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Please Excuse My Son

IMG_6537Hey you, ya you.  I see you staring.  I know what you’re thinking and I just have to kindly ask if you’ll please excuse my son.

Please excuse my son, he’s hand flapping, he’s really excited about what’s happening.  It’s like when you jump up and down and yell all the things you’re excited about.  I’m sorry but he cannot speak so he flaps his hands to tell us he’s happy.

Please excuse my son.  He’s screaming loudly.  Like when your children are all talking to you at once and you just want to scream “SHUT THE HELL UP” and you do it in a nice way.  Well he hears everything.  The sound of your grocery cart’s squeaky wheel.  The whirr of the fans over head.  The beeping of the tills.  It’s all so loud to him and he just wants all of it to shut the hell up.  So he screams so he can only hear himself, to drown out that noise, he’s being as nice as he can be.  Please excuse him.

Please excuse my son.  Yes he didn’t say hi back to you.  Yes he’s focused with his car upside down and he’s spinning the wheels.  That makes him feel good, like a glass of cold beer on a hot day.  I’m sure you get the way that can make a person relax and enjoy their day.

Please excuse my son.  He won’t look you in the eye.  You see it’s painful to him.  He can’t focus on what you say then.  Kind of like when you’re distracted about something that’s bothering you and you don’t hear what your loved one says.  Just like you, he’s had better days so I hope you’ll excuse him.  I’m sure you can relate.

Please excuse my son.  His hands are over his ears.  It’s too loud for him in here.  I know you can’t hear it but he has superman ears.  But just because you can’t hear it…well you’re not as super as he is.

Please excuse my son.  Yes he’s rocking and humming.  Yes it’s kind of loud and distracting.  Yes I know you’re not used to it but you need to get over that.  When was the last time you snapped?  When you went to that really dark place no one else knows about?  When life got too overwhelming and you sat there and rocked to soothe yourself?  Try living being tipped over the edge every day.  So maybe you could excuse him and stop staring.  You’re making it worse.

Sorry, excuse my son.  He pushed your kid.  I know it looks bad.  Just realize he can’t help himself.

Please excuse my son.  He’s not wearing the shirt you bought him for his birthday and he never will.  Don’t take offense.  He said the swoosh of the fabric on his T-shirt make his teeth hurt.  He said he couldn’t stand it.  Like how you felt when you were in grade 4 and the teacher left the room and some kid went to the chalk board and ran his nails down it.

Please excuse my son.  He’s not engaging.  He’s not participating in this nice party you’ve thrown.  You see the balloons popping and the children shouting and the dollar store whistles blowing are making IMG_9064him crazy.  He’s left the party, in the back room where it’s quiet.  He had a great time but he needs time to chill out.  He loved that the cake was brown and that he got a wind catcher that spun and the games were fun.  He enjoyed being near his friends but he just can’t hear his friends for two hours without a break.  Like a hot bath after a busy day.

Please excuse my son.  He’s squinting.  It looks weird to you because we’re inside.  His brain makes it that he’s taking in more light, it’s really too bright.  It’s too much, like looking into the sun.

Please excuse my son.  He just hit me, he’s lost his temper in the middle of the aisle.  Yes I’m bleeding.  Yes I didn’t react to him the way you thought I should.  No I don’t need your advice.  Yes you thought I was rude when I left my grocery cart full of food in the aisle and walked out the door carrying my child.  Please excuse us.  Please just ignore us.  It’s not his fault he acts this way and nothing you can say will fix that he has autism.  When was the last time you threw a hissy fit and acted like a child?  In the privacy of your own home?  Well just like you “couldn’t help it” then, he can’t help it now.  So please just excuse us.  On to the meat aisle.  You see this is the 10th melt down I’ve dealt with today and I’m doing my best.  Have some grace.  Walk away.  You don’t know I spend $600 on one night a month to talk to professionals so I can be the mom he needs me to be.  You don’t see how hard I’m trying.  He had me awake from midnight till four and I felt like I was dying.

Please excuse my son, he’s talking your ear off.  I know you’re not very interested in hearing about all the characters that ever were in Super Mario Brothers but he loves talking about it.  He’s found a connection with you and he wants to share himself with you so please stop just thinking about YOU and let someone in who will teach you something new.  I know you think it’s boring but he thinks what you have to say is boring too.  Yes his voice is loud but look, he’s talking.  He’s interacting.  His mother’s heart is beaming with pride.  Please just listen, please engage.  Just hide those annoyed feelings inside because he feels it.

Please excuse my son.  He screams when you touch him, you see that it hurts him.  He can’t stand the feel of your fingers or the intensity of a hug.  It’s to much, it’s WAY too much and he has got to get away but he doesn’t know how to say that it bothers him.  So he’s screaming at you.

