My youngest son is autistic. Yep, there, I said it! Out loud and for everyone to know. He is different than I am, than you are, than most people are. He’s almost 14, as tall as I am ( though that may not being saying much since I am not all that tall) and becoming quite a young man.
I think about our judgement on people just by quick appearance. To look at my son, he appears “normal” In fact, my favorite comment has always been ” he doesn’t LOOK autistic”
It’s a struggle to fit in when you are so different from most people. Harder still, when you don’t know you are different. I watch as he tries to talk to people. I see their reaction when he recites some line from a movie or you tube video he has watched. Usually, it is one of ???????? puzzled stare. Case in point. In the elevator at the baseball stadium ( game 5 A’s vs. Tigers) . My son turned to the smartly dressed media type man (see, appearances being assumed by me/judgement by his clothes and I.D. lanyard hanging around his neck) and rattled off something in his rapid fire way. The poor man had no idea what my son said- just stood there, puzzlement on his face, then quiet relief as the elevator door opened and we parted ways.
I try not to judge people by quick appearance, but I know I do. I’m sure I am judged by others the same way. I bet they wonder why I don’t just go home and take a nap- I clearly look tired! Some days I wonder that about me too.
So I try to help my son with ways to “fit in” to look less autistic, to become “normal”. Maybe if I can teach him that people wont judge him. But, then again , if he’s like everyone else, wouldn’t we miss his uniqueness? That which makes him special? That which is pure joy?