Owen and Ben's Journey Through Autism

Owen and Ben's Journey Through Autism

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Oh, I'm sorry about that. Excuse me?

Ok, I'm used it. Over 2 years in, I am used to the reaction of saying to someone, "My son has Severe Autism". What kind of response did you give when you found out? What response is even ideal to have?

I have no idea what I would say, maybe now I could say something mildly appropriate 0 but most likely not, and I get that. Here are some usual responses I get (but not limited to):

-I'm sorry
-How awful
-How's Ryan taking it?
-How bad is it?
-Oh no, what caused it?
and more...

Not so much anymore, but this is what we were faced with when we had to awkwardly tell someone that our son has Autism. We haven't really had to face it in a long time, usually Ryan and I are wearing some t-shirt saying, "Got Autism" or "My kids has Autism, whats your excuse?". We do that on purpose, so people know right away, things go weird - you can seriously take your comments and looks and shove em'. No joke.

Fast forward to 15 minutes ago. For some reason, when you put your name on the, "do not telemarketer call list" it still calls - because that was shame, I swear since we did that, and the fact Ryan gave to 1 charity a year ago, the phone calls don't stop. We get calls for everything.. from The blind, to Downs Syndrome, to Cerebral Palsy, everything.. and believe me, I wish we were in the financial stability to give to everyone. I have met amazing families that have at least one of every charity we get called for, but financially, it is not in the cards for us.

What do I say when they call? I tell them the truth. This is how a phone call goes:

Unsuspecting Operator: Hello, is this Mrs. Coens?
Irritated me: Yes
UO: Good evening Mrs. Coens, I am with the Association of the Blind for Canada, we are calling because we are so proud of our community, by giving...
Me: I totally understand, believe me - but I have 2 boys with Autism, I am not able to give anything.
UO: ohhhhh, I am so sorry for you.
Me: Thank you? bye.

Seriously. I am so sorry for you? Seriously. What I should have said, was, "Please don;t feel sorry for me, thanks"... but I don't. As much as I get irritated, and I want to hear the right thing, I really have no idea what the right thing is. She probably could have said something totally comforting, and I still would find some sort of issue with it - because there is nothing that you can say. I wonder that now when I hear of another family I meet, a fresh new family with a new diagnosis, do I sound like an idiot? Have I ever said, "I'm sorry".

I guess moral of the blog - say what your heart tells you to say, she felt the need to say she was sorry for me, I felt the need to say thank you..It couldn't have gone smoother. Proper - yet awkward ;)

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