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Readers Respond: What's the Rudest Thing Anyone Has Said About Your Child with Autism?

Responses: 24

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Updated October 08, 2010

Everyone with a child on the autism spectrum has endured rude remarks at the hands of ignorant friends, family and strangers. What's the rudest thing anyone has said to you about your child with autism?

Let him go hungry

My 3 year old son is severe and nonverbal He also has weak oral muscles and occasionly gags when eating from a combination of the weakend muscles and sensory issues I should have known better than to take him out to eat but it had been years and I wanted to socialize We sat in a corner booth with my son facing only us so no one else could see him A group of women on lunch break from a nearby retail store walked past my gagging whiney son and said "You should let him go hungry he'll learn to eat whats in front of him" I was shocked Oh another one.... I guess God does know who to give "them" too Another wonderful unprovoked comment And "He will never amount to more than a plumbers assistant, motioning at my mild autistic son, and him well we cant even hope as much for him (looking at my nonverbal child) as spoken by my son's doctor who also looked at me Oh yeah and I have also had the comment Oh but he's so beautiful, healthy lookiing, ect
—ChooChoomom

parenting and autism

My dad at every meltdown and when my son could not handle our 5 generation family photo session past 10 minutes... he always made comments under his breathe when walking past me trying to keep J from hurting himself during a meltdown. usually consisted of "you need to get your child under control" "your mom would know how to handle that" "hmmph.. being a mom aint so easy now is it!" "who's the parent here" or the ever beautiful.... "Time for a spanking!" uuughh! then I showed him the reports and eval results once my son was diagnosed... never got an apology but at least the comments stopped. and professionals don't take me seriously i believe because I'm a young mother until we get into an extended discussion on autism or sensory issues then they get a kick out of how "read-up" I am and my terminology. huh... SURPRISE! caring young mother obsessed with her son being happy and successful! it does happen people!
—Guest proudmomma

Invisiable

Most comments I've received as an autist have been the typical "Are you F*ing retarded?!" and the usual slurs and ableist comments. You learn to walk forward and try not to yet the barbs sting you. As an autist you're all to aware how disability effects people, some times for good. Sometimes not so much. I do a lot of activism work and disability advocacy, sometimes I have to play "Self narrating zoo exhibit" it's a bit tiring to answer questions but this one woman said something that I honestly hear all the time, but neve the less...it bugs me. "Wow! I can't tell that you're autistic at all!" I smiled and nodded and shook her hand, but those words hurt me. People don't realize it, but that isn't praise. My disability doesn't exist in their eyes. They often say it with such a patronizing tone that I can tell that it's "backhand". You work hard to pass, and when you do, suddenly I am not "Autistic enough"
—Guest Bard

Church

When my son was two and recently diagnosed PDD-NOS, I took him and my newbOrn daughter to church. Every time the deacon paused in his speaking my son filled the silence with his own noise and hand flapping. After mass the deacon approached us and said "if Jake can't behave in church Mommy won't be able to bring him anymore".. My response was "if mommy doesn't bring Jake to church he won't learn how to behave here". I couldn't believe it!!! Never went back to that church again.
—Guest Carol

Toxic Church

My church refused to believe the diagnosis - the women there are five different theories about what I was doing wrong as a mother. Our minister said praying with us about the new diagnosis was the "biggest copout of his ministry" and resigned as my husband's pastor by e-mail. Two elderswho knew about autism spoke up for us. They finally conviced the congregation that my son did have autism and that I was doing a good job - but no one asked about my son, his treatment, or our family dealing with autism. We were asked by the elders to talk about our experience at a service - we shared about our son's progress, and then about starting the local support group, first grant for services, phone counseling for parent for the state. The women rolled their eyes and hissed at me that "it was no big deal". They called me mentally ill since I sought treatment for depression through all of this. We decided to leave, and some of the women boycotted out good bye service.
—Guest Marilyn Kreider

Confusing symptoms with parental neglect

The worst thing that anyone's ever said about my child with autism, is blaming his symptoms on me, as if they were my fault. As in, these symptoms have to be evidence that the child is neglected or abused. Even hinting at abuse/neglect is serious...what if someone's ignorance had ended up getting my son taken away? He's so fragile and would suffer terribly from any separation. My son is fairly severe and has experienced many problems such as self-mutilation, fecal smearing, destructive meltdowns, etc. It was terrible to be accused of bad parenting and even child endangerment, just because my son was showing symptoms of his disability...which aren't my fault. It was also bad when my grandmother said, "Maybe he shouldn't have been born." I'm not considering that the worst though because I don't know if she was already suffering from dementia at the time. If she was, then it's not the same.
—Guest Meredith

What's wrong with having fun?

