Two stories on Autism and the Middle Finger

Two stories…
About a year ago I decided to give Melanie a break during one hectic Saturday so I took the kids: William (autistic and 4-years-old at time) and Margaret (2-years-old at time) to Wal-Mart to do a little grocery shopping. (this is the point of blog where parents with kids on the spectrum groan and say…”I know where this is going”)…so I’m trying to be as interactive as possible, I know that I need to keep William engaged as much as possible and happily distracted so he won’t have one of his classic episodes.

We’re making up games and talking about (well i’m talking about) the colors of the boxes and packaging and it’s going along well. We LOVE to eat orange danish rolls on Sunday mornings–a Fowler 4 tradition for sure–we get to the isle where they have rolls and I’m nervous bc I know what’s about to happen….”rolls, rolls, rolls, rolls…ROLLS” yep, that’s what happens…he sees them, I didn’t distract him enough and now he wants rolls and he wants them NOW!

I quickly decide it’s time to checkout and am trying to sooth and distract him while he’s making his noises and telling all of Wal-Mart what he wants. He settles down just a bit and I’m making a B-line (what does B-line really mean? btw) to the checkout and I decide to take a shortcut through the clothing isle or something–well that’s not the way William wants to go….”THIS WAY, THIS WAY, THIS WAY!!!” is now the new mantra. He is no longer hanging on the cart but instead on the floor (not very clean) and sucking his thumb and having a total meltdown. He’s not sure which phrase to scream louder…”ROLLS” or “THIS WAY!!!”

I manage to get a hold of him, ignoring him as much as possible now and get out of there with the groceries…and I am getting this stare from this lady…oh you know what I’m talking about…she’s judging me like crazy…1) I have an ill-mannered child 2) I’m not doing a good job of controlling him and 3) I am ruining her Wal-Mart shopping experience…she’s shaking her head and just burning a hole though me with her stares and sighs…

Story Number Two…

Christmas 2010, Melanie is at local bakery with William and Margaret getting goodies for their respective teachers as a Christmas treat. This is a good bakery and they do quite a bit of business for the holiday so it was crowded. As she’s standing in line she runs into a friend of ours that I work with and they’re chatting it up and William is getting restless and Margaret is getting tired so Melanie picks her up and holds her as they wait in line and she’s talking to our friend. Well William wants to be held now too…not the easiest thing to do, holding two children at same time, esp for my tiny (albeit strong) wife.

Here is comes…MELTDOWN…flopping, thumb sucking, squealing…full blown.

Fortunately our friend grabs Margaret and takes her on a tour of the parking lot while Melanie tries to sooth William an still get the Christmas bread she came there to buy….apparently there was a lady behind her giving her the sighs, the head shakes, the glares and stares….did she ever pick the wrong person!

I wasn’t there but I have eye witness that Melanie picked William up, turned around to head out and stopped and looked right at the lady and said, “You have no right to look at me and stare and judge…he’s autistic and can’t help it…and I don’t appreciate your attitude and glares!” (do I have a kick ass wife or what!)
The lady made some attempt to apologize, make excuses, offer to help–all too late and Melanie just left…

Point of stories…

I am thinking about getting a t-shirt made with an image of a middle finger extended and telling everyone that “I’m #1!” and then on the back say….”HE’S FREAKING AUTISTIC…WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO!” or something like that. I know, I know, I know…not the right/proper/christian/helpful thing to do…but wouldn’t it be cool to just have some t-shirt that just expresses what we all want to say in those situations?

Who else wants a t-shirt?

Seth/Melanie Fowler on Twitter
Seth/Melanie Fowler
Authored, Look at my Eyes, a parent's perspective re: navigating autism-early intervention, insurance, treatments, a paradigm of a family & child with autism
Seth/Melanie Fowler

Seth/Melanie Fowler

Authored, Look at my Eyes, a parent's perspective re: navigating autism-early intervention, insurance, treatments, a paradigm of a family & child with autism

0 thoughts on “Two stories on Autism and the Middle Finger

  • May 13, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    A BEE LINE (not B line) is just that… the sort of line a bee makes, which means do exactly what you need to do (focused) and not taking any detours.   Bees go about their work, from flower to flower and get the job done… they do not idly fly here or there looking at scenery.  The expression ” to  make a bee-line” means to focus on the task and get it done… 


  • May 2, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    @keystspf@xanga – Sadly, I wonder how many non-autistic jerks out there would also buy those shirts to wear while they sexually harass the rest of us including autistic girls who don’t have enough social confidence to lower the odds of getting exploited, increase the odds of telling the difference between “he says that because he likes me” and “he says that because he wants to fuck me and dump me the morning after,” etc.  🙁

  • May 2, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    “and I’m making a B-line (what does B-line really mean? btw)”

    A direct, straight course.
    intr.v. bee·lined, bee·lin·ing, bee·lines
    To move swiftly in a direct, straight course.
    [From the belief that a bee returns to its hive in a straight course.]

    The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

    beeline [ˈbiːˌlaɪn]
    the most direct route between two places (esp in the phrase make a beeline for)

    Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

  • July 31, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    I’d like one that says, “He’s autistic, what’s your excuse?” or even “I’m autistic, what’s your excuse?” 


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