I have lost count of how many times I have accidentally stopped a conversation dead, how many new friends I have lost before I even had them and how many times I have managed lose invites to things because of Eliza. You know that awkward feeling when you meet new people whether it be a friend of a friend you bump in to, a new toddler group you are trying out or just chatting in the queue at the supermarket. Somehow, don’t ask me why, but if you are a woman you always get asked that question….. “You got any kids?”. Naturally I reply yes and it ALWAYS leads to the next one “So what school are they at?” and that right there is the question that gets me in trouble if you like. As soon I say the name of Eliza’s school it is the biggest conversation killer ever. (She attends a special school because she is unable to cope in mainstream). The odd person will politely nod and accept what you just said but so many drop to full on silence. Her school is great and has an impressive reputation so please don’t get me wrong, It’s not the school being mentioned that stops them dead, its the fact that she is ‘special’.
It saddens and shocks me how people fear special needs and how misunderstood Eliza is simply because she is autistic. A lot of people drop to silence because they don’t know what to say, how to reply. In some ways I prefer that because its miles better than hearing stuff like “Oh yeah I read about that, she just needs some good discipline and she will grow out of that phase”…….. Ahh yes, thanks for that (said no parent of an autistic child ever!!). It’s a shame really as you are missing out on me and I am pretty awesome as a friend, even if I do say so myself lol. You are also missing out on getting to know Eliza because behind the autistic diagnosis is a cheeky, feisty, independent diva who is a top notch negotiator where having time on the iPad is concerned. A girl with such a strong personality she has tried to charm the keys off staff many a time at school so she can get outside on the slide. She has the most infectious cheeky giggle and smile. A proper tom boy in personality yet when the mood takes her can be a delicate princess or a super hero taking on the world. Yes, she attends a special school. It doesn’t make her less of a person and it certainly shouldn’t stop you getting to know us. She is special, in fact she is blooming amazing and she is mine. Your loss people, your loss.