Would you be so Understanding?

I found myself out today in the community with my six year old son and my baby.

We were in a group of people.

We were quietly sitting.

And by quietly I mean Sawyer was bouncing off the walls and the baby was chatting up a storm. Just as kids should be. Busy and happy.

It was lovely. The three of us out together.

I’m stretched a little thin these days so it’s nice to get time with my kids.

I found myself looking around. I found myself missing Cooper. Thinking about how it’s not fair that he can’t be with us.

While we are working diligently on getting him out in the community, and are having improvements, it’s still slow going.

I was in my own little world when a toddler’s piercing scream brought me back to reality.

I watched a little boy, a few feet away from me, maybe three years old, pull away from his mother.

I watched him run away.

She chased him.

She attempted to sit him down.

He got mad.

He screamed. He flailed. He even kicked a little bit.

I saw the mother smile. That fake one that we’ve all done when we are exhausted.

As parents we all know. The struggle is real sometimes.

I’m assuming she was saying that silent prayer….’just sit still child.’

I smiled. I’ve been there.

Toddlers are so much work.

I glanced at the people around her.

Sympathetic smiles. I heard one Grandma like lady say, ‘busy, busy boy.’

I heard another say, ‘he must need a nap.’

I could hear and see the little boy trying to get away from his mother’s hug.

I watched him finally get away. She once again got up and chased him. He melted down.

All out this time. A full blown tantrum with noise, kicking and rolling.

He was not happy to be caught. He had somewhere to go. Somewhere he wanted to be.

He launched himself on the floor. He screamed. He rolled. He kicked.

And again, I saw the sympathetic stares. The smiles.

I heard one person say, ‘wow, he is spirited.’

I immediately thought of Cooper again. I often do.

My eight year old. He has so many toddler like behaviors.

Screaming. Running. Dropping to the ground. Launching.

But it can get even more intense.

Self injuring. Throwing. Hitting.

He’s not 25 pounds anymore. He’s not little. He’s not small.

He doesn’t have that cute look of a toddler. He’s a boy. A big boy. An 8 year old boy.

I can’t throw him over my shoulder.

Sometimes I can’t even reason with him.

It’s paralyzing. It’s even harder with an audience.

As I sat there watching, I couldn’t help but wonder…Would these people be so understanding if an 8 year old boy acted this way?

Would they be so kind?

What if he wasn’t cute and little anymore?

What if he wasn’t small and tiny?

Would they judge? Would they whisper and stare?

Would they call him spirited and busy? Or naughty and bad?

Would they question my parenting?

One thing I’ve learned as my son has gotten older is that his cutness his starting to wear off. Not to me of course because I am his mother.

I look at him and still see my little baby boy.

But to the world, that doesn’t know he’s autistic and nonverbal, they see a big kid, acting loud and erratic.

It’s scary for me as he’s getting older.

People aren’t nearly as understanding. They aren’t as kind.

So I ask you, would you be so understanding?

Now what if I told you he had autism. Would that change anything?

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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 our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook, subscribe for exclusive videos, and subscribe to our newsletter.

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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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When my son was first diagnosed with autism no one was talking about it. Autism was hidden. I vow to change that.
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