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Autism – The Staring Strangers

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Just imagine a day when You go out to a nearby store to buy grocery and wherever you go, eyes follow you, you can feel those eyes on you, looking at you, almost as if waiting for you to make a mistake and prove them right,  talking in a hush-hush voice, but you know it’s all about you, some stares of pity, some of disgust.

you leave the store go to a restaurant to eat,  order something and look forward to enjoying a great meal,trying to shrug off that eerie feeling in the shop earlier but the restaurant is no different, people are eating and their conversation has shifted from whatever they were discussing to you, they are looking at you the way kids look at a new animal in a zoo, talk about you watch your every move as if this is the first time they have seen a human eating..

Rest of the day no matter where you go what you do eyes follow you,and so do whispers….

HOW WAS IT ?

This is a day in the life of most autistic kids and everyday of their lives they will have to live with these stares ..

and it wont change if you don’t,

you can’t change if your thinking doesn’t,

your thinking wont change if you do not educate yourself ..

Learn about people around you,learn how to live in a society where different people will live, some will be Autistic, some dyslexic, some both, mentally and/or  physically different from the “normal people”

Know that staring at some one makes them feel extremely uncomfortable, no matter what they say, it is rude..if you can’t care then don’t, but do not stare at people just cos they are different from you…

STARING IS NOT THERAPY,STARING DOES NOT HEAL OR CURE THEM. STARING IS NOT HELPING.

It is hard not to stare at things different but you have to know when to move on..for a parent trying to calm down their kid having a meltdown is not an easy task, they need all the space they can get at that moment, unsolicited advices from people who have no idea, telling them about disciplining kids is not going to help , in fact it will make the situation much worse fo the kid and the parents. Best help is to clear the area for a while and give them a breathing space and if you happen to be a special educator then you know what you have to do…

I am a mother of a lovely 13 year of girl with autism, she can pick up any tune on piano just by listening to it once, she is extremely computer savvy, she is a good singer and dancer and she is a very loving caring girl, she is all these and more and she is very sensitive… ….

she knows it when people are making fun of her, talking about her, laughing at her or staring  and all these things  upset her and when she is upset she never performs, never shows what she can do ..withdraws into a shell.

There are times when she gets irritated, like by the buzzing sound (bees or welding) or loud noise or a fight or when she is trying to communicate but no one around her is able to understand her and she cries and pushes anyone who tries to hug her…She is not being Rude, this is her asking for help, telling you something is bothering her a lot..

There are hundreds of kids like her , you may know one.

Next time you get to meet someone like my daughter in a small store, a restaurant or a shopping mall, different from ‘normal’ kids, let them be, you didn’t come all the way to this shop to stare at the kid, did you?

Different is not necessarily bad, sometimes we are scared of different just because we don’t know anything about it and when we get to know it we are surprised cos all of a sudden ‘the change,  the different’ is  not scary anymore. ..world is evolving and so are traits in humans..some for good and  some may not be great but they are what they are..some of the rarely found traits or conditions are now seen more…what was 1 in 200 a few years back is now around 1 in 88….

This is Today,This is Future with a lot of things way different from when you were a kid ..

This is Life today, there will be more changes,  more  different tomorrow…

A beautiful story By Autumn, a must read-

The Purple Gummy Bear

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About Soma Mukherjee

I often say things that put me in a jam, Jams go well with Buttered Toasts, Toasts are great hosts, Ghosts not so much, Although they can dance, Not all dancers are serial killers, Serial killers do not use Body bags that often, body bags aren't leak proof, Proof is in the Pudding.

88 responses »

  1. A good friend of mine has a young adult son with this challenge. He has been nurtured by parents who are wise and caring and because of this is making his own way in society in an acceptable manner. The group I move around with are accepting and its great to see how he blossoms in that kind of environment. As you pointed out autistic people have talents that would put us so called “regulars” to shame, and if we let them they can make their contribution in a unique way to the benefit of society. After reading this post you have gone even further up the scale in my estimation. It’s a privilege to know you.

