God knows there have been plenty of responses to Ms Frock’s (link here) insensitive rant. But as a parent fairly new to autism, I feel pressed to address her post. When I came across her post my heart broke for the little girl and her grandmother, and every single family with autism that is unfairly judged. Then her classless response to the comments that maybe the little girl she was judging was autistic pissed me off in a major way.
Ms Frock was defensive and unapologetic.
What makes it worse is that, I, like so many of us have encountered many Ms Frocks in our time.
Take yesterday for example.
I had the bright idea to take Diego to a farmer’s market, target, and our local health food store one right after the other. He did not wake up in the greatest mood and his anxiety has been through the roof due to some changes at school. When he is anxious he has a hard time finding his words and as a result gets VERY FRUSTRATED. I had to get these things done and had nobody to hang with Diego, so I tried my best to prepare him and make it sound like we were going to have the best time of our lives. I had second,third and fourth thoughts about taking him with me, especially when he came into my room and told me that the house was melting.
I panicked a bit and thought maybe there was a fire somewhere or that something flooded, but after some investigation I figured out he meant that a spot on the floor in the kitchen was wet and he had stepped in the water.
Magnum P.I ain’t got nothin’ on me!
Anyway we needed food so off we went.
The farmer’s market was a quick painless trip, Target was a very different matter. Target started ok but quickly went down hill and I could see the signs, D was visibly annoyed, gnawing at his fingers and attempting to touch everything. I went as fast as I could but when I passed something he ordered me to look at and wouldn’t go back to see, he lost it.
It wasn’t a major meltdown (there was no hitting himself or me) but it was loud and what made it worse is that he was so upset he couldn’t find his words and that frustrated him further. So I moved the cart off to the side of the store and let him work through it, at this point there was nothing I could do but wait for the storm to pass.
People stared and shook their heads. I couldn’t help but think about Ms Frock and her tirade in that moment.
Ms Frock was on my mind again when Diego lost it for a second time at the register and two women stared and whispered to one another while I saved the day redirecting him to his flubber that made tooting noises.
Hey, it worked and tears turned to laughter at the first
*insert toot sound here*.
I am sure Diego appeared spoiled and undisciplined while I scrambled for a way to stop this meltdown. I am also pretty sure that the term bad mother and other ramblings of what I should do passed between those so interested in Diego’s behavior.
Sometimes I want to scream he has Asperger’s. I want to scream I AM A GOOD MOM!! But honestly in that moment my energy is directed at helping my baby at the peak of his anxiety and sensory dysfunction.
So what do we do about the Ms Frocks of this world??
Well when not navigating all that comes with autism, we raise awareness. We answer questioning glances, and as a last resort we breathe and wave when the whispers come.
I did that yesterday and the reaction was priceless :).
I am very new to all of this and one day I might have a certain level of compassion for these judgemental and ignorant people. After all they don’t get a football tackle hug while being told that they are beautiful when they wear a dress on a sunny day or get to go on a mission every morning to wipe out the stinky bugs (brushing our teeth finally!).
You see for each one of my child’s challenges there is a blessing.
He has brought so much to my life and I feel sorry that Ms Frock and those like her will never get to know how special our babies really are.