Today during work, a co-worker stopped by my office. She hadn’t stopped by in a while. She was looking around my office and asked if I had new pictures of the monkey.
She then said the dreaded statement: “He must be talking a lot now.”
So here is where I get stuck. What should I say?
If I say no he doesn’t talk, I have to explain my son’s diagnoses. If I say yes and stick with this lie, the conversation will keep moving, probably to the weather.
The thing is I don’t mind explaining my son’s diagnosis. I actually love to talk about my son. I feel my job is to promote awareness and hopefully, create world of acceptance for him.
However, I know not everyone wants to learn about autism. I know not everyone is comfortable when it comes to autism.
So I always fight with myself when I’m in this situation. Should I say something? Or should I dismiss it and move on?
I am in these kinds of situations all the time. “He must be so excited for Christmas!” or “He most love to play with cars!”
I don’t want to make people uncomfortable. But in the end depending on the situation, I have to make a choice.
Today, I chose to be honest. I chose to let her know my son doesn’t talk. My son doesn’t play with cars but he prefers puzzles. My son doesn’t understand Christmas. My son has autism.
These are the phases: 1) First they are shocked. Obviously the were not expecting this answer. 2) Then they regain their composure. 3) They try to make me feel better. He will be fine. You will see. And sometimes, I hear the (4) I know someone who knows someone who has autism.
But in all of my short 2 year experience, I receive a lot of support. I am glad I didn’t lie today. I am glad I spoke about my son and spread awareness. She kept saying artistic instead of autistic. She was very sweet.
I also know that the time will come when the opposite will happen. When ‘they’ won’t want to know. I read so many other bloggers’ stories about their terrible experiences. About people’s lack of empathy and understanding.
Until then, please know, that if I do open up to you, it’s me putting my heart out there.
All of my fears are in one sentence,
“My son has autism.”
Please be kind.