"I don't know anyone with autism. My sister has a friend whose cousin or someone has it, but I didn't know your son has it. Can he count toothpicks like Rain Man?"
"Does your sister have any friends who are black?"
This conversation took place today between an assistant manager at a grocery store, who knows my husband and myself. My reply was sarcastic. I could have gone off on him, but was too tired, so I used sarcasm, which by the way, probably went over his head.
Telling this Momma that you know someone who has the same diagnosis as her son is usually going to get me asking about said child, and I am going to invite you to our local Autism Society Groups.
My son is on the autism spectrum, and let me tell you, it is a HUGE umbrella. The way my son presents symptoms is not the same as another child with autism. And guess what, he can NOT count toothpicks. His IQ is very high, but we don't tell him that, as he has areas where he struggles, and those are things we work on. We do tell all three of our children that they have smart brains, to encourage them to do their best.
I was brought up in a home with a Mom who taught special education. When I was a paraprofessional in a different classroom in the same building, I was able to observe her in action. She was one of the finest teachers I'd ever seen. Guess what, she had friends with disabilities. She had friends who were black. She probably had friends on the autism spectrum, it just wasn't diagnosed the way it has been in recent years--thank goodness for medical professionals who can help us help our children. My Mom taught me that people are people. No need to classify in a negative light. People are people. We are deserve love & respect. Even our sister's friend's cousins.
We celebrate autism in our house. We acknowledge that it explains WHY some things are more difficult for the Boy, but it is NEVER EVER used as an excuse.
The numbers are 1 in 68. One in every 68 people you meet is on the autism spectrum. the Boy is one of them, and he is proud of his unique brain. Maybe your sister's friend's cousin can join us this weekend at our annual Puzzle Walk & 5k celebration. A fun time will be had by all. Even those of us with neurotypical brains. And those who are black.....