Home » Autism » Stop looking at me that way

Stop looking at me that way

I get it, a lot…that look…the one quite obviously asking, “Are you really going to let your child behave that way?” Trust me, if I had a choice, it would be anything but. Ah, the joys of parenting an autistic child.

He lacks social grace. Of the eleven goals currently on his IEP, no less than five involve social behavior.  We’ve been working on these skills intently for nearly four years.  He is better at it than he was four years ago, but he still has many moments I have to give the look back that says, “Yes, I’m completely aware my child is being an a#$ right now.” If it makes other people uncomfortable, which I can see it does, multiply their feelings times a billion and that’s close to where I’ll be on that scale.

Here’s what happens – if you talk down to however old you think he might be based upon his size, you’re lucky to get a rude look. He will usually growl.  He definitely won’t respond to you. If he’s not in the mood to talk, or doesn’t deem your question worthy of answering, you might be able to hear his eyeballs rolling to the back of his head, or, again, the growl.  Greeting people, ordering food, acknowledging someone has said something to you, saying thank you when someone has given you something or done something nice for you….those are only slowly working their way into “normal routine” for him. Most of the time, he must be reminded. I noticed in his classroom “contract” a line about just saying “thank you” or “thank you, that’s nice, but I don’t really want that right now” when a classmate makes something for him. I assumed there was an incident prompting that line, and I cringed in embarrassment, knowing exactly how that had probably gone down.

I believe he sees words as a commodity. He won’t use them unless it’s necessary. He still communicates, just in his own way. Sometimes I try to explain that to people. Sometimes, I just let it lay.  Sometimes when those awkward situations happen, I will bail the person out. Sometimes, we muddle through, and I let them think that yes, I am that awful mother letting her child behave like a total punk while I stand there watching. Sometimes we get a person who’s been around autistic people before, and a light will go on. They get it. And they give me the look of, “It’s okay, mom. We’re good here. I understand.” I like those people.

39 thoughts on “Stop looking at me that way

  1. You’re a wonderful mom! There are just too many people who simply don’t get it. They should probably read your post about it and maybe they’d understand a little more.

  2. So glad I found your blog! I have a child with ASD and just today we had some issues at school. I was really feeling hopeless and down but when I started reading your posts I felt like I’m not really alone in this. I would love to write about my son in my blog but somehow haven’t found the guts yet. Thanks for sharing your journey with your son. We’re all in this together!

    • You’re not alone!! Writing helps me process whatever we’re dealing with on any given day, and it’s helped me create an amazing community of support. Happy you’ve found us. Thanks for reading! Hope you come back.

  3. Thanks for this post, it comes close to home. We have a nearly seven year old grand child who is still working on mastering the potty routine and has trouble communicating the thoughts that are clearly forming in her head. It is painful to watch her struggle to make her needs known and to recognize that the look in her eyes isn’t a lack of desire for contact with others but more akin to an expression of the frustration she feels at not being able to be in the loop.

  4. I don’t have children and yet it really irks me when people give parents “that” look. Come on, people; don’t you see that it’s everyone’s responsibility to support parents in their all important work? If a baby is crying on the plane, play peek-a-boo with him or her instead of complaining. If a child is misbehaving, smile kindly at them–it sometimes completely shocks them into silence or, at the very least, doesn’t make the parents feel worse than they already do (and I’m sure that most parents feel terrible when their children are misbehaving). I find it sad that the human race, the most advanced species on the planet, treats its young ones in way no other species would.

    Sorry about the rant! I honestly just don’t get it…

      • Lol thank you for being understanding of my rant 😉 But I do want to become calmer and more coherent so that I can contribute to a positive conversation rather than raise people’s hackles 😛

      • Yes! Indeed, we could. And children are our collective future… Its sad that more time and energy is spent on our collective financial future than on our kids… I’ll stop now 😉

  5. Hate that judgmental look. Hate it. My kids are well behaved. They don’t have autism or anything else. They are so called normal kids. As I said, they are well behaved and they are kids. And that leads to looks too sometimes… The funny thing is, that you get that look from those people anyway. Whatever you do, whatever you say. It will never be the right thing for them.

  6. I enjoyed this post, more than that, I understood.
    I have a teen with Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome specifically and if I had a dollar for every time he received the look or comments, etc., well, I’d be rich. The entire point of being a child, any child is to grow and learn and have fun, people need to stop caring so much about other peoples’ business.
    My son has come a very long way, but I’ve noticed these days with the lack of manners, he’s actually more polite than many adults.
    I’m not embarrassed by my son, but those who judge him. People are all different, that’s the wonder of the world. Different not less.
    Thanks for putting this out there and your other posts, it helps more than you know.

    • Thanks for reading, and commenting. Helps to know we aren’t alone. And you’re so right…manners have truly gone by the wayside, replaced by people thinking it’s their right to judge and shame as they please.

  7. I’ve been away from blogging with my own family stuff, and was glad to be reminded you were out there. This is a good piece. I am sure I gave “the look” a time or two, even though our two boys were anything but angels. Hang in there. 🙂

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