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What's better. To tell people that your kids have autism, or to leave them thinking your kids are ignorant?

(13 Posts)
HecatesTwopenceworth Tue 15-Sep-09 07:56:07

I prefer to tell people who come into contact with my kids, that they aren't being rude (when they try to talk to them and get ignored, or when the kids yell something random or throw themselves all over the place etc etc etc) but that they have autism.

This is because the looks my kids get really hurts me and once people know they don't look at them like that. I hate people thinking badly of them.

OTOH, my husband doesn't tell anyone, unless the kids do something that really raises eyebrows, or ignore someone who is trying over and over and over to speak to them etc etc. So when he's with the kids, if they ignore / yell / go weird grin people just think they are naughty and ignorant. And weird.

Which is best? What do you do? pre-empt or wait for the judging and explain?

silverfrog Tue 15-Sep-09 09:00:30

I always pre-empt.

dd1 is 5, and, imo (obv without the autism element) should be old enough to know better. If she were not ASD, I owuld be horrified by her behaviour, and so I explain to people who come into contact with her.

I am though, (I am coming to realise) a fairly uptight parent, who makes sucking lemons faces a LOT, and who has (would have, I suppose, given I often have no choice in this) little tolerance for bad behaviour.

So, whenever dd1 rolls onn the floor at the checkout (trying to get rid of the buggy), or when she says "dinosaur!" and giggles if anyone asks her anyhting, or when she runs around with dd2 shouting lots (one of their favourite games to play together involves running up and down apparently chasing echa other) - the list goes on - I do say "she's autistic" if anyone mutters.

dd1 is right at the age where peole dismiss it as bad behaviour though - big enought to not be behaving like that, but small enough to still be being a naughty child, iyswim?

I really hate the thought that passers-by might think I would allow my children to behave in that way ordinarily, and so I always say why she is playing up.

that said, I don't let her away with actual bad behaviour, but things like not talking to people who randomly talk to her etc are not, in her world "bad" behaviour.

HecatesTwopenceworth Tue 15-Sep-09 12:34:13

Thanks. I too pull them up on bad behaviour (autism is no excuse! grin) but when ds2 is saying "naked" every 5 minutes, or one of them blanks someone, say, in a shop, who is trying to talk to them, I just know what they're thinking and I don't want them too.

dh, otoh, thinks stuff them, he doesn't need to 'explain' our kids.

saintlydamemrsturnip Tue 15-Sep-09 14:53:16

I don't usually bother. DS1 is 10 now severely autistic with severe learning disabilities. I judge anyone who can't spot that there's something up as being pretty ignorant themselves, so I don't really stress about telling them. The lemon suckers rarely stop lemon sucking after an explanation anyway. Add in the fact that ds1 takes all my attention anyway and no I can't be arsed.

troutpout Tue 15-Sep-09 16:54:53

mmmm. It depends if ds is with me or not or how important it is for the situation.I find this a difficult thing to guage sometimes now as ds has got older.
It's quite a subtle thing with ds (asd)...but basically he is expected to cope out in the real world without me <<wibble>> and at mainstream school too and he wouldn't want me to warn everyone he speaks to/meets that he has autism.
When people talk to him in a jokey conversational way (hey i'm talking to a teen type of way) or in a way that he can't cope with or just doesn't get (or even if he hasn't heard a jot of what they said !),i sometimes answer for him or reprase the conversation for him so that he can answer. I hope that that is generally enough to flag up that something is up for the person involved.
However i tell all and sundry that he has asd generally (its too big a part of our lives not to iykwim...our life wouldn't make sense) and i'm very much for telling people in any way which is for his benefit.

anonandlikeit Tue 15-Sep-09 17:03:33

TBH i've given up worrying about what strangers think.
I do however tell people who i have more frequent contact with, colleagues from work etc.
It usually crops up when I have hospital, physio etc appnts to take him to. So, then if i bump in to them when out they are not left wondering, no awkward silences etc.

Marne Tue 15-Sep-09 17:18:27

I tell people that are going to come in contact with dd2 on a daily basis. Strangers can think what they like. Some of the mums at nursery know that she has asd, others think she just has sensory issues.

I don't really mind what people (strangers) think, if they want to think she is naughty, over sensitive then that's up to them.

HelensMelons Tue 15-Sep-09 17:25:56

If I think an explanation would help I would and do but if it's a Mr and Mrs Jobsworth then there's no point - they are unlikely to understand anyway.

MoonlightMcKenzie Tue 15-Sep-09 18:14:14

I don't tell people if there is no harm done. If situation is getting out of hand I explain, but ds is still very young and can 'get away' with quite a bit.

BethNoire Tue 15-Sep-09 18:24:34

I prefer to tell,I hate bing judged and that is a bit of a hang up of mine (itr's why I can't force SSD into helping us- I have a compulsion to prove how well I am coping when they come so they think I am fab, whereas in reality the washing pile is just hidden upstairs LOL)

I don't always say directly though- in Church the other day ds3 was repeating go hom opn loop (becuase I ahd amde him leave his DS there) and IDS2 was mortified; I just looked over ds3's head at him and said in a loud voice 'Peole can see he ahs special needs, they won't mind'- job done in non confrontational manner.

I'm alsoa ware that a few people (understanfdably in some ways perhaps) are a bit funny that I am not working and DH often about- it'seasier for them to understand if they know I'm a carer and DH comes over with me as ds3 is dropped outside the school from his SNU taxi and needs to be hand holded home.

BriocheDoree Tue 15-Sep-09 19:13:26

I've increasingly started telling people, certainly people where I live / school. (DD is not autistic but similar behaviour and language problems, so I usually just tell people she has special needs and trouble speaking). Got tired of them thinking she's rude because she doesn't say "bonjour" or give eye contact. Also an unfortunate incident at school the other day when another child who'd come up from behind her waving her arms got bitten, so now all the kids have been told that she's a bit "different" and that they should always approach her from the front / not grab her. I also ended up telling the Dad of the little girl who got bitten a bit about what was going on because he's nice and I know him and sometimes I get sick of making excuses. I also got tired of making excuses about why I don't work so now I just explain that my daughter has lots of appts after school that make it difficult for me.

asdx2 Tue 15-Sep-09 19:25:30

I tell only the people who need to know tbh but I have acquired an incredibly thick skin and my two would neither know nor care if somebody thought badly of them.
I think when they were younger though and newly diagnosed I did feel I should give an explanation for their behaviour nowadays I tend to just think it's none of your business.

5inthebed Tue 15-Sep-09 19:31:14

I tend to tell people who I will see on a regular basis like shops assistants, bus drivers on familiar routes and so on. And also depending on the situation I might explain why ds2 is behaving the way he does.

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