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Monday, May 28, 2007

Eye Contact

Please read this post entirely, and pass it aloong to everyone you know... Its important that we all start helping each other in this world...

This weekend it rained....Alot! And my husband, family and friends resided the house anyway!

My job was simple, entertain the kids and keep them away from the house for 12 hours both days.... Not an easy task but we found ways to entertain the kiddos. My twin sis her two boys , my neice Virginia, Hillard and I (brandon with a grandmother) went to the Cinco Ranch Beach Club. The weather as okay, storms were approching slowly, we thought we'd give it a try.... I knew Hillard would be excited to play in the sand and water.

Right when we walked through the gate black clouds were over us, no thunder. We swam for 10 minutes and a loud clap of thunder shook the ground.... The Lifegauds rushed to get us all out of the pool area.... Then there was Hillard.... A little 6 yr old boy who had no idea what was going on... Or the importance...

I literally DRAGGED him (while in full melt down mode) out of the water across the sand. All the while I got nothing but disapproving stares and glares. I learned a long time ago not to make eye contact, it hurts too badly to see the pure ignorance in other peoples faces. No other child was sceaming, it was silent...and it seemed we were in slow motion as every eye was on us.

My sister didn't know any better and sat all of our belongings at the table furthest from the exit...When you have a child like mine you learn to put everyhting as close to the exit as possible for a quick get away..... So I was left to DRAG my 6 yr old autistic son across the beach and through the patio area down a tunnel under a busy road and into the parking lot.

It makes me want to cry thinking back on it. It was something out of a movie. Really it was... EVERYONE stopped to stare... No one helped me of course (my sister and neice were busy making sure my belongings were being taken care of). But no stranger asked me if they could help. They just all stared and judged. When I would look up and catch someones eye I would say "he's autistic" I would get a sympathetic nod.... But, I don't owe them an explanation. I really don't!

In the parking lot an entire family glared at Me and Hillard instead of packing up their car.... The father said "some people just can't control their children"." My sister yelled at them "he's autistic, he can't help it! Go on; Turn around pack up your car, theres nothing to stare at here". Good for Carmen

I cried a little in the car wishing my sons life was going to be easier. Life is a battle and here he is without a sheild or sword.

Why am I telling you this? If you ever see a mom or dad with a child and that parent looks like they need help. Please help them. I know its uncomfortable to ask a perfect stranger if they need help... But ask anyway.

I know there are some people out there that care... I just didn't meet any today.



Blogger BLACK DOG KNITS said...

I cried for you too, then I looked at his photo and smiled - he's gorgeous!

I'll make sure I help from now on. Thank you. (Crying again now.) x


1:02 AM  
Blogger Crazy Colorado Knitter said...

I'm so sorry. My brother (now 15) used to do that, and it's so painful to try to drag an autistic kid away from something while in full meltdown mode.

I'd have asked if you needed help, and not assumed "bad behavior," but not everyone understands.

1:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Catherine, I am SO SO sorry this happened to you. I can't believe how MEAN some people can be--people who have children & should understand! I remember seeing a very scared child at Disney World who didn't want to get on a ride & his parents tried to persuade him. Me--I would've left it alone, but I don't know their situation--they may have travelled a long way & wanted to see everything. Who knows? A woman in front of me (WITH KIDS) complained the whole time about that child & it made me so angry. I really wished I'd told her off, but I just got out of that line & went to another to get away from HER!
Again, I'm so sorry. All I can do is give you a virtual {{{hug}}} which isn't much, but know that there are kind people out there...I'm just sorry you didn't meet any that day.

4:51 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I am sorry no one understood.

Can I ask a question? Would you like people to ask you if you need help or if they can do something?

It is tough to know in this day and age. So sorry you had to go through that.

Hugs to you.

5:19 AM  
Blogger amylovie said...

I'm so sorry Catherine. Thank you for reminding us to not be judgemental.

Pffft! on those sorry people.


5:46 AM  
Blogger Wendy said...

I am so sorry you had to endure that. Hillard is a beautiful child. We all need to be more sensitive to others!

5:48 AM  
Blogger Betty said...

People tend to think they know the story when they observe 1-2 minutes of a situation. I went through something similar recently. Someone muttered something under their breath about how I was dealing with my son. I overheard. Maybe she meant for me to overhear. Who knows. It made me sad and angry, and I was extremely tense on my drive home.

Having gone through situations like this, I don't judge ever. I always say that I don't know the story. There is more to it.


6:13 AM  
Blogger Sheri said...

I'd have asked, I think. My daughter is going thru the same thing with her son, my grandson. They don't have a diagnosis for him yet, they just give her a lot of run-a-round. One day it's it's because of her and the next day it's because of something else. Sometimes I wonder where all these "experts" are that are so great at mental illness. Guess I should call Oprah!
My heart goes out to you and to Hillard. Life isn't easy for anyone, but for people with special needs it's even harder.
Sheri in GA
(If you'd like my daughters e-mail address, just to have someone to talk to about this, let me know and I'll pass it on to you.)