    Reply
  2. This has put a positive impact on me, Soma! My mind is wandering all around you even though the distance might matters in between us. Salutes and respects to you, Madam. :)

    Rahul

    Reply
  3. a wonderful post very well putting the importance of the “understanding” of the facts into the correct areas of projection.

    this http://justspokenthoughts.wordpress.com/2012/07/24/untouched-conscience-a-poem-on-autism/ is as close as I can come to complimenting your effort.

    Happy blogging

    Reply
  4. Hugs, Soma to you and Bonita!
    I can’t say I know how it feels, but working with kids, some of them differently abled, in our school, I do know, and understand to a certain extent!
    Thank you for this, for this awareness that we MUST have of all those who seem different, but really aren’t beneath the facade of that “different ness” :)

    Reply
  5. Pingback: Post 600: Thoughts on Blogging, Education & Life « Dark Pines Photo

  6. Beautiful words Soma. I can relate to them somewhat because of a close friend whose son has Down’s Syndrome and suffers similarly. I do find however that people – quite a number I know anyway – are more aware these days and a lot less uncomfortable around differently abled children. Wishing you and your daughter many magical tomorrows, filled with much happiness :-)

    Reply
  7. Have a lovely evening and a most
    wonderful start to your Friday Soma :) ;)

    Geoff xxx

    Reply
  8. This is a wonderful post, Soma, and I know you are an awesome Mom because of sharing this, making us aware, too. Honestly, one of my pet peeves is people staring! It is one of the rudest things and one of these days I’m going to say something, but I never do, for fear of being rude! The irony! Anyway, Bonita is beautiful and she is very lucky to have you taking care of her and standing up for her! Sending much love your way, my friend…xoxo
    Lauren

    Reply
  9. Yes, Soma, come back! We miss you!

    Reply
  10. Come back soon Soma :)

    Andro xxx

    Reply
  11. I can relate this article as I know someone personally is having the same one. They need a lot of care and understanding.:)

    Yen-Yen

    Reply
  12. Happy New Year, Soma! May 2013 be a year of happiness and love for you :-)

    Subhan Zein

    Reply
  13. Great post. Your blog seems very popular, and I can see why.
    I got a blog on aspergers:

    http://aspiegirls.wordpress.com/2012/12/29/3-do-i-have-aspergers-syndrome/

    Trying to put my obsession with information into something useful, and spread that information.. Maybe I’ll put up a link to this blog:)

    Reply
  14. WordsFallFromMyEyes

    This is great, Soma. Truly wonderful to hear aired. I felt sad, but it felt strong. I commend you this.

    Reply
  15. Pingback: Pressies | The M3 Blog

  16. As a parent and teacher, I find it ironic that so much of society that considers itself normal, can be so socially disconnected . Having dealt with the melt downs and triumphs in the classroom, at home and in the wider world, I find the wider world wanting; it seems to be full of those with a very narrow view.

    Hoping the Holidays & the New Year brings you and your family, Peace, Health,and Strength to face the continued challenges and joys that Life brings you. All the Best. :)

    Reply
  17. Hey where
    are you Soma? :(

    I hope that you are
    okay my great friend :)

    Andro xxx

    Reply
  18. I love your pages and your form of self-expression, it is a pleasure to have you share your gifts through your pages Thank you. I have nominated you for blog of the Year please visit my page Blog of the year awards and nominations Thank you! Revised
    Posted on December 9, 2012

    Reply
  19. Great article Soma… Thank you for writing this…

    Reply
  20. A very nicely written post about one of those things I am pissed off about, Soma. I can truly relate to it because I am familiar with such a situation. I have a cousin who is autistic. Initially I used to discourage people from staring or doing funny things to him. At some point of time I even started making some understand about the kid’s condition by telling them that he is far more talented than all of us put together. Somehow, I believe awareness is something that people choose to accept or not. He knows quite a few languages and excels writing them… tech savvy and a very lovely boy… I stare people down when they stare at him and as you said, it doesn’t help… but you can’t play Clint Eastwood all the time and sometimes you gotta ignore them. I think we all need to do our best to make the world better for our kids…
    A really nice post and you can count on me for the hit squad! I am almost weaponized against the staring nincompoops.

