My thirty-two year old autistic brother is extremely challenged. He attracts attention with his sounds, stance and boob poking. As his older sister I'm used to it, and when mom's around I kind of enjoy the myriad of stranger stare types that have come our way. However, when my mom is working and I am in charge, I have very often become uncomfortable.
My mistake wasn't being uncomfortable, it was my response to the discomfort that caused harm.
Often, I would just leave my brother home. He is very capable of staying home alone, and comfortable too. But he also loves outings and music blaring in the car. So often I lost opportunities to share him with our community and the world because I didn't want to see everyone looking at me with the assumption that I would do something about his foot smacking and paper flicking and scream/jumping.
Instead I would tell my brother, "you ate all of the butter so stay here and think about what you did" or "if you don't find your shoe in one minute I'm leaving without you" and "your pants are on backwards and I'm running late. Next time look at the tag like we've shown you." etc.
My brother is autistic, not stupid. I'm sure he could tell that I didn't want to bring him. And why? Because people look at us.
Because people look at us.
My mistake hurt me, hurt autism awareness and hurt my brother.
Hopefully, however, by sharing my mistake with you and changing it now, I can help others! Help our families! And, in sharing with honesty, perhaps I can spread a little autism awareness!
We are here, we are weird, we have feelings, and we're coming to a Dollar Store near you!!
Hugs, smiles and love!!!