My Son makes Fun of the Autistic Kid in Class

I know bullying happens. I am not naïve to that. But what I didn’t know is that sometimes parents think it is funny too.

They promote it. They laugh about it. They condone it.

And they even brag about it over a cup of coffee.

I was sitting with a few co-workers the other day having a cup of coffee and we were sharing stories about our kids.

We were laughing about the drama around little girls and the laid back personalities of little boys. I was hearing about dance and soccer and laughing at the ‘darndest’ things kids say.

The conversation kept evolving and I was having the best time. I love hearing about other people’s kids and what I have to look forward too.

And then one of the ladies said the following: “My son makes fun of the autistic boy in his class and it’s hilarious.”

First, I swear you could hear a pin drop. We stopped our giggling and side conversations and turned to her.

Second, I immediately thought I must not have heard her incorrectly. I must have heard her wrong. No one would think this let alone say it out loud.

And she continued without fear.

“My son has the whole act down. He covers his ears and repeats words and even does a hand twitch. He has the flap down perfectly.”

My stomach dropped. I started repeating to myself, “Do not cry. Do not cry. Do not cry.”

I willed myself to hold it together.

My son covers his ears. My son’s hands twitch. My son flaps his hands.

And one of my greatest fears is that he will be bullied for it.

I guest I also didn’t know that we refer to kids as the ‘autistic ones.’ I guess I again naïvely thought he was just a kid.

We all continued to stare at her.

I had assumed that everyone in this group knew about Cooper. Not that it should matter if we are all kind humans. But I guess I just thought she knew about my son.

Thankfully, the other ladies didn’t think it was funny either. We all stared at her with stunned looks on our faces. No one said a word.

She started back peddling and said “Oh, he doesn’t do it in front of him. Just at home for us. He’ll put on quite the show in our living room.”

And quickly added…”The boy doesn’t even know he teases him.”

I guess that was supposed to make it better.

I could tell she wanted us to understand how funny it was. So, she actually mimicked the hand motion that this little boy does.

Sure as hell she flapped her arms quickly. Like Cooper does when he is excited and joyful.

It then dawned on me. Not only does her son make fun of the autistic boy, she does too.

A grown woman. A woman with kids. A woman raising children that will go out into the world.

I know I have an extra stake in the whole autism thing so it probably hurt me more than others. I get that. But really?

A fellow mom with a son the same age as my little boy. A son who I am sure wasn’t perfect either.

A million thoughts were running through my head. Before I could even speak she was gone. She quickly excused herself and ran off.

I sat there for a more minutes. A woman sitting next to me asked if I was okay. I said yes.

In that moment I realized how ugly the world can be. And while I am one of the loudest advocates you will ever meet, this caught me off guard. Bullying is usually blatant. It is aggressive. It is obvious.

This was subtle. Over a cup of coffee.

I knew bullying happened. I just didn’t know it could happen in a families living room.

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Comments

  • Carmen

    February 3, 2019 at 5:06 pm
    Reply

    Kate- I know all about this type of bullying. Isn’t it crazy how ppl find all kinds of subtle interesting ways to hurt each other? […] Read MoreKate- I know all about this type of bullying. Isn’t it crazy how ppl find all kinds of subtle interesting ways to hurt each other? My son was bullied last year by a father and mother of one of my sons classmates . It was done behind our backs, but enough ppl knew about it to report it. It was incredible. So incredible that this family was actually kicked out of school over it. It caught me so off guard as well. I won’t go into the details but it was so dramatic and scarey at one point that I ended up with PTSD. I had no idea what that condition was or how it felt until it happened to me! It’s so sad that we as a society have not evolved more. I will say though that this man who bullied my son and ultimately our whole family turned four had a very abusice childhood I found out. Like severely abused in many ways. He now went on to abuse an easy target- a child. It’s sick and very sad. Hugs to you Kate- you handled it with grace and diginity💝 Read Less

  • Nancy

    February 3, 2019 at 7:02 pm
    Reply

    This is heartbreaking. I'm so sorry you had to endure this. Do you think you could print out a copy of this blog post and […] Read MoreThis is heartbreaking. I'm so sorry you had to endure this. Do you think you could print out a copy of this blog post and leave it on this woman's desk? I know it's exhausting to be the person who has to educate everyone else. Or do you think one of your coworkers can talk to her? Read Less

  • Cordelia

    February 4, 2019 at 3:46 pm
    Reply

     […] Read MoreI'm sitting here filled with ? That's a blank as I'm not sure what word to use, especially because I'm a Believer and what I'm feeling right now is certainly not too righteous. It almost has me in tears.....I had NO idea a mother would think this was funny! She is to teach her children what is right and wrong!!! I am so sorry this happened to you. My precious niece has a 5 year old autistic child. Three years ago this was diagnosed. It was the very first time I was introduced to this challenge. I know I'm repeating but I just cannot, cannot imagine a MOTHER making fun; this post is heartbreaking. Read Less

  • Sharon R Broome

    February 4, 2019 at 5:48 pm
    Reply

    You handled it better than I would've. I'd have said something to her and wouldn't have been the slight bit nice about it. Like I […] Read MoreYou handled it better than I would've. I'd have said something to her and wouldn't have been the slight bit nice about it. Like I said you handled it better than me. Read Less

  • Cheryl

    February 4, 2019 at 8:02 pm
    Reply

    By not letting her have it with both barrels it stopped her from going all out defending it or turning it into a you’re too […] Read MoreBy not letting her have it with both barrels it stopped her from going all out defending it or turning it into a you’re too sensitive moment. I’m sorry for the pain she caused you. I’m sorry this is the reality. Read Less

  • Judith A Gipson

    February 5, 2019 at 4:20 pm
    Reply

    I wish you had educated that lady...but, then again, you can't cure STUPID! I have experienced stares from strangers and being shunned at the park. […] Read MoreI wish you had educated that lady...but, then again, you can't cure STUPID! I have experienced stares from strangers and being shunned at the park. This is heartbreaking but I can't imagine what the child in the classroom felt. Where is the teacher when this "fun" takes place? Read Less

  • Lindsey

    February 6, 2019 at 2:55 pm
    Reply

    That's....bizarre. This woman is either after your job and was trying to upset you in a truly weird way or a huge moron. I'm guessing the […] Read MoreThat's....bizarre. This woman is either after your job and was trying to upset you in a truly weird way or a huge moron. I'm guessing the latter. I don't know if she was a friend or an acquaintance but either way, she's shown her colors and this will hurt her work reputation. Something like this will get around whether or not you say a word. Read Less

  • Jo

    February 6, 2019 at 8:31 pm
    Reply

    I couldn’t believe my eyes and what I read! That woman is a vile A-Hole basturd nincompoop!!!

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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