16 November 2010

Would it be judgmental of me to call you a judgmental prick?

Have people always been such judgmental assholes, or am I only just cluing into this because I have disabled kids?

It's official now, I have three kids with Autism. Pop was diagnosed on Friday. I'd find that heartbreaking if my heart hadn't broken already when I figured it out months ago.

I am utterly astounded by the judgmental people out there. I shouldn't be, I know, but I keep thinking that people are reasonable if they just hear the truth. Stupid, I know. But I hear so many stupid comments, that I'm starting to realize that we are a LONG ways from a society of tolerance and acceptance. And I'm not sure if I prefer the Canadian way of giving someone a dirty look and then muttering too low for them to quite hear, or the American way of calling someone out immediately. I mean, if people were constantly giving me shit about my kids, I'd hate it, but on the other hand, I could respond with, "They have Autism. What's your excuse?!" When people are passive aggressive with their judgmental shit, it's too hard. They have plausible deniability.

And how did we get to a place where every idiot thinks they know more than experts? I cannot tell you how many times I've said that Crackle has Autism to hear, "Oh? Are you sure?" And I say "Yes, three different experts had to agree before he could get a dx". The reply varies from a defeated, "Oh" to "So-called experts can be wrong, you know!" It's mindblowing. The defeated "Oh" people, I feel bad for them. Basically, they cling to hope, and I dash it. It's funny (Ha. Ha. Not.) The other kind of response kind of baffles me: "No! He looks so normal" or "But he's so cute!" Wha? Cute kids don't get Autism on your planet? Or they expect Autism to look like Down Syndrome? Or what? I dunno.

Do me a huge favour. Next time you're in the grocery store or Walmart or wherever, and you see a kid FREAKING out trying to get Mom to buy him (or her) something, and the Mom is basically just ignoring the kid and letting him shout, don't look at her like she's a shitty parent. Note that she probably knows that arguing won't help, acknowledging it may make it worse, and trying to shut the kid up may end in a meltdown. I don't mean a temper tantrum either. I mean a meltdown of crying and screaming that can last for hours. If you see a Mom (or Dad) with a kid who is misbehaving, remember that about 1 in 100 kids have Autism now. You've probably seen 99 typical ones already and the 1 is standing out. So smile at that parent. Or say, "Some days, eh?" or "Rough day, eh?" And if the kid is melting down entirely, "Eep. Looks like you're having a hard day!"

Even if the parent is just a shitty parent, and they are out there, they don't need dirty looks. They don't need judgement. And if they're a parent of a kid with Autism or other disabilities, you'll make their day a lot better.