The Look


I’m not sure about you, but I’ve dealt with the stare numerous times since autism entered my world. You know the look you get from someone when they think your child is just acting out and that you, the parent, are not disciplining him correctly. Sometimes it is just a look. At other times, it can be the shaking of the head or the pointing finger.

It doesn’t matter how many times I get the look, it still hurts. I don’t let it ruin my day. I don’t let the look get me down. It just simply hurts. I hurt for my children. They simply can’t help it. I’m sure if they could change the way they behave they would love too.  They have just as much right in this world to try to go out in public as the kid next door does. Just because we have challenges that do not allow us to be quiet and still doesn’t mean we have to get the look or even worse, receive comments.

One of the first things that I was told after my oldest son diagnosis was to prepare myself for a rocky road with lots of people who don’t understand. Wow, where they ever right!

Honestly, I don’t blame the people who stare, look, or comment on my children.  They just simply are not educated on the often hidden disability of autism. Before my sons were born, and before I went to college for special education, I knew very little about autism. It had never entered my world before. Sure, I knew a few people with autism but that was about it. I didn’t know and understand the challenges that they went through behind closed doors.

So, for the people who do not live with autism; please don’t be so quick to give that look to a parent when you see a child misbehave in public. Don’t be so quick to say something that is judgmental to the parent. Not all disabilities have physical traits. Some disabilities, like autism, are hidden. You would have no idea and probably could never fathom in a million years what that parent and/or parents go through daily.

To the parents of kids with autism, let’s not be so hard on the people who judge us. I know all too well how difficult that is to do but let’s try to do it. They simply just need education on autism. Who is going to advocate and educate them if the parents and loved ones don’t? Let’s try to do our part and educate the world on our children. I know we expected the world to educate our kids but like we know all too well, life doesn’t always go the way we planned.

Every time I get the look from someone, every time I get a comment thrown my way, I don’t let it get me down. Instead, it is a huge motivator for me to raise awareness for my children’s sake.

We can help change how the world views our children.

We can make a difference.

Angela Conrad

Angela Conrad is a freelance writer, mom to two boys on the autism spectrum, determined autism advocate, and fun-loving person. When she is not doing her advocacy work, she can be found managing her son’s therapy schedules and all the other crazy things that life brings. She enjoys reading, exercising and helping others.

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