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Autism Is Not Contagious

Autism Is Not Contagious

Picture this: Angel and I are standing on the train platform. It is cold. Too cold for November. Angel is munching on Doritos as we wait for the next train. All of a sudden, he turns around and looks at one of the ads on the platform wall. “BLUE!” he yells. The lady sitting next to him jumps. She is startled. I understand. What she does next, I do not understand.  She gets up and walks away. I mean, she walks as far away from us as her feet could carry her. All the way to the end of the train platform. My heart sinks. I am bothered. Does she just have a low tolerance for noise? We are on a New York City subway platform for god sake.

Maybe I was being overly sensitive but I am always on high alert when traveling with Angel. This is not the first time he has blurted out a letter or number or color that he noticed on a sign or an ad. This is not the first time that someone has changed their seat on the train because of something Angel did. This is not the first time someone has demonstrated that they would rather stand for a 45-minute train ride then sit next to my son.

Angel has autism but autism is not contagious. You will not catch autism it if you sit next to him. You will not catch autism if he yells out the letter “A” next to you on the train. You will not catch autism…. Wow… I should not even have to say this.

 

I wonder what will happen when Angel is 15 or 20 or 25. What happens when teenage or adult Angel does not demonstrate social behavior that fits into societal norms? I won’t always be there to give the side eye or the glare. Is this how people will treat my child because he is different? People fear what they do not know. People fear what they do not understand.
I have no more words.

Miz Kp
Written by Miz Kp

9 Comment responses

  1. Avatar
    November 14, 2013

    You don’t know how much I can relate! Dan is also loud, but with noises, no words, he also usually has a blanket or rope he chews on the train, so he looks different from the get go. I get the comments, the walking away, the side glances. I need to armour up when I go out with him and decide from the time I step out the house what my response will be cuz I could either cry or go off on someone if I don’t decide beforehand! Great post!

    Reply

    • Avatar
      November 14, 2013

      I like your idea about deciding before hand. I really need to try that because people will really get under our skin. Especially here in NYC. Thanks so much for sharing here.

      Reply

  2. Avatar
    November 14, 2013

    Brittany is silent, yet we’ve had similar incidents with people moving away. I believe it’s when it’s apparent that they’re “different,” certain people feel they don’t want to share the same space with them, they seem disgusted or scared. I chalk it up to sheer ignorance & intolerance of those that are “imperfect.”

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    • Avatar
      November 14, 2013

      Yep. Ignorance and intolerance sums it up. It leaves me feeling bad. Angel is only six, so I know we have a long way to go.

      Reply

  3. Avatar
    November 14, 2013

    Hummmm can’t fully relate to the situation but i fully relate to the feeling of being worried how people may not understand Autism and may shun our sons and daughters. For now my little one seems to be more a bit too friendly than i would want him to. Peoples reactions to a two year old touch and screamming is pretty much that of warmth and cuteness or he is just baby. But as he gets olders i know peoples reaction wont be the same. It worries me alot how friendly he has become, still nonberval but very in yourface. Must a come to grip that i must announce to the reom or wherever we are that he has ASD and go ahead and lecture everyone about it? I feel all people lf all ages need to become educated on Autism. I get so many “he looks so normal” and yes now he does for a two year old but what would happen later when his behavior becomes a bit off according to society? Iam scare, am scare for how my boy will possibly be view as “different”.

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    • Avatar
      November 14, 2013

      The younger our kids are the more tolerant some people can be. Because yes they think it is cute. I also worry about what happens when it is not cute anymore? I can relate to the “too friendly.” That one is for another blog post. Angel has tried to kiss strangers on the train. I appreciate you sharing. I can relate to your fears because I have them, too.

      Reply

  4. Avatar
    November 14, 2013

    I had someone threaten Dono at the Beach that he was going to call the cops, because my Dono touched him and wouldn’t move away. Mind you my son is only 7. My daughter who is 8 tried to explain, but I made sure I was very clear with this Man. All we can do is continue what we are doing. Educate and spread awareness. Hopefully we will soon have a wave of acceptance! XoxoX

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    • Avatar
      November 14, 2013

      People can be very mean and intolerant. I agree that we need to continue what we are doing. I pray that we get that wave of acceptance very soon.

      Reply

  5. Avatar
    November 14, 2013

    I dont give a crap what anyone thinks if they have to hear a sound my son abruptly makes. The sounds were coming from a child, for heaven’s sake. If that person wants to walk away, then its less germs for me to breathe and I ll tell ‘em. As long as my son is not harmed, Im ok. But dont think that if I suspect that someone is being disrespectful by their reaction to Angel, I will cuss them out in public and make the other people on the train not want to sit next to them! My take is this: if you want total silence, buy headphones, a car, and get a damn drivers license. Otherwise, sit down and ride the damn train and dont say (bad word)!

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