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Comments, Questions and Autism

My son Max will be turning nine in July.  As he gets older I am getting a lot more comments and questions about him.

I can handle most honest questions fairly well.  The comments and the rude questions drive me up the wall.

Last year, when we went to the  Minnesota Renaissance Festival, Max spent a good part of the day riding in a stroller, and boy were there a lot of comments.  “He should be walking!” “Aren’t you too big boy a boy to behaving that way?”  “Don’t you think he’s too big for that stroller?”  “What’s wrong with him anyway?”

The thing is,  even if it sounds like a question, you can tell they aren’t really asking.  They are letting me know they don’t approve of how I am handling my child.

The first few times I smiled and explained. I told them how Max has autism.  How he has low  muscle tone and tires easily.  How he needs his space.  That he isn’t being rude.  He simply doesn’t speak much.

I rocked those teachable moments.

But by the end of the I was getting  tired and annoyed and I didn’t hide it well.  “Autism,” I answered curtly.  “He has autism,” and I walked on. Leaving them embarrassed, confused and annoyed behind me.

Don’t get me wrong, there were positive encounters that day, but the rude looks and the intrusive questions somehow linger the longest.

Summer is rolling around again, and that means day trips.  Zoos and festivals.  Long walks and crowds.  Stroller season.

So my questions is, how do you handle comments and question? Especially when you feel the person is being judgmental or downright rude?  How do you manage to stay patient?


Jenny is a single mom to two boys, one with autism and one neurotypical living smack dab in the middle of Minnesota. She blogs at and is on Twitter as @jitteryplanet 


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