Click Bait! You know, those little areas on a web page that have some sort of salacious, or supposedly interesting pictures and text, intended to whisk you away to some site, that’ll give you the skinny on a given subject.
“What’s happened to the former cast of The Brady Bunch?” or, “Can you name these actors from the seventies?” We’ve all seen them, and I imagine most folks, have found one or two, that’ve enticed them into visiting the site (knowing full well, they were a target for advertisers).
For me, one of the more recent ones I’ve wasted my time on, asked something like, “Did you know these celebrities were Autistic?”
Being an outlier in the Autistic community, by virtue of the fact, that I act as the primary caregiver, to a Moderately Autistic son, I bit!
Had I spent more than a second or two thinking about what I was intending to do, I might not have frittered away those minutes.
Looking back, I’m kind of glad I entered the vacuum for a moment. After all, though the idea has been brewing for a while, doing so made me finally write a piece, I’ve been intending to pen, for some time.
If you’ve seen the same “article” in your travels, and even if you’ve followed through to the “content,” you may not have noticed something that was horribly obvious to someone who deals with Autism on a daily basis.
To begin with, probably more than half of the people listed, were never diagnosed. That wouldn’t be such a big thing, were it not for the fact that you can be sure, if they’d ever been checked out, they would’ve almost certainly been found to have very mild Autism at best.
The fact is, I was well aware, before my child was ever diagnosed, that he had some issue. He didn’t speak like other children, his learning of various things most parents and children take for granted, was well below what would’ve been expected, at pretty much every step along the way.
In short, it was never really a question he had some condition, that made him lag well behind his fellows, in various types of mental and social development.
Before you think in your head—and I may already be too late—“Autistic children are so smart,” allow me to make it plain that intelligence, doesn’t equal achievement.
The fact is, those Autistic folks with greater than mild Autism I’ve met are “wired differently,” than those around them. The result being, it often takes them much longer, to get where peers among whom they find themselves, manage to reach, if they ever entirely do that.
Among the remainder of the folks spoken of in the aforementioned click-fest, nobody was cited as having Autism more serious than mild Asperger’s—a term I should tell you, most people don’t even use at present, but we won’t worry about that.
I’ve made a point of saying, that I take my son to one of the local parks, on a pretty regular basis. We might not be able to do that as much, now that the weather’s getting colder, but I’ll still work to get him out with others, for social interaction.
As intensely as I dislike divulging my son’s condition to others (because I want him to be treated as much like those around him as possible), periodically, I find the need to do so, regardless my desires.
He’ll act in some way, that’ll make other parents and children, nervous, uneasy, disgusted, or angry. My best recourse at such a time, is to do my what I’m able, to help others to understand my son, “isn’t normal.”
The problem? In most people’s minds, the concept of Autism has been done to death. They’ve heard about it, they may even have a nephew or one of their own children, who’s Mildly Autistic.
What that tends to mean is, they think they know what the parent or caregiver for a child who’s not Mildly Autistic is dealing with, or going through, to say nothing of the Autistic person him or her self.
Occasionally, you meet someone who’s a little better able see the hallmarks. Once in a great while, you meet a person who really gets it.
For most folks though, they’re just sure, you’re negligent as a parent. They can’t conceive their children, ever acting like yours does. Keep in mind that, often what sets my child off, is bad behavior on the part of their child. You can imagine, that makes their profession of stand-out parenting, just a little harder to deal with.
Don’t get me wrong, a part of the reason I take my child out and about, is to learn to deal with such people. Put another way, he doesn’t do that well. I’m certainly not trying to argue he’s some sort of saint, or angel.
What I’ve come to realize is, there are a very small number of people in the American population, whose Autism is at a Moderate or Severe level. The result being, that most folks have an image of what it means to be Autistic, based on the lowest levels of the condition.
Because this is true, there tends to be from both other children, and parents, a sort of a piling on process that occurs where I’m concerned. I’m not saying it doesn’t bother me at all, but I can deal with it as a rule.
The thing that affects me a great deal more, is when they pile on where my boy is concerned.
He needs to learn to deal with that, that’s true. Further, he must figure out how to fit in, in a world that is assuredly not, his own—as I say, that’s a large part of the reason I take him out into the public.
Every day, he becomes just a little more able, to deal with what he encounters.
More and more, I come to recognize that most folks, rarely ever see, someone like him.
And the better I do as a parent, and he does, in learning how he’s expected to behave, the less likely people are, to understand his condition.
In the end, I would ask just one thing of those who react harshly, to people like my child. I know this is probably a waste of breath, because very few will see it. If you do though, please recognize, what you’re daily shown about Autism, doesn’t apply, to people like my child, much less to those who are more severe.
Thanks for reading and may your time be good.