I find that taking Sam out, leaving the confines of our home, and getting him out to do things is often much easier for me than chasing after him room by room.
We like to travel to many different locations. When the weather is good we often mix in some park time with important errands. Sam genuinely enjoys being out and doing things & activities that engage him both mentally & physically. The only time it becomes difficult is when Zoë doesn’t want to go out. This is almost every single time I rally to get the three of us out and about. Z is simply a homebody and would rather kick back at home than go out.
Fortunately, Zoë is at an age where she can stay home when Jen is working in her office and keep herself entertained with art, reading, computer time, or imaginative play. I don’t blame her at all for desiring those activities and loathing going out of the house and wading through the crowds of people out there.
When we do go out, we frequently find ourselves in many small businesses around town and most of the owners/staff get to know us. The funny thing about this is that I wind up (more often than not) using these interactions as my ‘litmus test’ for a business. If I’m met with rudeness, intolerance, annoyance and indifference then I become a non-patron very fast. I also write about it in reviews or on my own blog.
What some folks don’t realize is that there are many people out there with strong voices… I’m certainly not alone.
Aside from interactions with employees, owners and staff I find myself interacting with other patrons and people in public. I do a LOT of educating about Sam and about Autism.
I love talking to people. I love helping folks become more aware of people with special needs and about people on the Autism spectrum.
I have only one complaint.
Please. Please. Please DON’T say “I’m so sorry” in response to my telling you that my son has Autism!
Autism isn’t terminal.
Autism doesn’t mean that my child doesn’t have thoughts, feelings, or emotions. It also doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have an enormous capacity for learning and endless potential. It doesn’t mean that he is any less valuable or important as a human being.
It’s kind of a big one because it happens so often. I absolutely believe that people have the best intentions but… I’m doing my best to tell people so that they might try to stop doing that.
Many times I find that I’m approaching someone that I’ve overheard making comments about my child’s behavior, sometimes I am reacting to what I perceive to be disapproving looks.
It’s important for people to keep in mind (when they’re out in public) that their perception of how a child is behaving isn’t necessarily correct.
And last, there are people out there who are just going to be grumpy and intolerant and there’s just nothing I can say or do to help you see things from a different angle, or with more compassion.
To those folks I say “I’m so sorry”.