I am 27 and have Aspergers. I have had many rude comments said to me countless times, about myself. However, the worst one ever was about my daughter who also has Aspergers. She was just having some fun and running around, and screaming, and completely ignoring everyone, and my aunt looked at me and said, "Aren't you going to do something about that?" I of course said "No." But then she just had to say, "What are you going to do with her when she grows up like that?" I was flabbergasted. I couldn't believe that she had just told me I was a bad mother & that she apparently couldn't stand to see a child having fun. My daughter was just enjoying herself and burning off some energy, and she was smiling - I love to see her smile.
—Guest GMRKitty

Because I choose to vaccinate

It's easy to see you're in a bargaining stage. Sorry but you can't turn back time. It's a tragedy to have an autistic child, not a blessing. Nobody wants to have an autistic child. You should be blamed for everything but you were in denial for a long time. You're just digging yourself deeper into the hole. Learn from your mistakes. Sorry, but there's no second chance. Poor kiddo. My response: Since you don't know my son and obviously have never had any experience being around a person with autism, your statement is going to be ignored with the exception of telling you this: Until you have experienced the life changing view from the eyes of an autistic person, you haven't really seen the world at all.
—Guest Venna

What's wrong?

When people ask "What's wrong with her?", I usually answer, "She has autism, what's wrong with you?" or "Nothing is wrong with her, she's having a great day! Thanks for asking!" The worst is when people just stare at her. I usually stare back until they finally notice me, then I say, "Doesn't feel too good does it?"
—Susan_McPhail

Family

Rudest comment I've ever had was from an uncle who suggested that 'that child needs to go play in traffic'. Rudest comment I've ever given (after a day from hell) My son acts like an ass because he has autism, would you like to share his diagnosis or do you have one of your own?
—Guest Me

faking it

I was once told by someone who I thought was a close friend "have you heard of Munchausen by proxy syndrome" because my boy "looked normal and just needed some much firmer discipline." I was shocked.. especially seen as this person had been around and my sounding board after all the assessments and specialist appointments. Only for her to think I was making it all up! Like she knew better than the paeds and therapists? unbelievable! I think as a mum of an autistic child.. you hear it all.."its because of bad parenting"etc etc.
—Guest Rachael

Returning Red Box Video

It is when I hear other people's complaints about waiting for my son to complete a task that I realize just how patient I have become. Perhaps you know the feeling. You are in public, trying to meet your child's needs (while also trying to do so in a timely mamner), & the person in line behind you declares, "I want to return my video BEFORE 9:00 tonight!" Well, it was only 8:30pm & we had only been searching for my son's video for a few minutes. Plus, I was clearly cueing him out loud about choosing one within the next minute. All I did was apologize to the person behind us & then let my child choose a video within 30 seconds. That left her PLENTY of time to return hers. While she doesn't seem to understand how I have been patient with my son for 11 years, I also don't understand all of her issues. What I do know is that there are nice ways to ask people to hurry.
—Guest denise Meissner

Sick of all the Misconception

I have a 15 year old daughter with autism and believe me we have tried every therapy there is available, but while some helped a little, none of them prevented her continual deterioration. We finaly resorted to medication and have recieved nothing but grief for it from a lot of do-gooders who apparantly know how it feels to be us, or more importantly our daughter. As she did not progress we are often blamed for her current status and it is just heartbreaking.She is loved but she did not progress, no-ones fault. What the world needs to realise is that after the Early Intervenention Years, it is as if they cease to exist- there is very little funding or support and medical support is virtualy none existent in many places. I am sick of reading articles that fail to realy help and infact o more harm, and I am sick of the constant misconceptions eg; "Is she like Rain Man?" No she is not, she cant talk or go to the toilet and she self harms without medications and we do a great job with her.
—Guest Carrie

Matinee Mayhem

When my son, who has Autism, was about 5 yrs old my husband took him to a matinee showing of a Children's movie. Along that time, our son did a constant "soundtrack" of his own- humming , whining ,etc. Our son was excited by the music and was chirping away when a man plopped down in the seat beside them and loudly said "do you mind taking him out of here so that the one's of us that paid to see the movie can see it!" My husband said that he was stunned for a second, but then he replied "you know , I would mind, because he ( my son ) has Autism and HE is enjoying the movie." The man left and, after a few more minutes my husband said he began to feel self-conscious so he started to leave. Our son knew the movie wasn't over and began to have a meltdown . As my husband was trying to lug our flailing son up the dark aisle, a lady stepped out and touched my husband on the arm, and said " please sit with us and watch the rest of the movie, he deserves to see it as much as anyone here."
—Guest Donna P.

susan k

the rudest thing anyone has ever said about my son who has autism was.." oh he is too beautiful to have autism, what a shame"
—Guest susan

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