|14-year-old girl with autism.|
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
|NLEx May 30 Autistic Teens (Photo credit: DivaLea)|
I was furious when the manager confronted me and told me he was banned from the store and she was going to have to call the cops on him but I just grabbed my teens and my bag, told her "he's a 15-year-old, autistic boy who didn't know what he was doing" and stood up. Her reply? "Ok, well I guess I won't call the cops then." Some guy ended up following us out of the store and I wanted to turn around and ask who he was but I was so livid, I couldn't do anything but leave. David kept talking and trying to apologize as we left the store and I ended up snapping at him to shut up while we were leaving. I hated myself for that. He was scared and he didn't understand what was going on other than the threat of someone taking him away to jail for something he didn't quite understand he did wrong and banning him from a place he loves.
It's made me wonder how many other parents have faced the same struggles with their special needs kids and chose to just quietly leave than cause a commotion that would otherwise make their kids even more anxious than they already are during those circumstances. I should've fought with the manager. Fought for my son who people look at with either pity or disdain but I was so angry and embarrassed for him that I chose to walk away. Even as I tossed and turned in bed tonight (I'm writing this at 2:37 AM EST) I kept thinking that I should've done something. But shoulda, woulda, coulda has no place after the fact.
The truth of the matter of is, he's 15 years old in body but he's only 8 or 9 years old in mind but no one looks at your mind when they judge you. They look at your outward appearance and cast judgment about your character based on that alone. I keep saying I want my children to understand that the world is unfair but still theirs to live in and enjoy but when moments like today happen, I wonder if this unfair world can be a safe place for anyone deemed "different".
I'm just grateful that in a world where Trayvon Martin can be deemed threatening and therefore cause for someone to shoot him that my son, with his dark complexion, large head and facial features many associate with the word "retarded" wasn't in a place where someone could kill him for a misunderstanding.