Ann CoulterPlease excuse my son.  He’s not conforming.  He’s not warming up to your social norms and acting like the swarms of popular kids in their Abercrombie shirts.  He doesn’t seem like all the things you think mean that he’s “normal”.  You just laugh instead of trying to understand that he just doesn’t give a single fuck.  About the social norms and about what’s cool what the kids are all wearing in school.  He’s wearing his space T-shirt because that’s what makes him happy.  It’s hard to understand that “cool” is just something someone made up to sell some clothes and shoes.  My son is blessed to live without the desire to make himself feel higher than other people through materialistic things.  That’s a gift.

Please excuse my kid.  I know he hits.  I know your evalutations and your calculations say that he will amount to nothing but I’m calling bullshit.

Son please excuse these people.  Please excuse society.  Please excuse their stares and their glares and their comments.  Please excuse their ignorance.  Please excuse their judgements.  They don’t know.  They have no idea.  They don’t know how to see sunlight through rain clouds like we do.  They don’t know how to see beauty that’s different from their pipe dreams and the covers of their magazines and their ideas of perfection and normal and cool.  They can’t see beyond their judgements and their close minded in-a-box thinking.  It’s not their fault.  They were born that way, nurtured that way, chose their own way, educated that way.  Please give them grace, please show them they’re not judged.  They need it as much as we do.  Because we were born this way, educated OUR way, chose our own way.

So forgive them son, they know not what they do.

26 Responses to Please Excuse My Son

  1. I don’t know if this sounds right, but all I can think to say is that you’re an autism hero, Leah. <3

  2. So lovely Leah!

  3. Beautiful Leah <3

  4. Thank you Leah for patiently teaching me/us about Silas and the autisim he lives with…..he has learned so much……taught me and I just love that boy. May I say too how proud I am of you and Brent and the way you are parenting Silas and Isaac too.

  5. You have expressed what each of us, as parents of Autistic children, feel every single day. You have reached out and touched the very hearts and souls of those who don’t live with this and don’t truly know. The last part really hit me hard. I cried quite a bit over this. Thank you for saying it like it is. Between my book, Cameron’s Journey, and each of our blog posts, we may just change the world for our children.
    Maxine L. Owen recently posted..Establishing TrustMy Profile

  6. Wonderful post. I only wish that the line “please excuse my son” read differently. I am an adult with autism. It is much better when someone accepts me rather than excuses me. It makes me “part of” rather than “different.” I work very hard in my day to day life, hoping the world will become a better place so autistics following behind will have an easier time in the world as they grow up. Thanks for putting some understanding about autism out there in our world. Happy Mother’s Day to you!

  7. Aside from the meltdowns and refusals and all the extra hours of coaching that our kids need… the different perspective autism can bring is pretty amazing!

  8. Hi Leah,
    Found your post linked from the Hearts & Minds FB page. I tend to have a quick browse through their page whilst cooking dinner, filling time between checking veg & prodding joints.
    Well, after reading the first paragraph of your post, I sat down to give the rest my full attention.
    Thank you so much for so eloquently summarising so many of my days.
    I thought that I’d successfully blocked out the stares, grumbles, & harrumphs by focussing solely on my wonderful little boy. But the tears running down my face whilst reading your post speak a different story.
    It doesn’t bother me that people pre-judge without thinking – without some experience they have no reference with which to think differently.
    What bothers me is that by jumping to conclusions, they are missing all the wonderful, inspiring, heart-wrenchingly gorgeous things that our unique kids do every day.
    So, thanks once more for speaking up on their behalf. I look forward to reading more of your posts.
    Now, is that burnt beef I can smell…

  9. This is perfect. Thank you

  10. That was so eye opening..and eye wetting. I’m sitting here crying like a baby

  11. Lovely post. Totally got your sarcasm 🙂 I truly do believe that so much of what children, who are not “typical”, butt up against is others’ criticism and lack of awareness. It will get better! From my experience it comes from the parents; children are usually empathetic and kind. It’s beautiful to watch.

    • Children are the best! They’ve been SO accepting of Silas’ differences. Also I see it with other kids in the school too. Children embracing (like actually hugging…often) the little girl with Down Syndrome. Kids talking to the older boy in the school with non verbal autism. It’s amazing. If any kid isn’t embracing it I’m guessing their judgement is coming from their parents.

  12. Very good post. I’ve had the privilege of working with a wide range of athletes dealing with very different special needs. The all star cheerleading world has done a tremendous job in developing opportunities for teams.

  13. This was a fantastic post. Made me very emotional. Wonderful.

  14. This made me all weepy. I related to so much of this post. You are a kick ass mom loving your child for the amazing child he is. Good on you, mama. Your little guy sounds awesome.
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