This morning, I walked into the donut shop with my 11 year old son.  He loves to stop before school and get cinnamon rolls.  If you know me, you probably know that Jordan is autistic.  Most people don’t know exactly what his diagnosis is, they just know that he is different.  He is very different, but he’s also an 11 year old boy attempting to learn the world.  He’s never been very social, but this year he’s been trying to come out of his shell.  Because he lacks social skills, he mimics the behaviors of others.  When we entered the shop, he immediately recognized a boy around his age and height. He approached the boy and extended his hand, saying, “What’s up, man?”  The boy turned away from him with the meanest frown I had ever witnessed.  I was hurt, but I just called him over to me in an effort to return his excitement to donuts.  I doubt that he thought anymore about the ideal.  I had also forgotten about it until I arrived to pick him up from school.  After we left his classroom, the halls were flooded with children.  He was overly excited about his school week being complete and I imagine he was trying to say goodbye to as many students as he could.   Some students replied with “Bye, Jordan.”  Other kept on about their business. That didn’t’ discourage him though.  He tapped one little girl on her shoulder and said goodbye.  She turned around as though he was a monster and yelled “don’t touch me.”  He had a puzzled look on his face, but he still managed to continue with his good-byes.  His response to the cold-shoulders and evil stares of the world is always priceless.  He never lets the attitudes of others deter him.  Sometimes, he makes me wish I had a taste of autism.  As the mother of three children, it hurts.  It’s hard to teach them to treat everyone equally when the world shuns them because of their differences daily.  It’s getting harder to tell Jordan that he is just like all the other boys when the other boys reject him because he is unlike them.  I want my kids to have positive views of the world, but when the world is not welcoming, it hurts me as their parent.  I had a discussion with a teacher who told me that sometimes it’s Jordan’s own fault when kids mistreat him.  I would hardly agree that he is at fault for being born with autism.  Maybe people feel as though he does not deserve to have friends, to be accepted, or to interact with others because he is autistic.  However, I believe he has the right to do so because he is human.  He’s a little boy, just like every other little boy in the world.  He laughs, he cries, he plays, he sleeps, he eats, drinks, and looks for ways of entertaining himself just like every other little boy in the world.  But because he has difficulties communicating, expressing his feelings, and understanding moods, body language, and nonverbal gestures, the world is quick to forget that he is just a little boy.

Anonymous
Parents
  • This is heartwrenching. I know it too well. My daughter deals with the same thng. She's 7. She is on the spectrum and it seems like she gets blamed for her odd behaviour by her teachers. Most of her classmates are still kind to her but they are getting older and starting to realize that she's very different. She is very aware of this on a certain level and has taken to hitting herself when rejected. Just because kids with autism don't know how to express their feelings doesn't mean they don't have them. When my daughter was younger I thought she wasn't tuned into the behavior of others until we moved to a small town where everyone said hello to her. We came from Los Angeles where people wouldn't even acknowledge her when she said hi. On the first day we lived in our new home, in our new state she said, "I like it here. People are nice." Unfortunately I think kids withthe disorder are more aware of stuff than we want them to be. They just don't  get why or how to deal with that stuff.

Comment
  • This is heartwrenching. I know it too well. My daughter deals with the same thng. She's 7. She is on the spectrum and it seems like she gets blamed for her odd behaviour by her teachers. Most of her classmates are still kind to her but they are getting older and starting to realize that she's very different. She is very aware of this on a certain level and has taken to hitting herself when rejected. Just because kids with autism don't know how to express their feelings doesn't mean they don't have them. When my daughter was younger I thought she wasn't tuned into the behavior of others until we moved to a small town where everyone said hello to her. We came from Los Angeles where people wouldn't even acknowledge her when she said hi. On the first day we lived in our new home, in our new state she said, "I like it here. People are nice." Unfortunately I think kids withthe disorder are more aware of stuff than we want them to be. They just don't  get why or how to deal with that stuff.

Children
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