Friday, September 28, 2012

Think Before You Judge

This little guy is Memphis.
If you're a longtime follower, you already know him, but if you aren't...

What you may not know from looking at this photo is that he is autistic.


It doesn't define WHO he is... but the diagnosis does help us understand him better.
We are lucky that Memphis is high functioning and extremely communicative.
And smart.  Boy, is he ever!

But he has a hard time socializing... and school hasn't been easy.   He craves routines and needs to know exactly what is going to happen at all times.  It can be emotionally draining and extremely frustrating.  He can have an outburst at any given moment for any given reason.  As well as we know him, he can still be remarkably unpredictable.

No matter where we are or what is happening, when he has one of this outbursts, my one & only thought is how can I make it okay?  For him.
NEVER do I think of what people might be thinking.

How many times have I seen a similar scene and just thought to myself "Geez, some parents really cannot control their children!?"  Let's be honest, I'm sure we've all thought it at some point.

Now, more than ever, I try not to judge.
Now that I know & see what I do every day as a parent of a child on the autism spectrum, I am hyper sensitive to the outbursts and tantrums I see when I'm out.  I can see the pain on other parents' faces and I feel it.  It's not that they're embarrassed... they're helpless.  I've been there and it sucks. 

I'm not here to preach.  I'm certainly in to position to educate anyone on all the ins & outs of autism, as I am still learning.  This diagnosis is still very new and everyday is a new adventure.

Please, next time you're out and you see a little boy holding his ears, throwing things, screaming and seemingly on a totally other planet... he might be on the spectrum.  Take a minute to think of what he must be going through and how heartbreaking this scene is to his parents.

Any other parents with children on the spectrum?
How do you deal when you're kids are having particular bad moment in public?


October is Autism Awareness Month in Canada


1 in 88 children are diagnosed autistic.
Chances are you know one... and if you didn't before, then you do now!




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23 comments

  1. I don't have a child with autism, but my second to youngest as Apraxia, which at first they thought might be autism, and has a very hard time communicating. She gets very frustrated and gets very upset when I can't figure out what she is trying to say. Mostly, it is just heartbreaking for me to see her trying so hard and her body and brain failing to make the connection to get the words out. She is BRILLIANT. Which makes it harder. I've had so many moments in public that I know others just stare at me and think I'm doing something wrong. I've learned to ignore them, even though it can be hard.
    It may sound silly to some, but I take a deep breath, say a quick prayer, and sit with her until she is ready to try again, even if it takes a minute or two. Usually, me being calm helps her calm down too. I know it annoys those around me to just let her scream, but sometimes that is really what she needs to do!

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  2. It's such a shame that you even need to post this.

    I don't have a child with autism, so have no idea what you guys have to deal with in respect to other peoples judgement. But as a person who is living with depression and the whole wonky donk ability to deal with everything I have my own brand of judgement against me, and I know its not easy to deal with.

    But just from reading your blog, you come across as such a strong person, and your Memphis {besides having a ridiculously cool name} will be able to deal with any crap thrown his way with a mummy like you standing beside him!

    Not that either of you should have to deal with it, hopefully one day soon people won't be so quick to judge.

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  3. I love that you shared this message, as so many are unaware, and quite often assume a child is acting out trying to get attention. While my children are not autistic (there was a time we believed the oldest could be), so many of my school babies have had this condition. Unfortunately, many people are quick to make assumptions, and those assumptions are generally way off base. Having had this happen in my own life, I know how hurtful it is and therefore, try not to be so judgmental. It's obvious Memphis has a great support system in you and his family. That will help him succeed, overcoming any obstacles in the way. thank you for sharing. Again, I really believe it's a message everyone could hear again!

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  4. He sure is a handsome fella. I do not have a child with Autism, but have a very close friend and both her children have been diagnosed. Her testimony is unreal. She is my on personal hero. But, you are exactly right by the title of this post-think before you judge. Strangers have NO IDEA. Michelle (the mother) post daily in a Mommy Group on FB (that we are a part of) and she just states what happened with both and how she had to deal with it. Mother's like ME - have no idea what she or you go through. Bless you Lena. God gave you such a precious guy and He will guide you through this journey. He picked you to be his Mommy and to be that wonderful support system for him. ♥

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  5. This post is so beautiful Lena! I agree that everyone has had those thoughts, certainly myself included. Memphis is such a cutie, there's no way you'd be able to tell just by looking at him! It really put this into perspective for me. Thank you so much for sharing!

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  6. Such a good looking boy, and you are such a great mother. Keep your chin up. If anyone judges, it's not their place and Karma gets them...

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  7. Memphis is adorable! You are obviously doing a great job, and it is so nice of you to post this as a reminder to others. I am a SLP and I like to remind others of "People First Language," Memphis is a child with autism not an autistic child. The diagnosis doesn't define him, it is just a part of him and it helps others know how to better serve him. Thanks again for sharing!

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  8. Gosh, I don't even know what to say, I don't know much about autism but it sure can't be easy. I think I can be counted into those that rolled her eyes at parents when I've seen such a scene. Now I know better. Thanks a lot for sharing this, and I'd love to get to know you and Memphis more. Hugs and kisses.

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  9. Heya!

    I just found you blog through the 'followers to friends' blog hop, and I am so glad I did! Your blog is so cute, I love the photos. He's a little stunner, I can forsee him being a right ladies man in a few years ;)

    I am a new follower :)

    Let me know if you stop by mine!

    Sara

    http://pretty-in-pink-blog.com

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  10. What an adorable boy! I have to admit I'm guilty of judging- particularly before having my own son- and I wish we would all just cut it out, ya know? You never know what someone is going through. Anyway, it's nice to meet you! Love the blog. Found you on Megan's September Post linkup. If you stop by my blog please say hi! :)
    Beth @ dorseysin3d.blogspot.com

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  11. I've only recently started following your blog and I must say
    He is gorgeous!

    I'm am so impressed with how you live with this (ok I know that you don't have a choice but you do have a choice as far with how you are going to deal with it).

    Since neither of my kids are autistic I can only try to imagine how tough it can be, all we all want is for our kids to be okay and when there is something that is so far out of our control it is hard.

    Thank you for being so open about it.

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  12. If people are judging, it's just because they don't have experience with kids, because even neurotypical kids throw fits sometimes and there's nothing even the best parent can do about it!

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  13. I love this message and think it should be taken even further. Everyone has rough stuff - I wish we could all be more forgiving of each other in public!

    As for tantrums, etc. my tactic is to simply remove my child from the store until she can be comforted. It's less stressful for me, for her, and for everyone else, too.

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  14. Hi Lena! I'm a newer follower and hadn't read these posts about your son before. But I happened to see a comment you left on the My Life As Mindy blog about her journey teaching kids with autism.
    I have 11 year old twins and one of them is diagnosed as being on the spectrum. He is also a bright boy but needs his routines and often has meltdowns. So I can totally relate.
    I'm always so thankful to find other bloggers who are dealing with the same types of things that I am.

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