Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Kindness vs Cruelty, Autism Awareness is Improving

Autism awareness is improving and I'm getting used to people's kindness instead of cruelty.

Awareness is an incredible thing. For most of the ten years since Nicky was diagnosed people's gazes and comments toward Nicky and I have been less than kind. It became routine to get hurtful looks sent in my direction to pass along messages like; "Really...lady, can't you control your kid?", "Do you have to be so mean?", "What kind of an idiot let's their kid do that?" and the most painful of all "Why don't you and your kid just leave so we can get on with our day?". A little less common were the people, so sure of themselves that they went beyond the looks to tell me exactly what they were thinking. Some of my favorites "You really should teach your child how to act", "A good spanking and he would really do better", "Can you please control your child", "Does he really belong here?".

Then every now and then someone would approach me, I would cringe expecting the judgement, and something kind would come out of their mouth. Three years ago was the a lady came up to me following a public Nicky breakdown and said "My sister has a son with the same thing and you really did a good job". This was the first time a stranger in the community, could see how hard Nicky and I were working, and took the time to say something kind, I cried.

People are recognizing autism and now show kindness. Yesterday a stranger approached me and said "You are really a good mom. You really do a good job with him". This was the first time I was approached and my body did not tense up in preparation to hear something bad. It felt so great to think about how much it means to everyone living with ASD that people understand, and can now express kindness instead of anger.


  1. This is all wonderful, but sadly, the reason there is more autism awareness is simply because there are more children with autism. Nevertheless, Donna, you ARE an exception mother to two exceptional children.

  2. All true, Pru. All I can say is, I know the sheer numbers are driving awareness :( . At the same time, however people get to kindness, it feels better than being ignored or judged.