How to explain his behaviors to strangers?

Lauren - posted on 06/06/2012 ( 9 moms have responded )

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I have a son with PDD. He just turned two. He doesn't talk, doesn't like playing with kids his age, violent (unintentislly mostly) when forced to interact with kids, and would rather do some repetitive behavior. People have commented on his behaviors, and I don't know what to do. I feel embarrassed/ashamed--not of him, but because they are judging him. I just don't like it. I want them to understand...but I'm not sure how much I want them to know about him. I guess I want them to give us both a break. I want to know what others do in the same situation. How do you deal with people confronting you about your child?

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Andrea - posted on 06/10/2012

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You have the job of teaching the world how to treat your son. For you it could mean that you explain autism to them or it could mean you just look them in the eye, give a great big smile and proudly say "He has autism and he is AMAZING." Even if he is having a tantrum! Nothing more needs to be said if they see in you that he is just fine and unconditionally loved. Remind yourself at how wonderful YOU are. You are his biggest advocate and loudest cheerleader and although the challenges are big, you get to appreciate even the smallest of victories. If their looks and judgement bother you, remind yourself that those people may not have the education or tolerance to understand what they see.

You have a secret that they'll never know: that your son can teach those who are willing to learn some really amazing things. And you should smile and stand tall for that.

If you have not already, find your local Early Intervention program. They can set you up with therapists (speech, occupational, physical, etc) who can come to your home to work with you and your son regarding the repetitive behaviors and anything that may be impacting development. The assessment is free to you, paid for by the state, and provide services until he is three. Good luck to you, keep your chin up! :)

Nyree - posted on 06/08/2012

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Depending on how comfortable you are, this is the perfect time to educate purple on autism! There is nothing to be embarrassed about! Tell people he had autism, and add if they would like to learn more about out you would be glad to discuss it with them

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Sophia - posted on 09/29/2012

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dont have to tell them your / his life story .. just that he is a special needs child. people are who they are.. as long has you accept your son then you should be cool around all jackass.

Katrina - posted on 06/09/2012

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Hi Lauren, my son is 3 and a half and we've had a number of situations where people have judged. I even had one woman serving us at a checkout laugh, asking "oh is he just overreacting". I simply said " no he has aspergers, so he can't manage his emotions". I get annoyed and while it's totally none of anyone else's business, if they don't know, how can they understand. I'm all for educating people but alot of people have put it in the too hard basket. I have heard of the business card idea before - very clever. Try not to be embarrassed. I often don't look at anyone in the shops and just hope no one comes over. @Tanya, amazing that anyone thinks it's even ok to touch another persons child.

Tanya - posted on 06/09/2012

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My son will be 5 in a few weeks, he was diagnosed with autism at 2.5 years. I've had many encounters over the years, more so than not it's staring and giving me the "she doesn't know to discipline her child" looks, but I have to say the best thing to do is to ignore it if you can. It is nobody's business at all how your son acts, however if they do ask you about him take the opportunity to explain that he's autistic. I had one old lady come and pat my son on the back while he was having at meltdown in the mall and said "if you're good for Mummy she will give you a lolly." I said very calmly "excuse me but my son is autistic and won't understand what you are saying." She just said "oh" and left. It really comes down to how you personally want to approach it, but don't ever be ashamed or embarrassed to stand up proud and shout to the world that your son is autistic. =)

Anaquita - posted on 06/07/2012

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Just tell them he's on the autism spectrum, and leave it at that. It's really none of their business.

Angela - posted on 06/07/2012

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I had a friend recommend giving out business cards with my name and email address and any other info you are willing to share, a website explaining my son's condition and give them a brief descripition of my son's overall behavoir. Anytime my son was yelling, biting his hand or have one of his breakdowns and people would make comments I handed out the cards. I only had one person call and I've never been given any other grief about it.

Lauren - posted on 06/07/2012

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Thanks for your response. I just feel overwhelmed with caring for him and sometimes people are far from helpful...I just don't know how to approach the situation. This is very new to me.

Marj - posted on 06/07/2012

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We (me and my husband) just tell them that he is a very special son to us and we love him so dearly...

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