People’s Responses to the Initial Autism News

As a parent with an autistic child, do you ever find yourself conflicted with how you should feel after you just told someone for the first time about your child?  I am much stronger now than I used to be obviously.  I’m not as easily hurt or emotional when talking about Andrews autism.  But I find different peoples different reactions and responses interesting.  I don’t blame other people who are not in my shoes in any way. I suppose I’m just writing this entry because I after 10 years of this journey I still get mixed feelings.  Some people respond with “Oh I’m sorry to hear that.”  My usual thinking is “Oh but wait his autism isn’t that tragic?  Why are you apologizing?”  However I get it because most people see it as a devastating thing and they’re just offering their sincere apology.  Or most I guess don’t know exactly how to react.  Others response will be a straight face no emotions followed by an “Oh” or “Okay” with a pause obviously waiting for me to continue telling them more.  I also often find myself thinking inside why aren’t you phased by what I just said? Or do you know what autism is or the level of autism and what it does to your life?  But then again I get it too.  I understand that some people realize autism isn’t a tragedy so they’re not going to apologize nor show any sympathy.  So why do I find myself in these situations wanting them to show me some sympathy.  When in fact I know that when a person does apologize I honestly wish they weren’t so sad to apologize about Andrew’s autism.  I honestly don’t know which response I like or feel most comfortable with but as I’m writing this I’m thinking maybe the most comforting ones are the people who respond by asking “what is autism exactly?”  I think their honesty somehow comforts me in a way where I know they are genuinely have no knowledge and showing interest.  Or maybe because this rarely happens where somebody does ask what autism is.  Either way I would think after 10 years I would be a little bit unfazed by a people’s reaction but I guess I’m not.

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