I have to tell you that my son, H, loved watching a somewhat irritating internet show called Fred – which I think is rather much of a sensation with the early teen or pre-adolescent set. Well – a while back I asked him why he wasn’t watching it any more – and he said, “Fred is dead – he used the R word – so I am not watching that show anymore.”
That was over 4 months ago… and he hasn’t gone back to it.
Last night we went to a movie and I was working hard to remind H that he needed to be quiet in the theatre. This is always a bit of a challenge – as he is so full of questions – and really I do want to encourage that kind of thinking and questioning and social interaction.
He usually does pretty well, but it still is difficult to differentiate that you can talk at home – but the expectations for the theatre are different.
Anyways – last night in the theatre – there was someone who was really very loud at times – and vocalizing and laughing at unexpected times during the movie. I surmised that this person was not neurologically equipped to follow the typical theatre-going social norms, and I was ready to step up in defense of their rights and was rehearsing what I might say if anyone complained.
I was watching… ready to advocate…
I was also ready to explain to H about acceptance and understanding diversity – if he questioned the yelling out… especially when at the same time I was working to have him be more quiet and considering others in the theatre.
You know what?
No one said a thing!!
I didn’t see a single head turn toward where this person was sitting.
H didn’t even notice. Well, perhaps he did – because he hears EVERYTHING – but he didn’t mention it or ask.
I don’t know about his experience with this – because I didn’t query.
I was curious. I thought about it… about digging into his perspective… and about sharing my pride in his response – but I let it slip away.
I love that this is just the way it is for him… it is the way it should be for us all.
I am pretty proud of my kid and my little town!
Things are changing!! Keep writing my friends – you are educating many, you are making a difference, and you are not alone!
Before finalizing this post, I asked H, “Why does the R word matter?”
“Because lots of people are different! I am different – and that should be okay – not bad!” and with a simple shrug and without pause, he headed back to his room – where today, he is apparently outfitting himself with the perfect attire for a Zombie Apocalypse!
Zombie Apocalypse or no… I want this kid on my team!
H has taken the pledge to end the R word at http://www.r-word.org/ and so can we all…
30 Days of Autism is a project designed to fight stigma, promote civil rights, and increase understanding and acceptance for those who process and experience the world differently.
© Leah Kelley, Thirty Days of Autism, (2013)
This post is participating in the February 2014 T-21 Blog Hop which, for this month, is focused on examining Ableist Language. I plan to read all of the posts. Just click on this image – it will take you to the Linky Tools list.