Why is that people find it so easy to judge. Speaking only for myself (but I know many of you have experienced this also) I have had so many people judge us without even knowing us or what we go through.
We have run into this so many times where people judge us because of Gavin. It’s always one of two ways. They either think we are cruel and abusive or they think we need to just discipline him more. This really used to bother me because I didn’t like the idea that people thought those things about us as parents.
As we face this more and more I’ve realized that it’s simply ignorance on their parts. When you break it down to a fundamental level it’s ignorance and denial. I can understand how all the strict rules and ridged structure could look to someone who doesn’t believe or refuses to accept that Gavin is autistic. I can even see why they would think it’s abusive. On the other hand, I can also understand how someone truly ignorant to the reality of Gavin’s challenges might think he just needs some firm discipline.
Children like Gavin MUST have a VERY strict routine everyday. They need everything to be as consistent and predictable as humanly possible. It’s common knowledge that this is the case. When you remove them from this type of environment they panic and lash out. Anyone with a basic knowledge of autism knows that. If you didn’t, well consider yourself educated. Everything for them is black and white with no grey areas. The structure, though strict, is comforting for them. They feel better when there are firm boundaries in place. It doesn’t mean the boundaries won’t be tested but allows them to feel safe in their environment. It’s necessary to insure their health and safety as well as the health and safety of those around.
Parents of these special needs children need love and compassion not judgment and ridicule just like the children themselves. I will say that I my personal experience that very few people have ever had the COURAGE to say these things to my face. It leaves me to wonder who really has the problem. In my opinion, raising a special needs child like Gavin is nothing short of constant sacrifice and challenge. It’s is exhausting in an indescribable way.
Living in denial about a child’s condition doesn’t help them. In fact it has the opposite impact on them as well as their family. They need help and understanding. They need an environment that is safe for everyone. By not accepting the fact that a child has special needs you are refusing to embrace them for who they are. You also miss out on the joy that does sometimes come along with the pain and heartache.
I have found through this blog many families that are quite similar to ours. Even though things are never easy for me or my family, I find myself truly inspired by them. They are all courageous and selfless. The biggest thing they all have in common is they all love and care for their special needs child/children with a selflessness that only a special needs parent can have. Thank you for being a source of inspiration and support for my wife and I.