Broken Plates

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The other day, I was talking about judgment on Twitter and it became a discussion with numerous parents because it’s something that’s still a problem, even in 2019. Everyone shared their personal and often ongoing experiences with being judged by people and while there’s comfort in knowing that I’m not alone, it’s heartbreaking to see that so many parents are dealing with the same thing.

I’ve talked about this at nauseum over the years and rather than reinvent the wheel, think of this as a refresher course on why we shouldn’t judge Autism/Special Needs parents.


First of all, everytime I talk about this, someone inevitably chimes in that I put myself out there, so what do I expect. Let’s just head that off at the pass. Yes, I’m in a slightly different situation because I’m a public figure of sorts. I understand that by putting myself out there, I’m opening myself up to judgment, ridicule and a host of other unpleasantness. At the same time, just because I’m putting myself out there, doesn’t give anyone the right to cast judgment. While I have developed thicker skin over the years, it still sucks.


Unfortunately, this also happens to almost every single Autism/Special Needs parent at one point in time and often without provocation.

One of the things that’s really important to understand about human nature is that we are hardwired to judge. In some situations, I think judgment is crucial to our survival.

Where judgment can become a problem, however, is when we judge what we don’t understand, with limited information and very little, if any, first hand knowledge of the circumstances.

Autism parents frequently find themselves on the receiving end of judgment. Often times, people aren’t shy about pointing out what they think, even when they haven’t been asked. We hear things about our kids all the time. Among the most common situations is when we’re out in public and our child with Autism has a meltdown. People make comments about how we’re terrible parents or our child is a spoiled brat.

We hear things like that child needs a butt whooping or I’d never let my child act like that in public. My personal favorite is when I’m told by someone that I shouldn’t bring a child like that out in public. It’s honestly pretty awful at times.

Nevermind that neither bad parenting nor a spoiled child are at fault and in fact, the child in question is suffering.

I’ve had that happen in one form or another, countless times over the years and it sucks every single time.

Another common situation is when parents are judged based on how well we keep up with the house, yard, bills and anything else along those lines.

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Miranda50ishRob GorskiGuestnecroticgg Recent comment authors

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Your example of “juggling plates” is so very well put. My wife and I have done this for the past 33 years, once our son was diagnosed as being autistic. People who are not in this parallel world of existence, have no idea the immense stress, loss of sleep , financial problems that will beset the family, emotional pain and a whole list of other things that require an almost superhuman effort to stay afloat, both mentally and physically. It’s always easy to be the arm chair quarterback who sits back in their easy chair and easily judging the players… Read more »


My older brother has Aspergers(sp?) Ever since I found that out I became known to a better understa…


From @50ish: Amen. All three of mine were born in under three years, the oldest being the one with as-yet undiagnosed autism. We attend a tiny Catholic school where any kind of backtalk or disrespect is quickly quashed. I still remember standing the in the parking lot trying to leave the playground, a toddler on each hip, and my oldest screaming at me viciously and refusing to get in the car. I realize that those parents, some of whom are friends, didn’t understand any more than I did at the time. But it still stings. (And I still don’t understand… Read more »


It’s so hard. And those moments last forever in your mind. When I was telling my child I would leave him there and not let him get in the car if he carried on screaming, someone shouted at me that what I was doing was child abuse. I felt so bad. And it was a meltdown because I wouldn’t get him sweets out of a vending machine when leaving a swimming lesson. He had been screaming at me all the way to the car. He was 7 years old at the time. He’s 13 now. Still has meltdowns, but less… Read more »