9:27 AM  
Blogger brynne_knits said...

Now you've got me crying... It's too bad that some adults have so little self confidence that they build themselves up by attacking a sweet little boy with cruel words and stares. I think all moms should help each other out more -- I'm sure every single person there has dragged their oh-so-perfect children, screaming and crying, out of somewhere sometime before, too.

10:05 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Hugs Cath! I'm so sorry. You know, you have made me think again. I generally do ask people if they need help if they look distressed, but I tend to shy away from it when dealing with kids. Usually I am afraid they will think I feel superior, that they are not doing a good enough job, or they would be embarassed if I offered. I will definitely look through new eyes next time. Ok, one more big hug!

11:46 AM  
Blogger knitting by Steph said...

oh, wow! That's hard! Your a wonderful mom! Big hugs too you!!!

BTW, the blanket I'm making is your pattern.

1:45 PM  
Blogger Sorka said...

Oh man. When I saw the title I hoped it was a very different post than it turned out to be. Been there. Not as often as you have or will be, I sure know how it feels.

3:39 PM  
Blogger knitintensity said...

What a terrible experience. I hope your son is doing ok. It's so tragic that anyone would stand by while you were struggling.

They must not be knitters.

Kind thoughts to you both.

3:41 PM  
Blogger Kathy said...

I'm sorry you had such an awful time. I've dragged my 4 year old non-autistic son, kicking and screaming out of lots of places! But I don't know the sting of all that disapproval that you have experienced. I try more and more, especially as a mother, to not assume things about family situations that I see. There is always more to the story.

4:42 PM  
Blogger mama k said...

I'm so sorry.
I worked with children with special needs for the past several years (as a special ed teacher). I know that there is often much more to the story.

Though I have to say, I just assumed that most parents would NOT want anyone offering to help control their child. But I've never been in that situation. Now I may offer if I ever am.

7:49 AM  
Blogger Valerie said...

How do we get so isolated from each other? I'm so sorry. Thank you for sharing the experience and reminding me to look at others to understand instead of judge. {{{Big hug}}}

9:38 AM  
Blogger Sheryl said...

Thanks for sharing sweet friend. We all need reminders. Although it doesn't feel like he has a sword and a shield - he is never truly alone and he has a unique purpose in this world.

1:22 PM  
Blogger dragon knitter said...

i understand COMPLETELY. my youngest is ADHD, ODD, and has OCD tendencies. it has been suggested by differing professionals that he may have asberger's, but i can't get his psychiatrist to agree. at 6, it would have been a very similar situation (he's almost 13 now). it's not easy when you have a child that isn't like everyone else's.

big hugs! and i am one who will ask if help is needed.

6:54 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Awwww, hugs to you and big hugs to Hillard.

Because of Hillard, I am much much more sensitive to special needs kids and their parents.

But I don't usually offer to help :-( I wouldn't want help if one of mine were having a meltdown..... BUT, I don't stare, and my kids have been told that there are very special children in the world that we all need to look out for.

But we both know that I would have been right by your side telling off every person that gave you a sideways glance if I had been there :)
Carm is my hero, lol

8:56 AM  
Blogger Jen W said...

Reading your post, I thought to myself that I would prefer not to have offers of help. So it is eye-opening to see that others might want assistance in melt-down situations. The staring is what gets me most. That takes guts--to stare at a mom and child as if a tantrum or melt-down is something unusual. As if they are better than you or your child.

12:32 PM  
Blogger Brianne said...

I've been in your shoes a few times with both my 8 year old brother and my 3 year old son who have Asperger's. (Brother also has ADHD and ODD and son has OCD.)

It's frustrating and heartbreaking all at the same time.

One of the best things to happen to us recently was that we became friends with a family who has a son one year older than ours who also has an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Being able to spend time with each other without concern for behavioral issues or breakdowns or anything is such a relief. We laugh together and cry together and it's a gift.

*hugs* Catherine. You're a great Mom to Hillard and he's so lucky to have you.

6:55 PM  
Blogger JeanTownsend said...

I am saddened for you. Here in Detroit if you tried to help it would not be accepted as a kindness. You would get your head bit off and maybe even struck at. Here it is keep your nose in your own business. If I had seen you and your son my heart would have broke for you, but I cannot say I would have known what to do. At my age I have lived in at least 6 states. How you respond has a lot to do with where you live too. In Kansas I would offer the shirt off my back, as big as it is. Here you look at the ground and keep right on walking by. How I miss dear dear old Kansas and the old days. Your little boy is absolutely an angel.

9:13 AM  
Blogger Grace said...

Read this about autism:
I sent the link to Kathleen at http://www.fashion-incubator.com/mt/ and she found them very comforting. She is also autistic and she is living a happy, productive life.

5:35 PM  

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