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Awareness Cards (for varying conditions) to use in difficult situations

(80 Posts)
hazeyjane Fri 15-Aug-14 13:49:42

Ds is 4 he has a genetic condition, as he gets older we tend to get more 'looks', tuts and eyerolls when he gets overwhelmed, and some downright rudeness.

I have seen Autism Awareness cards like the one in the photo, and wondered whether something like this would be helpful in some situations.

I am not at all sure what I think about the cards, part of me thinks it would make life easier and help people be more understanding, and part of me feels uncomfortable about it, although I don't know if i can put my finger on why?!

I would really welcome other's opinions, and if anyone uses cards like this to help with their situation, did you custom make them, or download/order something?

thankyou

Jasonandyawegunorts Fri 15-Aug-14 14:36:25

My honest opinion?

Someone who looks, tuts and makes remarks is really unlikely to be educated or change their ways by being given a card. I'd also be really upset if they rip the thing up in front of me or i fine it dropped on the floor.

neverputasockinatoaster Fri 15-Aug-14 14:42:10

I bought some. My son has an ASC and my daughter most likely does too. I thought they might be useful.

However, the points in time that I might want to hand one out are the points in time when I am likely to be dealing with a very anxious child who needs all my attention...

So, I've decided against using them.

autumnsmum Fri 15-Aug-14 15:20:46

Hi hazey , I think they are a good idea but I'm too shy to use one

zzzzz Fri 15-Aug-14 15:25:21

I find the most effective response is to command people (I imagine I am an ambulance lady grin )

So carrying voice and firm eye contact. I say things like. "Would you stand back please". "I need you to STOP talking and staring and move along". "Could you get the manager for me", "I'm sorry we are going to have to move you all to the next till". "My son cannot understand what you are saying but I can, please don't make things more difficult"

Such is people's terror that things might escalate they normally do exactly what I say grin

fairgame Fri 15-Aug-14 16:07:48

My friend has 2 dc both with ASD. She has these cards and hands them out when her kids are stimming. She handed some out on a ferry to people who were staring at her kids.
I don't think I'm assertive enough to use them. I did think of getting them tshirts for ds that say 'I'm not naughty I'm autistic' but decided against it as I didn't want to draw attention to him if he was having a good day.

Card for Pensioners on a particular bus route here:

'DS has autism but that is a fraction of our worries, so take the money saved from your free education, your life-long free dentistry and prescriptions, your home-value wealth and most of all your narrow-minded intolerance and get a fucking taxi!'

ouryve Fri 15-Aug-14 16:15:04

I bought some of the AS cards, 7 years ago, when DS1 was first diagnosed (is it that long? [gulp])

I chucked them away, last week. I hadn't used one of them.

I do dislike the "My child isn't naughty - he has Autism" meme. Sometimes, actually, he is being rather "naughty", just that the reasons are far more complex than one might assume.

I've often thought of handing ones out with the disabled social workers phone number on saying:

Think we need help? So do we. This person refused. Please call them!

ouryve Fri 15-Aug-14 16:15:25

NAS cards!

Jasonandyawegunorts Fri 15-Aug-14 16:36:54

I do dislike the "My child isn't naughty - he has Autism" meme. Sometimes, actually, he is being rather "naughty", just that the reasons are far more complex than one might assume.

I would agree with this, I was a right little bugger at times growing up, sometimes i would know something was wrong to do, even if i didn't completely fully understand why, but I'd feel the need to do it.

Piratejones Fri 15-Aug-14 16:48:27

I think they are a good idea in theory, but at which point are we supposed to hand these out to random spectators?

Jasonandyawegunorts Fri 15-Aug-14 16:58:37

How about cards which say something like, "If you have enjoyed the performance, please feel free to donate a small fee to Local Charity, it would be much more useful that watching.

PolterGoose Fri 15-Aug-14 17:04:11

When I'm dealing with challenging behaviour in public I'm oblivious to other people. I honestly couldn't give a toss what other people think. As dp helpfully points out though, I do give off 'Fuck off' vibes.

It wouldn't be a bad idea to have a little printed thing for going to places that we don't go to often but where it would be helpful for them to know, like the bank, going for a shoe fitting, when we got trapped in a tube station blush

blanklook Fri 15-Aug-14 17:06:04

If a child is having a meltdown, no way can the parent have time to hand out cards. However, if people are staring at ordinary day-to day behaviour simply because it's different for them, like the stimming mentioned in fairgame's post, then um err possibly, depending on the type of person who was staring. As Jason said, it could make them react in a negative and hurtful way.

fairgame Fri 15-Aug-14 18:25:42

I just think that if a child is stimming and running around making noises then people are probably going to realise that they have a disability. Handing out a card isn't going to stop people staring as it seems to be in the human nature - people are naturally curious.

