Monday, May 21, 2007

Major, MAJOR rant ahead about unwarrented "advice"

Well, I have a major rant to post... And, luckily for anyone reading this today, I have had about 24 hours to calm down about it - so, the language should be a little less, well, colorful today.

Hubby and I are trying to improve the outside of our house by doing different gardening projects each weekend (yes, yes, I am still going to post about Mommy's Garden...eventually...). so, of course, projects like this require multiple trips to gardening centers, home improvement stores, etc., etc. Yesterday morning, our "mission" was to get additional mulch for the garden, look at new sheds and buy railroad-tie-like pieces of wood to designate the flower beds that we are planting in the front and side of our house. Easy trip, no? Well, yes...

...Until you run into someone you don't even know who has "advice" to offer....on something COMPLETELY unrelated to gardening!

When we arrived at Lowe's, we managed to find one of those nifty race-car carts - Chris loved it the second he saw it (usually the are all taken - we stalked a family who was leaving for it), grabbing the play steering wheel before we could get his feet inside the cart. Once we got him buckeled in, I put his travel bag next to him (the cart is designed for two kids), gave him his drink and told Hubby to head into the store - I would follow as soon as I looked at the flowers outside the store (I was looking for additional Aster's). I looked around a bit, didn't see the Aster's, then decided to go inside to find the boys...

As I entered the garden center, this older woman stops me and asks, "Was that your son with your husband in the cart?"

Uh, well, could have been mine I suppose... There were A LOT of families in the garden center at eleven o'clock in the morning!

So, I resonded with "I suppose, although there are a lot of husbands with kids in the store right now. Why?"

"Oh, sure, well, is your son autistic?" she asked.

My jaw literally hit the floor. I was looking around quickly for a stong shovel to pick it up!

What the HELL kind of question is that to ask someone when 1) she isn't sure the child she is talking about is even mine and 2) she doesn't know us!

I asked her, "So, why exactly do you think he has autism?"

She responded, "Well, my neice's son is autistic. Your son was doing a behavior that her son displays."

Now, I know what behavior she is talking about - that is the hand flapping he does when he gets excited. But, hand flapping is a SECONDARY sign, not a primary. I have read several resources for signs (not to mention, I did study childhood psych in college...): His verbal HAS NOT regressed (he is improving constantly, although is still a little behind for his age), he is MORE THAN affectionate, he looks you right in the eye when spoken to or addressed, he follows commands easily...the list can go on. So freakin' what if he hand flaps when he gets excited! There is a HELL of a lot to see in a garden store, moron!

And, since starting nursery school, that behavior is getting less and less prominent...

So, still trying to shake the shock a bit, I asker her, "Uh, just how old do you think my son is?"

She responded, "Oh, four or five?"

"Try, he just turned three just two weeks ago."

"Oh, well."

"And," I replied, "my son is not autistic."

"Oh, sorry. I just wanted to try to give you some advice," she responded.

I walked away after that and went into the store to find my well-behaved, happy to see me son. If I had not, I probably really would have laid into her in the middle of the store.

What the HELL was this woman thinking? Does she go up to children in wheel chairs and ask their parents "was this from birth or a car accident?" Who is she to give advice based on her neice's son being autistic? I don't need her - a complete stranger - to give me advice on autism when I know people who's children are. If I had questions, I would turn to them and our doctors, not a stranger.

Who in the hell does she think she is???

I can't imagine what other families go through when their child is in fact autistic, or have other disabilities. People are so freakin the "name" of "intelligence."

Now, I am waiting for an eval to be done - for speech - in August (that is a whole other rant...). This is a full neurological eval since that is what my ped wants first. If, and I say IF, the do find he is on the spectrum, then we will address it. But, I highly doubt he is - he just needs a push with his speech.

But, it is NOT this woman's business if he IS!

On a humorous note, a friend of ours stopped over at our house later on in the day (well after this incident) and he said it was too bad I didn't think fast enough on my feet. I asked him why, and he said I should have said to her:

"No, my son isn't autistic. But, I have Tourette's - FUCK YOU!"

Too bad I didn't think of that.


The Town Criers said...

It's sort of unbelievable how intrusive people can be--how bizarrely intrusive and thoughtless. Sorry that you had to go through that conversation.

serenity said...


I would have gone apesh*t on that woman and told her to stick her advice where the sun don't shine.

And then I would have filled out one of those evaluation things.

WOW. I canNOT believe she did that.

Adrienne said...

Wow. Just...Wow. I'm always amazed by what people think is "helpful." How the f*ck was that helpful? You are a saint, Tina. A saint. I would have punched her in the face. (You can take the girl outta Philly, but you can't take Philly outta the girl...)

Karianne said...

OK, I'm cracking up! I know that it isn't funny, but you wrote it so humorously!

Alexis said...

I admire your strength cause I would have hauled off and beat the piss outta her.

Your a better woman than me.

Rachel said...

People can be incredibly insensitive. I can't imagine going out of my way to give someone advice based on someone else's expereince. Just so you know, Einstein didn't talk until he was 3.

Anna said...

Thick, thick, thick. I'm sorry you had to experience that. Just makes my head explode... Nice job making it so funny! You gotta laugh at this stuff, or you wind up berating these people. Not that she didn't need it. ;)

Amy said...

Tina, you should have said to her: "Are you a neurologist?? No, then your opinion means nothing to me". Plan and simple. You can not say that a child is autistic just by "looking" at him/her. Urgh.....girl, you are so strong! I would have went off on her there!! But that's just me.....

Jessica said...

Well... I want to say that I'm completely shocked... But I'm not and that's the worst part about it. I've been witness to some of the most ignorant and insensitive people of our society. And I do know that sometimes when you are approached like that, you are so shocked with disbelief and disgust that you can't even begin to say all the things that you are now thinking of or had wished you did/could say.
On that note, I'd like to add her to the large group of asshole strangers that I have to one day go back and slap.
Not only is it rude to you and your child, it is rude to people who DO have autism. I feel bad for her neice and her neice's son, I sure as hell wouldn't want her in my life!
Lots of :hugs: to you!

dawn said...

OMG I can't believe that woman said that to you. That is absolutely stupid. Sorry people like that really piss me off. Hugs to you and your son.

Val said...

I love the comment you wrote at the end. You should have said it. Or told her, well my son is NOT autistic, but you are obviously rude and insensitve and I have some advice FOR YOU - F*** OFF.

Seriously we run into this all the time when out with my brother-in-law. Yes he is autistic. No he is not retarded. And yes, I will get offended when you use that word. It's rude.