    Reply
  21. Pingback: The Purple Gummy Bear | Autumn Sunshine

  22. I AM SOOOOOOOO happy to See You :) what time there – ??????? awake awake here ……….. Bonita and Soma ……….. This is Maasi Cat :) xx thank You for my new name :) xx I love it ……….Bonita – There is a Disney Movie that I looooove x :) and maybe you can watch it online :) ? it’s really special – and magical and beautifulllllllllllllllll – It’s one of my Faves :)
    “The Odd Life of Timothy Green ” ………….
    here is the trailer – hope you can view :)

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Soma – maybe later – more Cats with HAIR to make You smile :)
    in serious and silly – i am always always here —————– :)
    always xo
    C

    Reply
    • AND BONITA >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> MY FAVE SILLY CAT DANCING SONG :)
      i think i must of played it 200 times now :) lol !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      Hugs to You and Soma xxx

      Reply
      • I WILL SEE YOU SOON :)
        thank You for waking me UPPPPPPPPP :) lol
        i’m around allllllll weekend ——– making Christmas Gifts and stuff – so email :)
        xxx
        LOVE LOVE AND MORE ….Love xx :)

        Reply
  23. Back for a Friday Hug xo
    every day second minute huggs xo
    I love you Soma Star and Bonita x
    Hope You have a restful weekend
    and i am always here xo
    LOVE YOU X 100000000000000000000000000
    CXX

    Reply
  24. I taught Autistic children (usually mild) and you are so right. They hated when the others picked on them. I tried to let them be who they were and if they had a meltdown, we dealt quietly with it. Good kids, all of them.
    Scott

    Reply
  25. I hear you dear Soma, you are a lovely mom and your daughter loves you as much as you do… wishing you all the strength in the world to celebrate and cope every day of your life. Awareness is definitely an issue, continue to educate people. Lots of love and hugs to you dear :-)

    Reply
  26. The world is sleeping dear! deep, dull, dreamless sleep often. And so many things are done to maintain that state … and here we are ringing alarm clocks, singing lullabies, saying ‘wakie wakie!’ And nature and the elements and the little elves flying all around are all doing the same so they come back to life and to their senses. It will come, patience, patience …. And in the meantime, keep on singing and ringing the bells! Love to your dear daughter.

    Reply
    • Agree with you completely spreading awareness is the only way i know that, and though i may have come across a bit aggressive in this post, i am not when in such situation…was just venting out
      Thank you so much for the lovely reply :)

      Reply
  27. This is a great post and something everyone should be exposed to. It’s hard enough growing up, and anything that makes you different make things much more difficult. It’s nice that you have such a good relationship with your daughter and she at least has you and her family to support her. The funny thing is we’re all special and different and advanced and deficient in different ways, but for most of us those traits are more hidden.

    Reply
    • oh what a lovely thing you wrote…and so true we all are unique and different in our different in our own way accept others like you would like to be by them…
      and it is true all of us are born with some autistic traits ..
      Binky thank you so much you are a sweetheart :)

      Reply
  28. Great article and verse. I am aquainted with several autistic children and adults. My daughter is what the doctors say is slightly autistic. She struggled with noises all her life. Too much confusion and noise and she runs to her room; covers her ears and won’t listen. She has a tendancy to say inappropriate; even hurtful things from time to time and often doesn’t get the difference between the way she believes things should be and the way they are. As if she has reached the logical conclusion to a problem and doesn’t get why everyone else doesn’t see it; why the laws or rules don’t reflect the obvious truth.

    I met several other kids over my years at the Public Library; one of whom has Asbergers and has had a real struggle.

