Sunday, December 4, 2016

Why Do Others Make Fun Of People With Autism?





"Mom," Tommy said the other day. "Why do people sometimes call people with autism retarded?"

I closed my eyes for a few seconds. I cannot stand the r-word. It makes me cringe. It squeezes my heart. If that word could be banned forever I'd be thrilled.

And now my son was asking why people with autism were called the word. He has autism. So it was only natural that he'd ask.


"People who say that have ugly hearts," I answered honestly. "They aren't kind. They don't get it."

Tommy thought for a few seconds. "Why do people make fun of us? Like, why do people mimic this?" Tommy made a show of waving his arms all over the place. Sometimes people with autism flap. Tommy flaps, but he's learned to do it in private. But not everyone does it in private.

I swallowed.

"Have kids...been mean to you at school?" Why else would he ask? Were there teenagers mocking him? My immediate thought was to march to the school and grab all those monsters by the ears. I don't know why. I also pictured myself doing a fantastic impression of Shirley Maclaine in Terms Of Endearment when her daughter needs the shot. Only I'd be screaming at everyone to be kind.

"No," Tommy replied and I let out a sigh of relief. "I check out YouTube videos. Sometimes people make fun of autism." He shrugged like it was no big deal, but I knew it was a big deal to him. He has autism. He doesn't want people to think he's the r-word. He doesn't want others to mimic his behaviors that help calm him down and center his world.



"Well, like I said, those people are cruel. Don't pay any attention to them."

Tommy nodded. "Plus," he said matter-of-factly, "I'm probably much smarter than all those people. I think everyone with autism are smarter than those people."

I chuckled.

"You're right, Tommy. You're so right."

59 comments:

  1. He is amazing and people are disgusting!

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  2. People definitely need to better educate themselves. Sigh. Tommy is awesome!

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  3. wow people are so sick. I love that you can have an open honest relationship with your son. Like you said people are sick and cruel. I'm so glad a thing like Autism awareness exhists.

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  4. This is sad. I can't believe people can be so unaware. The autistic people I've met in my life have all been incredible people

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  5. Tommy is awesome. I hope he doesn't let anyone tell him any different! People make fun of others because hurt people hurt people and simple jealousy!!

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  6. He sounds like a very gentle and kind hearted soul. People can be so cruel. I'm so glad that he has such a positive attitude. I'm sure he will achieve great things in his life time.

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  7. This was a really cute story! I was getting nervous at first but glad it went well. You are doing a fine job raising your son!

    KatrinaJeanCarter.wordpress.com

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  8. People can be so cruel. Tommy sounds like an amazing boy. You're doing a great job with him!

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  9. People who call autisms retard are biggest retards themselves. Tommy is god gifted. And the last line, yes Tommy, you're smarter than those people. 🙂 God bless.

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    1. I'm not convinced calling anyone a 'retard' is called for...

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  10. I don't understand why anyone would make fun of someone with autism. That is so incredibly cruel! Tommy sounds like an amazing boy!
    xo Jessica
    www.whatsfordinneresq.com

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  11. My youngest brother has Down's Syndrome and kids make fun of him sometimes because he doesn't talk very well and he has different things that he does to help with his sensory issues and the kids (and even some ADULTS) think it's weird. People can be cruel. Making fun of people with autism or Down's or any other special qualities is just ridiculous. And I question THEIR level of intelligence and common sense. Tommy, you are CLEARLY a whole lot smarter than those people. And there is NOTHING wrong with you. You're awesome. Never forget. :)

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  12. I used to teach at a non-public school for students with autism. It was an extremely restrictive school and they had no opportunities to mainstream them because we were a non-public school. A separate building. A separate campus.

    A lot of the kids I worked with were VERY high functioning and, I personally thought that they didn't need to be in such a restrictive setting. But I knew that there were so many parents who just couldn't stand the fact that their kids were bullied and made fun of in public schools. I'm not a parent, but I have an extreme attachment to my students and I would probably feel the same way if I were put in a similar situation at an IEP meeting.

