I’ve had a lot of experience with the public since we’ve been fundraising for Jeffery’s Autism Service Dog. Recently we had a Bake Sale outside of Walmart. We talked to many nice people who we educated about service dogs and 4 Paws for Ability (the organization we’re going through). I love answering questions, it shows me that people are interested and want to learn.
But one couple really stuck out to me. The couple who said “I’m sorry” when I answered that, yes, the 10 year old little boy with me was my son and had Autism. The look of pity on their faces. The multiple times they said sorry. My answer said it all “Don’t be sorry, we’re not. He’s unique and we love him exactly how he is.” Their looks of pity went to confusion as I put my arm around Jeffery and explained to them that he is a Junior Black Belt in karate, he plays football and he makes honor roll. We couldn’t be prouder of him.
Yes, our son has autism. But no, we’re not sorry that he does and we don’t want you to feel sorry for us. Our lives are chaotic, yes…but we wouldn’t want it any other way. Being “normal” is overrated anyways. The service dog won’t “cure” him, and we wouldn’t want to “cure” him, even if we could. We just want to help him manage the chaos that his brain makes of the world around him.
So, to this couple who is “sorry” that our son is autistic…and the lady who offered to pray over him (I didn’t object, I was polite and let her), families with kids who are on the spectrum don’t need pity, we need support, kindness and acceptance.