in our area. The walk isn’t until spring, so it gives us 6 months to prepare. I hope a few more people will join the team…Tate’s team. We will walk…a little more than a mile, actually, to raise awareness, show support, and celebrate, yes celebrate, people like our Tate.
I am sure there will be a sense of community. A sense of belonging…and trust me, it will be overwhelming. I am looking forward to an event planned for children, for families, who have Autism. No judgment. No pretense. No staring because my kid is stimming with a pen…or flapping his hands because the excitement and anxiety are a little.too.much. Words of encouragement when my kid sits down because the wind is “too squicky”. Looks of “oh, yeah, I get it” when the echolalia takes over.
And together, we can enjoy the hope that comes when so many people unite for a cause…and hope that because of the steps we take that day, some people who don’t know what we deal with every day see what it’s like to walk (a little more than ) a mile in my/our shoes….