DP is really anxious about what other people think with regards to DS's behaviour, especially if he is having a tantrum. But tbh i don't give a shit. The chances are that unless you are in a place that you go to regularly, then you won't see these people ever again so who cares what they think. The places that i do go to regularly know that DS has autism.

I think the sort that are a checklist of behaviours to expect / strategies that work would be useful for DCs like my DS who have SNs but do cope fairly well in mainstream settings with help, eg Cubs, holiday clubs etc. I find myself reeling off a list onto their forms or verbally to the organisers but a concise, tailored list that I could hand over would be useful. I keep meaning to make one but never get round to it.

hazeyjane Fri 15-Aug-14 19:34:01

In an ideal world, I suppose I would always have a calm, clear (and preferably very pithy) response if someone tuts and rolls their eyes, or stares. But sometimes I am just upset, or tired and fucked off, and often I am trying to deal with ds and maintain composure with the dd's.

An example would be when we were on holiday, ds was over hot, over tired and just overwhelmed and just couldn't stand anymore, so he laid down and just started rubbing his face on the pavement. There were a couple of families sat around eating their ice creams and just staring like they were watching the TV, and someone else huffed at me as they were having to step around ds. I didn't have his buggy and the dd's were worried about him, and I scooped him up and carried him away, with the dd's following on behind. I couldn't say anything, but I would like to think that handing a card to someone which stated that ds has a genetic condition, that sometimes ordinary sights and sounds can be frightening and overwhelming for him, that he has no speech and so cannot tell people how he feels, and sometimes he may not understand you... I don't know, maybe it might make someone think twice about judging and staring, because all it does is make a difficult situation that bit harder for ds and for his family.

I suppose I hope that people act out of ignorance rather than being inherently shitty people. The reason why I was thinking about this, was that yesterday a woman got cross because we were in her way, and ds was screaming and I was trying to get him in his buggy, and gather up our shopping and make sure the dd's were ok, and somehow in the midst of it I managed to say, 'it must be so easy to roll your eyes and tut, do you really think that will make this any easier?' I think sometimes people just see screaming child and think 'brat' and they maybe don't see the sn buggy, and don't think things through.

hazeyjane Fri 15-Aug-14 19:35:30

Whoknows - that sounds like the 'passport' that school have produced for ds, based on his one page profile. Apparently they are going to do them for all the children in the school (ms as well as the sn unit)

zzzzz Fri 15-Aug-14 19:50:51

I don't really feel the need to educate or explain. Mostly I say something when people are actively making things more difficult or to give the other children a clear path to follow. (It is hard to not only be so observed but also to hear critical things about your family).

I don't need sympathy or to explain or excuse ds1 to anyone. I DO need for people not to make him or us feel shit because our best is not to their liking. tries hard to ignore the fact that the biggest problems are actually extended family NOT strangers sad

tempe48 Sat 16-Aug-14 13:03:25

I got tut tuts when I told DD to use the disabled toilet once at the O2 arena, as there was such a long queue for the ladies.

I just told them that if DD is not in 100% condition in any way, she is likely to have 18 seizures in 20 minutes; we are likely to end up calling 999 and spending 8 hours or more at A & E, waiting to see a doctor willing to make a decision on her.

They all apologised and were very embarrassed. DH said I should have opened my handbag and showed them all the drugs we carry round for her!

tempe48 Sat 16-Aug-14 13:04:39

I will say though, that when she does have a seizure and is lying on the floor, unconscious; people are very helpful - especially men!

Tooloudhere Sun 17-Aug-14 18:25:45

Why bother, people will look and stare at something that is different. You will probably find that most people have already worked out there is something different about your ds. The last thing I would do to anyone who is rude enough to continue staring is to hand out my ds confidential medical information, I don't know how he would feel about that when he is older.

The best thing I ever did was to stop watching and looking for other peoples reactions, problem solved.

hazeyjane Tue 19-Aug-14 08:13:54

Thankyou for your replies everyone.

I am feeling a bit out of kilter here, but appreciate all your views.

We were in France last week and really noticed the difference in attitudes to disability there, I am afraid that we came back really grateful we live in the UK. Yes there are tuts and looks here, etc, but not the open hostility that we encountered there. And most often in the UK people are interested rather than judgy. Maybe it was also more difficult as my French is very rudimentary so I could not explain anything, so perhaps I am being unfair.

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