You Can’t Offend Me

If you ask me ‘why does he do that?’, you cannot offend me. When you question, ‘if autism is not a disease, then what is it?’, I am not insulted. If you say, ‘My children are scared. How can I explain this to them?’ I will talk for as long as you will let me, I will explain as best I can. If you state that you are sorry, I will clarify why sorrow is the last thing you need to feel. When you seek to know more, all I ever feel is gratitude.

You cannot offend me.

I live in a world where someone can write this:

Troll comment - People who breed disabled kids should be sterilized and forced t stay at home with them. It is not fair that the rest of the world has to deal with morons.

 

Underneath this picture, that face, my boy: those words.

 

Biggest in a play tunnel - My son is not a problem

 

I live in a world where, one day, my son might read what is written above. I live in a world where, one day, someone might express such views to his face. There are those who believe the world would be better off without autism. There are still those who believe the world would be better off without my son.

Today, in the supermarket, my daughter ran away. A split second, as I turned the trolley to lift her in, and she was gone. There was that sick, dead moment. The world slowed and my chest burned with panic.

I screamed and sobbed at the top of my lungs and when the shop assistant finally put her back in my arms, my son clung to me.

“Mummy – you are okay now. You are safe and sound. You don’t have to be scared mummy, H is here.” It was his voice that brought me back, his concern that returned my composure.

He makes the world brighter. He spreads happiness, not hate. He is four years old and it is not fair that the rest of the world does not have his innocence, his simple compassion.

Even now, reading those repugnant words again, I am not sure that I feel offended. I feel fear – cold, hard fear that anyone could think them, that anyone would want me to read them. I feel a bleak terror that one day, I may have to explain those words to my son.

The only way to obliterate ignorance is through knowledge. The only way to be more aware, is to question. I will explain – he does that because his senses are not quite the same as yours. I will answer – sometimes he shouts because, when things are unexpected, he gets very frightened. I will tell you about stimming , I will define hyposensitivity and hypersensitivity and sensory processing and dyspraxia and rigidity of thought and semantic pragmatic language… as much as I can, as often as I can.

I will explain and explain and explain and I will not feel a hint of resentment, a shred of dismay – even if you have made assumptions, even if you haven’t quite got the idea.

You cannot offend me.

Friend, stranger, relative – Ask. Please, ask me. Ask others. Do not stay silent through fear that a question is wrong. Do not stay silent because the question is hard.

Ask. Listen. Change. Become more aware.

And together, we will make sure my son lives in a world where he never has to read those words.

 

March 27th marked the start of autism awareness month. This Sunday, April the 2nd, is World Autism Awareness Day. If you do one thing this month to spread autism acceptance, ask a question. Ask an autistic person, ask someone close to autism – and really listen to the answer. Thank you.

 


 

12 Comments

  1. Angie
    29th March 2017 / 8:29 pm

    My thoughts exactly 💗 I tell everyone who will listen. We need more than awareness. We need acceptance & inclusion for these wonderful kiddos. I’m so sorry someone had to remind you how ugly people can be awful comment.

  2. Someone's Mum
    29th March 2017 / 8:33 pm

    Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I was in two minds about whether I should just delete it. But in the end I decided that I had something to say about it, something that might help others be more aware.

  3. 29th March 2017 / 11:02 pm

    Like you, I’m definitely open to any questions. It’s hard to believe people like the one who wrote that comment exist. But we have to believe they are in the minority. I heard a local boy shout ‘oh you’re so autistic’ very loudly in the street here yesterday, shouted as an insult, without really understanding the impact of those words. It has given me a new direction; I will be offering my services to educate as many children as possible about autism in the future. While they are young, they can still learn without prejudice x

  4. 30th March 2017 / 7:55 am

    This is a lovely post. There is more awareness than there used to be, but still not enough. I’m sorry someone had to remind you of this about your wonderful boy. Lots of love xxx

  5. 30th March 2017 / 4:57 pm

    This is really well written Danielle. I’m so sorry someone wrote such a hateful thing about your son. It’s disgusting. I don’t know what is wrong with people to write something like that.

  6. 2nd April 2017 / 5:09 pm

    Really enjoyed this post Danielle, saw it on Toby & Roo too. I can’t believe someone would think that let alone type and press send 😔

    • 2nd April 2017 / 5:10 pm

      #SpectrumSunday !!

  7. 2nd April 2017 / 7:34 pm

    You’re right. Your son makes the world a brighter place. The person who wrote that awful thing makes the world a darker place. That person has a problem, that’s for sure.

  8. 3rd April 2017 / 9:02 am

    It’s hard to understand why a thankfully small minority of people choose to write such hurtful things. I’m totally with you that we need to do what we can to raise awareness and understanding to make this world a better environment for people, like our boys, who are on the autsitic spectrum. #spectrumsunday

  9. 3rd April 2017 / 11:37 pm

    that is a harsh comment to read and I wouldn’t waste my time trying to educate people like that.

  10. 14th April 2017 / 11:04 am

    It angers me reading stuff like that, I would have cried I think. So I admire your strength xx

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