Monday, 30 October 2017

To the mother dragging her son on the pavement - I get it


Firstly, I'm so sorry that you and your son have been captured on video for the world to see. I know that when my son has a meltdown, people watching does not help.

I'm sorry you had to stand being judged.

I'm sorry you felt there was no other solution but to pull your son along by his reins.

I'm sorry you felt unsupported.

I'm sorry you felt that you and your family are misunderstood.

Maybe mostly, I'm sorry, that I get it.

An autistic meltdown is not like a tantrum.  It does not stop because we say 'come on' or 'get up' or 'you won't get TV at home'.  I've been here.  Both our older children are autistic.  My middle child, David, is non-verbal and is the most likely to have a meltdown.  He's an escape artist so we've never been able to use reins.  This along with the fact that I'm just not strong enough to pull my lad anymore means I've not been unlucky enough to have my actions put online.  But I've been here.

I've carried a flailing screaming child under my arm like a rugby ball through a super market checkout and across a car park because he didn't understand why he can't open all the toys in the store.

I've fireman lifted him off a bus because despite my best efforts, he still he didn't understand why we had to get off.

I've pinned my son to the floor and put my whole body on top of him, because I was afraid he would hurt himself or others when he got upset that his sister lost a shoe.

I have had to physically restrain him in a car because he didn't understand why someone was sitting in a different seat.

There is usually nothing that I can do for my David when he collapses in a meltdown except remove him from whatever is upsetting him.  And that's not always easy.

Some days I have the time to help my son through the pain he feels.  Some days I can't because there is school run or doctor's appointment we have to make.

I may not know who you are, or the circumstances surrounding this time when your were filmed.  I wonder if anyone offered to help.  I wonder if you've been supported.  I know that sometimes I'm at wits end and I don't know what else to do. I know I've been given much advice and strategies to help and sometimes they just don't work.  I know that many people don't understand my kids or what it's like to parent them.  I know I love my kids to bits and would never do anything to hurt them. Nevertheless, I still know that this woman and child on a video, could easily have been me.

If you'd like to know more about what it's like having autistic children, please feel free to read the rest of my blog or just search online.  You'll find plenty of us willing to share.

13 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thank you. I think I know lots of people who will too.

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  2. Sadly lots of people will have judged from that short video and not taken the time to try and understand. I too hope that the mother has since found some support x

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  3. I hadn't heard about this, so I looked up the article. I've felt like that too. Like when I had to put myself on top of my oldest child, because he was determined to get behind the library check out desk. At the same time I was avoiding being bitten by him. It was like all the library patrons were frozen, it was so quiet. And when I got up with tears in my eyes, everyone looked away, embarrassed. I had my other two boys with me, also autistic, and they were upset that I was crying. It's an awful feeling, the weight of unspoken judgement and criticism. To be called out on camera with people being negative about you, even worse. I wonder if the person who filmed this, even thought about possibly helping? Or were they so focused on revealing what they found to be negligence on camera, that they forgot about empathy and compassion? It's sad.

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  4. Thanks so much for commenting and sharing your experience. It's really important that people report anything they think may be child abuse to the proper authorities. However I agree, it's awful that this mother has unfortunately been subject to viral judgement instead of compassion.

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  5. Why do we feel it's ok to judge others' parenting - whether we know the facts or not?! I felt for this lady, having been in her shoes several times/ Thanks for sharing with #TheMMLinky

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  6. Such a real and raw post. Love it. Found you via #blogcrush

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  7. I so wish this angle had been the pervading response to this incident. It's so sad that it was largely judgement and condemnation. Judgement should be reserved for central and local government for providing inadequate support.

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  8. I could have very easily been this woman.. so much so we actually resorted to getting L a wheelchair in order to lessen the meltdowns out and about as he's just getting too big now. Ridiculous how judgemental people get over a very, very short video clip though.

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  9. It is easy to judge but harder to put oneself in someone's shoes and try and understand what their story is. Surely it would have been better for the child to offer support to the mother rather than film and shame her on social media. Parenting is hard especially so if your child is having an autistic meltdown in public! #spectrumsunday

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  10. The children must know the world through all kinds of things. This includes not only mobile and developing games, but also the viewing of relevant programs.

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  11. Such a lovely post, I'm sure many of us have struggled at times and it would be horrendous to have this judged by the social media jury :( #specrumsunday

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I read all your comments and appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me and our readers. I welcome any feedback on my posts and you can always contact me directly. Thank you.

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