PERFECTION and peoples pervasive disrespect for the autistic person

Perfection & peoples pervasive disrespect for the autistic person
It’s amazing the places we find encouragement and the places we find criticism. Are you surprised by the comments you hear about your child who has a disABILITY, about others who have disABILITIES? It’s especially gut-wrenching when those comments come from a family member who should know better. Particularly one who’s been around your child often, has listened in on, or been part of, innumerable conversations about said child, autism, and disABILITIES. Yet, for some it goes straight through, over, and around their head.

A few weeks ago our family spent time with someone who exemplifies the above definition. We’d just concluded a discussion about autism and our beautiful, sweet son, Jeremiah. Then Bill* began talking about a young mother he knows, he shared how she had birthed all her children naturally, at home, with no medications. Bill called her kids “perfect” within earshot of my children numerous times. His statements were an assault on Jeremiah, who he didn’t see as “perfect,” and we know this because of other hurtful comments he’s made about our son. Finally, I had enough and I told him (well I was angry enough that I pointed at him),

“My kid is perfect too. Very perfect.”

Before I make my points, I need to explain the word “perfect.” No one is perfect, not one. However when it comes to children, the parents (and we wish family did as well) think their children are perfect. Of course we (or most of us) don’t believe this in the literal sense. We know our children do wrong at times, but heck if you’re family and you are going to label someone else’s kid as perfect, then mine should be held in the same esteem.

So…

  1. Jeremiah is perfect. He’s amazing, kind, sweet, funny, and overall a really cool kid. I’m so proud to be his mother. It wrecks me that someone else (especially family member) can’t see the multitude of positive attributes he has.
  2. Bill should have thought about WHO he was saying this in front of, but some people don’t have the ability to close their mouth and use their brain. I didn’t have the option of an at-home birth, medication free. No, my child is adopted. His biological mother was on numerous medications while she was pregnant AND received ELECTRIC SHOCK therapy when she was far along in her pregnancy. Besides, these are not the causes of autism.
  3. Neurologically speaking my son is FAR beyond the children Bill called perfect, we really don’t want to go there do we? It wouldn’t be kind.
    Kindness, it's free, spread it around
  4. Speaking of kindness, it’s free. Grab some. Spread it around. People need to think about what they say and when they say it. Bill, as well as many others need to take in the world around them and get some wide-vision glasses.
  5. Without autistic people we wouldn’t have the theory of quantum physics, light bulbs!, Apple products, savants, and oh, what would we do without Pokemon??
    Without autism or Aspergers, the world would have far less computer programmers, mathematicians, composers, certain presidents, logicians, cryptographer, architects, philosophers, inventors, investment fund managers, engineers, and economists.

Sorry for the rant. I know parents of autistic children hear comments they wish they didn’t. I wrote this not only for myself, but because I want you to know you aren’t alone.

*Names have been changed.

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