I was chatting with someone who came to one of the shows the other day. They'd never met a person with autism before, and they said it made them nervous as they didn't know what they were meant to do or say.
I admired their honesty. We're all a bit scared of those who are different. And often nowadays it's not out of rudeness, it's just because we desperately want to do the right thing, and we're so scared of getting it wrong.
I remember going to visit a special school once and the Headteacher invited us into her office and asked The Boy to take a seat. He picked it up and asked her, "Where to?". She was mortified, and apologised so many times it became really uncomfortable. I think in her eyes she'd committed a crime so bad that she might as well have scrawled "I HATE AUTISM" in big red letters across the whiteboard. Relax, it's okay to mess up. The Boy spends his life being misunderstood, I'm sure he'll forgive you for getting it wrong once in a while.
However, if you're still feeling uncertain, here's a list of Do's or Dont's if you ever get to meet him. A word of warning though, these apply only to him. Please don't ever think that what you read in this blog is 'Autism: the manual'. It isn't. Each and every person with autism is as unique and different as you and I. This is just 'The Boy: the manual'. Although I have a feeling bits of it may well apply to others...
DOs and DON'Ts of Meeting The Boy for the First Time
This blog is about bringing up The Boy. He's 12 years old and autistic. It's written by The Dad. It's my words, my view. Other people will think differently and have different opinions. Good.