Skip to main content

How to Cope When the Public Doesn’t Understand

By Christine Denise

Autism Mom and Contributing Writer for As You Are, a virtual clinic dramatically increasing access to early autism diagnostic services through the use of exclusively telehealth appointments


You can’t see autism.

That’s been a challenging aspect of raising a child who has it.

Other special needs are immediately apparent.

There might be a wheelchair. Some people have physical characteristics like those with Down Syndrome. Others wear medical equipment, like feeding tubes, ventilators or oxygen tanks.

Children and people with autism look just like people or children who don’t.

So when they begin to show the signs of autism – having an adverse reaction because of a sensory issue – eyes might start to roll around you. People will think your child is acting out just because they’re not getting their way, having no clue that a sudden change in a schedule or routine can throw someone with autism into a fit that needs an extra moment of understanding to work out.

And that’s ok.

Let them.

I’ve learned that my energy needs to focus on addressing whatever it is my son needs in his challenging moments rather than what everyone else around me might be thinking or saying.

It’s been a hard lesson for my mother-in-law to learn. She’s from a generation where women were looked down upon if they didn’t have complete control of their children at all times because that was their job.

For me, watching how someone reacts should they realize my son has special needs after they’ve completely judged my abilities as a parent is oddly rewarding.

One of the best moments happened when I took my son to a soccer game for his older siblings. There were bleachers, and my son got spooked about being on an elevated surface. So, we couldn’t sit down immediately, and there was another soccer game finishing up.

I heard a woman yell, “Sit down!” from about five rows back.

I didn’t look up. Didn’t acknowledge I even heard her. I just focused on getting my son to settle down about being slightly off the ground.

She shouted it again, at least twice in rapid succession.

I kept my cool. My son needed me. And that woman getting a perfect view of her son on the field meant nothing to me.

Then, I started using some basic sign language with my son.

She didn’t shout again.

My son took his seat.


Do you have questions about your child’s development? The team at As You Are provides useful autism screening and diagnostic evaluations for kids 16 months to 10 years old via telehealth appointments.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. This is a sponsored blog post, but all opinions are my own.

We Accept

AetnaBlue Cross Blue ShieldMedicaidTRICAREUnited Healthcare

Don’t see your health insurance provider listed? Don’t get discouraged! We work with commercial insurance plans, TRICARE, traditional state Medicaid plans and managed care partners. We are constantly expanding our relationships as we grow. And, as a part of our process, our support team will review a child’s insurance benefits with their parent or guardian before the first appointment. To get started families can submit this form or contact our support team at 866.219.8595Participation may vary by state and each child’s health insurance benefits.

As Seen On