Autism is a four letter word….

Since when?

Dear Ignorant Lady in the grocery store:

I don’t think you were trying to be as rude as you sounded when you leaned over your cart, put your hand half over your mouth and whispered to me, “Does your son have AUTISM?!  I heard that’s popular these days”.

Because I have no filter when I’m angry, I smiled and said “yes he does and thank you for asking”.  I calmly pushed our cart the other way.  Inside I was seething.

I’m not sure what prompted you to ask me this, but now that I have collected my thoughts I have a proper response to you.

First off, autism doesn’t make him deaf.  He can hear you.  Hell, he probably has better hearing than both of us put together. 


noun /ˈôˌtizəm/ 

  • A mental condition, present from early childhood, characterized by great difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts

(from Wikipedia)

Now that being said, I don’t expect everyone to understand or even pretend to know what autism is, but what I do expect is a little tact.  Would I say, “Hey you look a little chubby, are you pregnant or just have a big lunch?” to a co-worker? 

Wake up people.  We are living in 2013!  We don’t call developmental disorders “trendy”.  We don’t use the word “retard” either.  I find both extremely offensive. 

Hopefully next time before you open your mouth you think first because the next person may or may not tell you where to go.

Have a nice day!

One thought on “Autism is a four letter word….

  1. I think so many times that it really, truly is ignorance – lack of knowledge or perhaps curiosity, that prompts people to say something. Though I seriously would expect that even the most ignorant of people would understand how “I hear that’s popular these days” is completely inappropriate! And to speak as if he can’t hear, that breaks my heart. Hello, sensitive little person here can hear!!!

    With Isaac, I often get questions too. I find it hard to swallow when people are rude or gawkish but I welcome the questions from children…when it’s an honest desire to know, not being nosy but just sincerely wondering. It’s a great opportunity to educate while answering and Isaac’s siblings do a good job of telling why/how he’s different and how he’s the same too.

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