Before you had kids, did you feel sympathy for parents of autistic children?
When you heard, was your first reaction "Oh, I'm so sorry..."?
When you were a pre-teen, did you make fun of special needs children? Call them names, do 'impressions', use derogatory words with your friends?
It's ok. A lot of us did.
In fact, many of us became more popular because other kids thought we were funny. Mostly because the focus of scorn and humiliation was on someone else.
There is a safety in that. An immunity that only comes from mob-like behavior. As if you are better, smarter and less flawed because you are pointing out the flaws in someone unable to defend themselves.
I am absolutely not condemning the 10 year old version of you. I get it. I said a lot of cringe-worthy things in my day that I would never say or even think now.
I suppose I have grown up, matured, become more aware, and taken responsibility for my thoughts and actions. My experiences taught me that my past ideals were far more flawed than my targets.
I'm not 10 anymore.
So, that said, why are there still so many people unable to make this change?
Experience plays a big part in it. Like I said, we still thought autism was sympathy-worthy prior to becoming immersed in it.
I suppose many people choose to remain 10 years old and they may never come around.
This generation of autistic children is going to break preconceptions, I just hope the cost isn't too high emotionally.
Because there will always be 10 year old boys, even when they're 40.