Some of my interactions in social media over the last week or two have really made me think.
Let me start off with this concept: A sign of intelligence is that you are constantly wondering. "Idiots" are dead sure about everything damn thing in their lives. - Vasudev
I posted that, because I am pretty curious, and because I'm positive I don't know everything... not because everyone around me is an idiot. I know many people smarter than me. It's a good thing. It gives me something to shoot for... being smarter... or less dumb, however you want to look at it.
What prompted me to post this? I had a conversation on Facebook the week before that really got to me. I don't expect people to agree with me on social media. In fact I rarely respond to posts on social media because, hey, everyone had an opinion, right? And really, we're all just there casually, to connect and be entertained, right?
But this conversation was about kids with autism and how moms parent them. Ya, I have an opinion. Because I've raised a child on the spectrum. I've been stared at accusingly while my child struggles to process an overload of information. I've dealt with people that thought I was not handling situations correctly. I've gotten bad advice from people who thought I was either over-reacting or not acting in my child's best interests. I've stood up for her when she's gotten crap treatment from teachers and other "officials." I've second guessed myself constantly.
Because of this, when I see a child acting out, I've got a shit load of empathy. Not only because the odds of that child being on the spectrum exists, but because parenting is hard. And you know what? Parenting a child on the autism spectrum is one huge balancing act. On the one hand, you always have to be an advocate for your child and do everything you can to get them the services and understanding they need to thrive in their environment. And on the other hand, you can't give a crap about what people think or say. Some people will be kind and others will judge. Some will support and others will turn away. Some people will understand, some never will. Some don't even want to...
So if you see a child acting out... how about the benefit of the doubt? You do not know the struggle of the child or the parent. Instead of labeling the child a brat and mother incompetent, how about realizing that you don't know everything and giving the mom a smile of support. There's enough mom shaming the world today for those parenting Neurotypical children. How about we cut the moms (and dads) of kids on the spectrum some slack... trust me, they could use it.
*steps off soapbox*