Open Letter

Dear everyone that crosses my family’s path in public,

Yes, my son is 5’6, 190lbs and likes talking like a baby voice while making hand puppet gestures.

Yes, he might ask you random questions like “do you like stinky cheese?” or whatever comes to his mind, because he has no idea how to properly interact with people.

No, he doesn’t notice when you stand off to the side and whisper to each other about him.

But, yes, he does notice when you ignore him. When you are standing within earshot of him and he says “excuse me mister! Excuse me!” and he looks at me to come to the rescue, as I usually do when he wants to interact with strangers (as he so often does), how do I explain that you do in fact hear him and see him but choose to avert your eyes?

He doesn’t understand what it is about him that makes you uncomfortable.

He doesn’t mind that you make fun of him. As long as he sees you laughing, he does too.

As a mom who’s been struggling with managing his intense rage that has been taking over our lives, I hang onto every smile, every laugh. That’s all he wanted from you. That’s all I wanted as well.

You could have smiled and walked away afterwards, whispering whatever you wanted under your breath. But you could have given us a smile. A nod. A look in the eye.

He is autistic, not invisible.

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