What happens when another parent contests your child’s autism?
You wouldn’t think I’d have to bring up this topic, except that this issue has happened to me.
There is one parent at my child’s school who insists on talking to me about my son. And, whenever she does, she insists that nothing is “wrong” with my son. “He is perfect. Why do you say there is something wrong?”
IN MY LAST BLOG, I DISCUSSED CULTURAL DIFFERENCES AND AUTISM AND I BELIEVE THIS ISSUE PLAYS A ROLE
What does this person want?
Well, I’m not one hundred percent sure. This person talks, a lot. She is what I call a “fast talker” and not a great listener to boot. I will say something to this person and what I have said will not affect the conversation all that much. The person is not listening.
What makes it harder for me is this person works in a local business that I frequent. I have to see this person every once in a while away from a school setting. This person will see me at this local business and talk to me.
We are one friendly terms. This person is nice and I am nice. We chat like we’re familiar associates. Our kids have gone to the same school for several years.
What is the problem?
The issue for me is that this person, every once in a while, tries to convince me that I’m wrong about my child’s autism.
Now, I’m wrong all the time about lots of things. However, I am not wrong about the autism.
However, this person gets pretty insistent whenever I mention my child’s autism. “Why do you say he has that?” this person will ask me.
I typically shrug and say, “He has a diagnosis. We’ve known for a long time.”
Then, this person often says something like this to me: “I don’t see it. He’s perfect. You should stop saying things like that about your son.”
What do I say at this point?
I am about advocacy and education so I’ve tried several approaches from ignoring what this person says to me to trying to explain autism to this person.
Nothing seems to work. It sometimes even feels like this person is mad at me for not understanding what they are saying to me. How dare I not understand?
Can it be a cultural difference?
As I discussed in my previous blog, this issue may very well be a difference in the way one culture raises their children verses the way another culture does it.
I believe this may be a part of this issue because of what I know about this particular culture. I think this cultural wants to have their boys be strong and “perfect.” This opinion is based on what others have told me as well as my own observations.
Should you tell the person to “lighten up” or not discuss this issue in the future?
Honestly, I haven’t gone there yet. I’m hesitant because I don’t like confrontation. And, I also still believe in advocacy and education. Maybe if I could send this person to one autism conference, that may make a difference, but that scenario is unlikely.
Besides that, I am going to have to continue to see this person. Our kids are in the same class and the same school.
Besides that, this person is generally a nice person. And, meaning well on some level, I suppose.
The problem I have is the “well-meaningness” of the intent causes me some discomfort.
So I do say something one day?
I have a high tolerance for things like this so I’m not sure. I run into folks all the time that don’t know anything about autism. Sometimes, inappropriate things are said to me, and generally I just ignore them or I casually say something. Sometimes I introduce autism and end up having a great conversation with a complete stranger. It all varies.
For the most part I feel it’s just not worth it to me to go there. I have tried in the past and our relationship hasn’t changed. Sometimes we talk about the school or something else and the conversation goes well. It’s those times when this person questions me about my son’s autism.
I suppose I should say something, and perhaps someday I will.
In the meantime, I just try to be polite and try to keep the conversation away from autism.
It’s the best I can do for now.
To Find Kimberly Kaplan:
www.smashwords.com or Amazon Kindle ebook “A Parents’ Guide to Early Autism Intervention”