Monday, July 13, 2015

Jumping to conclusions

"I can tell he's very high functioning."

Oh really? Just by seeing my child for all of two minutes jumping at an indoor trampoline park you are able to fully assess his cognitive ability and executive function skill set.  Gee, why was I on that long ass waiting list so my Kiddo could see that child neurologist?  I could have just brought him to Sky Zone and have an employee take a look at him when we were first on our autism journey.  Would my insurance consider that "out of network" I wonder.

And when I start to explain to the employee just how subjective that is and how it's really not cool to just announce to a parent what YOU think where their child is at, I can see he's very confused.

"Well my wife works at the "Such and Such" private special needs school and she told me about these kids with autism and..."

That's great you talked to your wife but here's the thing dude. My husband is a lawyer.  I talk to him about his job and ask questions all the time about legal stuff.  I don't think that has given me enough knowledge to pass the Bar Exam.  (Although I have never been known to pass a bar. HEE HOO!)

Please tell me, what is it suppose to look like?  Or not look like?  Would you ever think of going up to anyone else and say "Gee, your kid looks really low functioning."  No, I'm thinking something might just stop you from doing that.  No matter what you thought in your head.  You might have enough of a social filter to NOT make that assumption.

Now take that feeling and run with it.  Go with it my dear.  Your preconceived notion of what autism is suppose to look like and it's functioning levels has got to go.

My Kiddo can read but he can't physically hold a pencil with enough of a grip to write his name.  He can however type like a madman.  He can open up the computer and pull up his ongoing Word document and get cracking.  He can't however tie his shoes.  He can change the ring tones on my phone.  He can't dial a phone and talk on it without being prompted the whole time by an adult.  He can listen to his music therapist play a note on the guitar and then walk over and find that note on the piano.  He still needs help wiping his own ass. Hell, he still needs reminding to do it in the first place.

I guess this really got under my skin today. I'll be the first to admit to it.  But for the love of my sanity, please stop thinking you or anyone else knows what autism and it's functioning levels looks like.  You don't. I don't either.  Yeah, can my "A" dar spot one?  Sure. I tend to be able to find my tribe and you all do the Team Quirky flappy gang sign back.  But functioning level?  Come on! That's just rude.

Oh, your utter shock that I would also want my boy on the one big court that was open to the general masses was ridiculous.  While I appreciate a special court just for Team Quirky, not all the members need or want it.  I know what my boy could handle.  That main court wasn't crowded and HELLO, all this work we have been doing is so he can try to do things like ANY OTHER KID.  We've been coming here to the special needs jump time for a few months now.  Just let him try!  That's all I ask.

Jumping to conclusions. Well, we were at a trampoline park.  Guess it's to be expected. ;-)


  1. I could have written this almost exactly . . . I hate functioning labels so much. They overestimate the abilities of those deemed *high functioning* and underestimate the abilities of those considered *low functioning*

  2. When I see a child in public who I get the feeling they are autistic; I dont comment on their autism until their parents do. I treat them like any other child I would see. I talk about cartoons and usually I hit on one they like.

  3. Perhaps the staff member at this trampoline park was just saying that your son was "high functioning" because he saw his ability in a Trampoline Park and not in any other context.

    1. I agree..................I am sure this person at the trampoline park was impressed with your son's ability while bouncing around and that the comment of being HF was a heartfelt statement.

  4. Safest bet is to keep your mouth shut when you think you've spotted the A, but I'm still new enough to this to appreciate a kind word (even if it's inappropriate) to counteract all the silently disapproving (or almost worse--sad) head shakes and conspiratorial whispers from four feet away at the Target checkout. Maybe trampoline park guy just hasn't learned boundaries.
    I wasn't there for the tone or body language ques but his confusion probably had more to do with the fact that he got bit for doing something he thought was nice (paying a "compliment" as he saw it) rather than inability to grasp the concept that he wasn't fit to comment on it at all. I'm a lot more forgiving of the ignorant than I am of people who should know better--friends and family whom I've briefed. Just please be gentle when you're setting guys like Trampoline Park Guy straight. I'd hate for him too look at me and my little flapper like "Oh, great: more of THOSE people."

  5. "Kind Words" are NEVER inappropriate. Kind Words make the world a better place for ALL no matter how sad we are or what comes our way. I'll take compliments all day long. It helps me get through the day when I smile at my son

  6. Sometimes I am just so exhausted by these interactions. Loved the bar comment! :)

  7. Another commenter stated they don't comment on a child's autism until the parents do. I too try to embrace that mentality. Each person is traveling their own road & no one can assume to know another's journey or struggles. Love your words about jumping to conclusions, so very true!

  8. So well said as always! I hate when other parents comment on fm child's abilities. Especially other special needs parents. I have been made to feel like I should justify my sons diagnosis before. It's not fun.

  9. It's better than your own mother-in-law questioning why your son was not held back to repeat first grade and "when school gets too hard, will they just send him to a different school?" I thought he was doing pretty well, but said comments have sent me into a tailspin of doubts.

  10. "He still needs help wiping his own ass." I shouldn't have laughed but I did. Our son just turned seven and he still needs/wants help. In fact, in this house, we celebrate him going to the bathroom, unprompted, on his own. I asked him who wipes his butt at school. His response? "I don't poop at school." Figures.

    My son is not on the spectrum. While he has many autistic tendencies in social and speech areas, he was labeled with sensory processing disorder and speech disorder (thankfully he talks, but since he was speech delayed, has articulation issues, and never maintain eye contact, he's hard to understand). I have been asked before if he were autistic, and it did not bother me (and yes, I have set them straight on him not being on the spectrum). I always get asked in social places, usually the park, where my son's lack of social skills is most apparent (one time he was building castles out of the wood chips in the playground area while other kids ran around him; he cried when his castles got knocked over). In a way, it's refreshing to be asked straight up instead of people just staring at him and me like he's a freak (which is why we almost never go to birthday parties). :\

  11. I just found you, and already I'm in love! I'm sitting here laughing and nodding my head in agreement through the whole post (especially the part where he needs help wiping)--so much of this applies to me and my Cute One. Thank you! 😄