    I tend to approach and try to communicate with Autistic people. I seem to have a way of disarming their hesitation to interact. I don’t know what it is exactly; but it seems to me that all I do is speak to them as adults and not treat them as though they are handicapped. I express sincere interest in their thoughts and I don’t get offended when they say something “rude”.
    The more outragoeus it is the more i find the humor because I know they don’t mean to be mean. I find that when I laugh at something they have said; after I have been speaking to them for awhile; they aren’t usually offended and don’t believe I am laughing at them. These folks are amazingly perceptive; not in the ways we are; body language etc; but in feeling; when they are being spoken to and when they are being made fun of. They may not always understand what I am laughing at but they seem to know when it is and is not aimed at them.

    Although it takes some effort; and you have to want to communicate; be patient; Autistic people have said some of the most profound things to me. They tell the truth absolutely; they aren’t afraid or embarrased to tell me if I have a big zit on my nose and they sometimes see right through all the Bullshit we wrap things in.

    Stupid? Retarded? Not by a long shot. Unfeeling? Uncaring? Not those either.

    Unfairly perceived and judged? Very often. But it just takes alittle time and patience to improve their world and yours. These are mostly good people who just need someone to try a little harder to relate to them.

    Bless you and your daughters.

    Namaste

    Reply
    • I wish more people would read your comment, I have dedicated my life spreading awareness about autism and working with kids who need any help ..
      i just wish people would be a bi more understanding and think twice before judging others be it this case or any other..we assume too much too quickly and we judge others a lot..
      Thank you :)

      Reply
  29. Definately, a ‘…different tomorrow’!
    Peace & love!

    Reply
  30. Soma, I have learned so much from you and your reader’s comments
    please continue being this brave and wonderful please continue enlightening our minds and enlivening our lives =)

    Reply
  31. People can be so cruel in their ignorance. If they would just come to understand the all people are different and they too want to be understood and cared for as they want for themselves.
    This is an great post, and I’m glad you posted it, Soma!
    Love and hugs to you and Bonita! ♥ xxx

    Reply
  32. Oh this just touched my heart, Soma. I love you and Bonita, and I pray that one day in this world people will understand that everyone is different! You are so right, staring is just plain rude and annoying, people who don’t understand need to wake up. I am proud of you for spreading this message :) I send much love and many hugs to you and to Princess Bonita ♥ Autumn Maasi

    Reply
  33. Such a wonderful message Soma… people need this education ~ awareness ~ compassionan and senstivity. I know from my own struggles – others so often cannot grasp what realitiy is for another if they have not walked in the shoes themselves. Your daughter is blessed to have a mom with the voice and strength and courage that you do. With that kind of love around her, nobody can harm her beautfiful spirit. She will thrive and shine – what makes her different, makes her also special and wonderful. Sending Hugs to you my wise dear friend ~ RL

    Reply
  34. I will only pray and wish that people are sensitive towards all this and that no one should have it ..

    Reply
  35. A very touching post Soma. I stand-up with deep respect to ‘salute’ all these lovely children!
    Regards.

    Reply
  36. This is heartfelt Soma…shame on us adults who should know, do and be better.

    Reply
  37. Thank you for this really moving and very needed post, Soma….I am appreciated your heart and beautiful soul, Linda

    Reply
  38. MANY thanks for educating me (and others) by sharing your world. … plus, here’s a smile for your daughter. :)

    Reply
  39. Very very well written, really hopes that all these starring and whispering people read this and understand who foolish they act – if they seeks entertaiment then they could look at a mirror… ;-)

    Reply
  40. Soma Star ……………
    standing right by you …… Strong lady you xx
    You have just raised awareness ………
    and remember the people that stare – IT’S THEIR STUFF …………. Not Yours or Your Daughters stuff .////////////
    Yes the world is changing Fast – and your cat over here – awake at 4 am believes strongly in Unity in diversity – BIG time xxxx MORE THAN BIGGGGG TIME XXX

    There is all sorts of bullying all over the world – for all kinds of things -
    the Bullies – unfortunately ————– are the ones that cannot see the beauty in every living human being ……………
    This is an amazing post – It’s like HELLO WORLD …………………
    Your Daughter is amazing …………I just know it xx She has YOU as a Mama xx

    There is a Little Boy about 3 or 4 ……………. and His Mom is Just Like You – Strong strong strong :) and she smiles at me every day – and we talk a bit everyday …..

