I want to share this

A couple weeks ago, I took my son into the barber shop to get his hair cut. He had been there once before and done ok. This time we had to wait, which wasn't good. He didn't want to sit. I couldn't keep him out of the floor, so I held him in my arms and stood next to the door. I noticed a man I knew from working in the public. He was staring constantly at us as I tried to control my son. I stepped outside and asked my husband to come in and hold him while he got his hair cut, because I was exhausted. My son cried the whole time and tried to defend himself by putting his hands up at his face. My husband told me when he came out of the barber shop that the man watching our son, who we both knew, made fun of him and mocked him. I imagined this man imitating my son's behavior, and it made me so angry and disappointed. I'm not sure if he was aggravating the barber or truly making fun of my son. Either way, I have tried to tell myself that he probably wasn't aware that he is a 3-year-old with autism. I'm sure this is just the first of many, but I want people to be aware. Autism is the fastest growing developmental disorder and the most underfunded. It affects 1 in 68 children. Not all disabilities are visible. Think before you judge.

Autism is a medical condition that:

• impairs a person's ability to speak, communicate, answer questions

• impairs a person's ability to socialize, understand social cues, make friends

• affects brain function, motor skills and eye contact

• affects a person's behavior

• impairs a person's ability to understand danger or consequence

• varies from mild to severe (no two people with autism are alike)

You can learn more at NationalAutismAssociation.org or at autismspeaks.com.

I am not sending this out for sympathy. All I am asking is to spread the word in your home, community and church.

Thanks,

From an autism mom (Jocosa Petty)