    Now that I'm working in a public school setting, one of my #1 priorities at the beginning of the year is finding a way to really DO inclusion the right way. Teach other kids about the variety of learning styles in the classroom. Teach other kids about the different behaviors they may come across. And help them understand why other kids might need or do other things that may come off as "weird" or "different."

    I've found success for the most part. Students are often times more understanding than adults. They just need to be taught why.

    <3 Your son is a great kid. And you're a great mama. It's wonderful to see conversations like this happen.

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  13. My daughter has 5p- syndrome, which is a spectrum disorder and also so many of her symptoms are very much like those of autism. She's ten and is still figuring out how to center herself when she gets overwhelmed and so she flaps pretty much all the time when things are too much for her. Like you, I remind her how awesome she is and how smart she is and how kind she is. And then I remind her that not everyone in this world is as awesome, smart and kind as she is and so she has to understand that sometimes, people just suck.

    Your son is amazing and I'm so glad he has you as his mom, someone who always has his back and will always, ALWAYS stand up for him and is teaching him to stand up for himself.

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  14. Your son sounds amazing with such a positive attitude.

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  15. People are mean but they make fun of what they don't know or understand. It's hard to ask someone why do you act like that. Or even how do you ask what's wrong with you. People take that personally too. If I ask it's because I don't know and I'm trying to understand. I hate when I'm in the presence of a mom and her son and her child acts out and the mom immediately states he has autism. That's not necessay either. I wouldnt judge. The child just got excited or frustrated. The end.

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  16. Your son is so handsome!! People can be cruel and horrible sometimes, but don't worry, he looks like a really positive child <3

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  17. Good for you, Tommy! And you're right about being smarter.

    I know this doesn't make it any better, but pretty much everyone who is different in any way (I'm a tall girl for example) gets mocked. Some people are just mean.

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  18. I'm so sorry that you had to answer such a heartbreaking question. I have a cousin with autism so I'm familiar with their particular struggles and the stigmatism they sometimes face. I don't understand ignorance.

    Beth || www.TheStyleBouquet.com

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  19. What a beautiful boy and such mean people in this world but you're handling it well.

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  20. Good on you for handling your sons question so well, and for tackling discussion on this important topic! <3
    XO
    Lee | LegalLee Blonde

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  21. I find it absolutely repulsive that people take time out of their day to make fun of others.

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  22. I agree I used to say the R word joking with my friends yeras ago now I can't stand the word sometimes it'll slip out because I am aggervated with my son when he plays dumb, but I have to learn to use better words sometimes.

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  23. People can be so mean. I always give people who are considered different extra attention as I know what it is like to be made fun of as I was the fat kid.

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  24. Your son has such an awesome personality <3 I don't know a whole lot about autism but I do know it is deplorable to make fun. Most of these have absolutely no knowledge of what it is and what it is like for people living with it.

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  25. sometimes people can be insensitive, hopefully they will one day change for the better

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  26. It's still so baffling to me how people can be so mean to others. Hopefully some day, there minds will open up and they'll be more understanding of different people's personalities and lifestyles.

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  27. Your son is such a sweat heart! And yes, people can be so ignorant and cruel. :(

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  28. It's heart wrenching to see people make fun of people with any kind of disability.I wonder if we'll ever live on an inclusive world that's so not full of hate

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  29. People are getting more and more mean as the years pass by! I don't know whatever happened to being kind to one another and being more "human", it's really disappointing. We would rather hate than be kind!

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  30. There are so many kind of people in the world. There are good and bad ones and some in between. Your son sounds like an understanding and mature boy. Words sometimes hurts more than action and be able to have positive attitude is key.

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  31. Those who don't have an open mind and usually didn't know how to treat others well have worst conduct than the one with the syndrome.

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  32. You have a much nicer way with words than me. I would have said it's simply because some people are a**holes. I have no tolerance for mean people.

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  33. I think one of the biggest things the Internet has shown us is the dark side of humans. Ignorance is no excuse for using this type of language.

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  34. There really will be people who would choose to make fun of others instead of understanding them. Sometimes, I wouldn't even blame it on ignorance anymore, because they know exactly what they're doing to their fellow human beings.