    He lives in the same building and is just starting school – :)
    he is very much like how You have described your beautiful daughter :)
    He sees the world differently – and with a perspective i can only imagine -
    But you know what – if i see someone stare at Him …………. and His Mom ….
    I get closer to him about the things he is talking about – and LISTEN …………….
    and for some reason – LISTENING QUIETLY …..= well – it eases something within him …..

    Because obviously – We have something to LEARN and Love about everyone on This Planet!
    No exceptions ………… NONE ……………Love is INCLUSIVE – does not separate or segregate ……

    Love You very very much – and sending you all my strength …. and Your Daughter too ……
    You are never alone …….. NEVER ………………….
    and i know you know that x

    Soul sisters forever xx
    and ever and ever and ever ………………….
    Your Bug of love :) just to make you smile :) lol xxxxx

    Brave post
    Brave Woman
    Brave Child

    Love is being brave and reaching out every single moment xxxx
    LOVE YOU DEARLY XX
    always here xx :)
    C xx

    Reply
    • Thank you so much Cat..you know what you are such an angel being such a good friend to that family and that boy…I wish Bonita( my daughter) had someone like you near…
      someone outside home who would just listen and understand…where she can go and not be judged
      You are just the sweetest
      love ya :)

      Reply
      • Bonita is her name ! wow …..
        Beautifulllllllllllllllllllll
        Heavenly names – Soma and Bonita !
        Let’s lots of options out there – I think – in my heart – that Listening is the most important thing …………..
        13 is a hard age – no matter what right ?
        i remember 13 …. EWWW…………. life was no funnnnn

        i can always write her through you ? whatever you need
        i have good ears – i may not be close by ……
        but i do know i can listen – xx
        Here for You and Bonita xx
        10000000000000000000& xoxoxoxoxoxoxooxoxoxoxoxoxoxooxoxox
        Cat x

        Reply
      • made a little something for her and you xo
        I love you

        http://catforsley.me/cat-forsley-2/dear-bonita/

        Reply
  41. All of us are forced by the society to be conformists.. even when someone among us may look and talk like them, yet dare to think and do things differently – we get outclassed ! Branded ! So anyone can guess the plight of someone who also look or sound a bit different. Yet I always feel proud to be different – and thought everyone including the differently able kids I worked with – the value and pride of being different !

    Its easy to conform – but takes a mountain of courage to dare to be different !

    Reply
    • Oh so true and i am so proud of my daughter, although she doesnt look any different from anyone but she has some strong Autistic traits..and that is what makes her different but to me she is my hero..she has changed the way i used to be ..
      she has so much talent , love the way she thinks ..yes it is different from the way i used to interact with my mom but i just love this more…we have so much fun and what more is we never hurry..i have learnt to enjoy llife take time not hurry or rush things….i can go on and on…
      so when someone stares i dont care but i do think one of these days i will start charging them for entertaining them…
      to know you are different from most and give them tough competition in the sport called LIFE…

      Reply
      • Soma – What you are showing is purely motherly aggression – and its but natural. Most mothers will do so. But then, what I have learnt from my mother and in life, about being different is that I can not change anyone else but me. And its just not worth my energy to fight with everyone. So I deal with only those who come close enough to confront; for rest I just laugh on them in pity that they cant understand how different the real world is !

        I have learned to take pride in being able to think differently. I do not have trait in me that can be “labeled” in any medical terminology. I am just happy to think differently. Happy to strive in every step to be different from the rest. And knowing that it those different people who have always taken mankind to the next stage !

        Am sure like every child, yours is special in her own way. I learned the same with my son too. I cant expect him to be ME. Because he is not ME but HE. So I have learned to love him as he is. And yes these different ones will surely through a lot of different challenges to the rest !

