As much as I want to talk about my books and publishing, I can’t. Not today. I didn’t want to make a big deal of this post, but I feel the need to, because I might not be able to make a difference, but at least I can voice my feelings about it.
Yesterday, I went grocery shopping with my nine year old son, Nicholas, who is autistic. Nicholas is one of those child who has ‘invisible’ special needs/disability. Not everyone would know he is autistic. He loves grocery shopping, and is usually well-behaved and well-mannered (believe it or not). The only few times he would act up is when he gets too excited and he would like to walk quickly, talk fast and sing loudly. So yesterday, we were at the meat aisle where it was freezing cold. It was so cold that Nicholas thought it would be fun to see if he could exhale the cold air out of his mouth. He then turned to a lady next to him and exhaled the air in front of her. The lady turned her attention to him and immediately looked shocked. I told Nicholas to stop what he was doing. The lady turned her attention to me. She looked angry, and then she said, “Your son is rude.”
Every mother of a special needs child will know that we would protect our child no matter what the situation is. I began to feel angry.
“I do apologize,” I said as calmly as possible.
“What a rude child. He is so rude.”
OK, that was it. I didn’t hold back.
“Excuse me, my son did not mean what he did. And besides, he’s autistic, which is why he’s curious about his surroundings.”
“I don’t care what the hell he is. He is rude. Your son is rude.”
At this point, the lady was beyond angry like Nicholas had done something much worse. I wasn’t having it. I’d already apologized, even though I didn’t feel like I should have in the first place.
“Alright, calm down lady,” I snapped back angrily.
I took my son’s hand and the both of us walked off with my head held up high. I knew there was no point in getting into an argument with the lady. As we walked away, she continued to shout back, “Your son is rude.”
Bloody hell, enough already.
Sadly, my son understood what the lady said, because he became sad and quiet after that. But I told him that it wasn’t his fault and that there will be people like the lady who he will come across in life. As for me, I promised him I will always be there to fight back for him.
So my point in writing this post? I understand not everyone will understand those with special needs/disability. But please bear in mind that they are also human, and we just have to try to understand them. It’s also unnecessary to be rude. If they do things that might upset us, just walk away. Harsh words would just hurt them as they might understand but wouldn’t know how to defend themselves. It is sad for me to see how many supporters there are for the special needs/disabled during the Paralympics. Then when the event is over, it’s back to ‘normal’ where the special needs/disabled are divided. Special needs/disability should be supported and understood as an every day life. And it’s important to remember that not all special needs/disability are visible.
Thank you for reading.