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  35. Indeed he is SMART AF. I salute your kid! Ohh dear you are guys are have beautiful hearts 😊

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  36. People are so quick to judge when it comes to something they don't understand. He is an amazing little feller and so brave! Keep up the awesome work mom, your doing a wonderful job!

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  37. The sad thing is that these kids who are saying hurtful things and bullying others aren't being taught anything else by their parents. People will judge what they don't understand, believe me when I say I know the feeling of being bullied and judged constantly. It's ignorance on the part of these people and it won't get them anywhere in life. you're doing an amazing job as a Mom!

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  38. Boo on YouTube videos, and I'm happy it's not at his school. One of my closest friends has Down Syndrome so the "R" word is one of the worst I know.
    Tommy is so beautiful!

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  39. He is absolutely right! Yay for him... and there are SO many things on YouTube that I'd love to get rid of. Glad he isn't having problems at school.

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  40. I hate that people sometimes make fun of others. I have two Autistic nieces and they're wonderful! I would never make fun of anyone for anything. It's so sad to hear about it in school, where they should be helping stop bullying.

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  41. I'm not even sure what's wrong with the world most times -- you'd think as we're advancing technologically and scientifically, so are our reasoning abilities, but nope.
    Not too many people, unfortunately.
    Your son is smart, and I'm glad he's talking to you about these things.

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  42. Things like this make me so mad!!! My daughter is high functioning autistic... you wouldn't even know because she doesn't have behavior issues... but she's pretty much nonverbal.... so when you go to talk to her and she doesn't say anything back.... that's when people start to be so rude! I am glad to hear your son isn't having issues in school.... that's my biggest fear for my own kiddo... when she goes into elementary school and is in a normal classroom and not her 2:1 class where all the kids are like her...

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  43. This is such a sad situation. You are so right to tell him that people are cruel. My son has ADHD and even though people dont necessarily make fun of that, they do point out that he can't sit still and why cant he just concentrate. He knows what he has and so those comments really hurt. I hope your son can just let it roll off.

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  44. Your son is amazing. We fostered a little boy on and off for years with it. He thrived with us and now is doing mediocre in another home. It's so misunderstood.

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  45. That's a great outlook for Tommy to have! I don't understand why kids (and adults) have to be mean when they don't understand what's going on.

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  46. Keep being the kind of mommy that you are and he will handle how unkind people can be like a champ.

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  47. It's terrible that some people don't understand and accept autism... I think we should learn from each other, no matter who we are. Judging and hating are what make this world a hell.

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  48. This is really a sad story! Why people are so cruel people these days are judging you easily

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  49. YouTube has some quality content, but like you noted here, it also has a mess of inappropriate content that makes you scratch your head and wonder how on earth anyone would think what they are doing is funny.

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  50. YouTube definitely introduces kids to the good and bad of the world. The 'r' world is not in our household vocabulary. I grew up in the 80s as an elementary school student, and I remember that it was a word used incessantly in name-calling at school, and I never knew the origin of it. I didn't see it as a connection with autism. I had no idea where it came from.

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  51. People with Autism tend to be very smart, observant and honest, like Tommy and my son. It sucks that people still use that word in a derogatory manner.

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  52. I can't believe others would make fun of your son. They clearly don't have children and would never understand what your going through.

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  53. I honestly believe its down to lack of understanding and also how you behave around someone with autism with a little bit of fear thrown in. Its hard to know how to act if you haven't had first hand experience.

    Educating others is the way forward

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  54. I can't imagine how difficult this conversation must have been for you as parents our natural instinct is to protect our children. I am also noticing the disturbing trend that's dominating society lately a general lack of kindness and compassion, hopefully if more of us notice and teach our children to be more caring and considerate things may just change.
    XO, MJ
    http://www.lush-fab-glam.com

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  55. I cant understand those people who cant just let other people live. They can just not say anything at all and live other people alone. Guess they are the one who's the R word.

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  56. People need to teach their children respect and they need to show respect themselves. This breaks my heart. It is just not right!

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  57. It is absolutely ignorance. And these people who make fun or demean others because they are different from them are so simple minded and closed off from a bigger world. It annoys me. I'm glad he knows how to compartmentalize those things. Much smarter :)

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