        Reply
  42. I’ve sometimes had very rude people misinterpret something I say, and say “Anybody would think you’re autistic” – at which I smile sweetly and say “Why yes I am; what’s *your* excuse for having no manners?”

    It always used to bother me when out and about with my profoundly autistic son, because adults and children alike can’t stop staring at him (he’s so profoundly autistic that you can *see* it in his facial expressions and mannerisms). His foster father came up with a good one last time I visited and got a little wound up: “Don’t worry about it; if he doesn’t care why should we?” – and he’s right.

    Reply
    • oh i get you and that is exactly what we did and over these 13 years we have learned to ignore rats..sorry rats are great i just couldnt think of anything else..
      Bonita ( my daughter) talks incessantly sometimes and asks about hundred things in a store she wants details and we talk about them May be most people havent seen or heard of parent kid interaction and all this is alien to them…

      Reply
      • Well, you know that computers and TVs are the main babysitters these days; it’s a sad fact that parents don’t often interact with their children. On the other side of the coin, a child who doesn’t speak, flaps, twitches dances and pulls occasionally odd faces stands out from the crowd. My son is very much in his own little world.

        I’m very like your daughter; when I become interested in something I have to know *everything* there is to know about it. I don’t see this as at all unhealthy – I think children should be encouraged to be inquisitive! :)

        Reply
        • Oh you are absolutely right kids should be encouraged to ask…in fact a lot of people feel ashamed to ask and hesitate but Bonita has no such problems when it comes to learning…so she knows much more than her “normal ” peers about a lot of things …she uses products of particular brands which actually works in my favour as she helps in shopping that way..
          plus i get to learn too. there are so many things i learned cos she asked i found out about them to answer her..

          Reply
          • When I was young my English writing and language skills were so far above my peers that the teachers used to ask me to help some of the slower learners during reading hour.

            And yes; children can teach us a lot. I’ve learned quite a bit from one of my young nephews :)

            Reply
  43. Well said. My friend’s boy is autistic and he’s one of the nicest kids to be around I know! :)

    Reply
    • Stuart thank you so much you may not know but your love ( someone out side the family) is such a lovely gift to your friend’s son..he will grow knowing there is love outside too
      Big hugs :)

      Reply
  44. To co napisałaś Soma jest wielkie,masz wspaniałą córkę,a ona wspaniałą mamę,rób swoje,nie oglądaj się na innych————-gratuluję ci;-)

    Reply
  45. Moving and very sad Soma, a great piece, as ever. I’ve had serious internet problems over last month but should be better from now on, although I’ll never catch up!

    Reply
  46. Soma dear, this is a super post, re blogged this. You made me cry. Awareness is very necessary. People with low self esteem and inferiority complex always try point out mistakes in others so no one will notice them. They just find for an excuse to laugh on others. We should teach our children to ignore them. My love and best wishes for you and Bonita.

    Reply
  47. Reblogged this on बंजारा and commented:
    To spread awareness about AUTISM, please read this post. Awesome post.

    Reply
  48. Pingback: Autism – The Staring Strangers « बंजारा

  49. Thank you for this. On the heels of children telling my son they were “not allowed to play with” him, I wrote a post to parents. I just hope more people read and learn. <3

    Reply
    • love ya Red….its amazing how people keep staring at our kids or talk about them when their kids need some real parent- kid interaction…
      mostly i ignore these people sometimes i ask them if they want an autograph or something

      Reply
      • I usually say, “S/he is autistic. What is your excuse?” For other people, I am not so nice. I am kinder to the children who do not know any better. They are being taught by socially retarded parents. I love the graphic in this one “and they say I lack social skills”. Amen. <3 Much love, Soma <3

        Reply
    • WordsFallFromMyEyes

      I never knew about that, Red. I’m horrified. Very sorry at that.
      And GOOD ON YOU, writing the post to them.

      Reply

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