We’ve all had the experience, especially those of us who’ve been in the autism trenches a while, of dealing with unsolicited comments and stares regarding our children’s behavior. It’s hard to believe that people could be this hateful with all the struggles we go through as a family, but It comes with the territory. Sometimes others’ reactions are minor enough to let them roll off our backs; other times they’re so caustic that we cry over it later. And it’s later that we always think about what we should have said to those people, or what we wish we had said, or thought to say. Sometimes the situation is so bad that you can’t come up with anything except “I’m sorry for the disturbance. My child has autism.” That’s what I’ve resorted to many times, feeling exhausted and defeated, ready to start screaming myself.
Well, no more! I’ve decided that unless my son’s behavior is harming someone or damaging property, I am not apologizing any more! Yeah, right. Easier said than done. But instead of leaving a situation wishing I had thought up a witty retort, I’m doing it now. Here, then, are the five best comeback lines for unsolicited comments, stares, or “advice.” This is just a start! Please, feel free to add to the list. I need all the help I can get!
5. “Got autism?” (I admit – I saw this on a T-shirt.)
4. “What? You’ve never seen autism before?”
3. “We didn’t have a social story for this.”
2. “This is Teen Autism coming to you live from ______ ! [insert name of location of incident]”
Okay, here it is . . . the Number 1 Comeback Line for Stares and Comments . . . wait for it . . .
1. “Too bad Michael Savage isn’t here. He’d know what to do!”
*UPDATE Oct.’08: You can also now substitute Denis Leary for Michael Savage! Even better!