Is He as Bad as Rainman?

Now, I’ve never been one for competition. I didn’t pursue my dream of becoming a famous actress because the scene was too competitive for me! I guess I’ve never really lived what others would consider a “normal life” so that my daily movements couldn’t be compared to others. So no, I don’t like comparison or competition.

And yet I find myself in a strange race at the moment. I can see it taking place all around me and I can feel myself being buffeted along to the start line. I’m gonna call it the “Rainman” race.

And it’s between parents of special needs children.

Firstly you’ve got the spectrum saga!

High functioning, low functioning, shite smearing, non-verbal, low functioning communication…Aspergers, autism, learning difficulties, special school, mainstream…fight fight fight! For some it’s just not enough to accept your child is the way they are. They have to compare them to others to justify their own accounts of them. “your child is Aspergers, well that’s not autism” “your child can talk? Well, they’re not severe than” “they aren’t bad enough for special school!” “if they’re in the mainstream that doesn’t count as disabled”

I read another blog last week and the comments were a bitch fest of parents trying to ‘out autism’ each other! Those with severe children telling those with Aspergers/high functioning that they had no right saying their children were disabled. Those with high functioning criticising those with severe for feeling sad about their child’s condition. Someone saying that unless your kids smear their own crap they weren’t severe….it was utterly horrendous to read. Just tearing strips of each other and disrespecting the man’s emotion fuelled blog for their own reassurances that they had it worse than anyone else.

The disability duel is a hard one to talk about. But in one corner you have the visible disabilities and in the other corner the none visible disorders. I’m gonna be brutally honest and say that at my worst times I’ve uttered those words. If only they had a visible disability…a wheelchair, physical signs, anything to make the judgement of others go away. I’m sure for those with a visible diagnosis this is really hard to understand but the judgement of the public doesn’t rest on your shoulders. People don’t question the parenting skills, the behaviour, the lack of social awareness of a child with visual pointers to a disability. You don’t get crackpots claiming they can cure your child by stopping them eating bread! but then I’m sure you get other prejudices that I couldn’t possibly understand.

And this is what I hold on to. I’ve said it before but your issues are all relative to your life, no one else’s. How severe your child is is, in my humble opinion, relative to how well they function within your lifestyle. It’s not as basic as can they talk, make friends, be aggressive, control a meltdown, stim or any other measuring devise people chose to use. If you feel they are severe or they are high functioning…they comparison to nothing else except your own feelings. That’s it. It’s pointless comparing them to anyone else or trying to prove you have a carbon copy of Rainman. Your child is your child. And though I think it does the disorder of Aspergers a disservice to lump it in the same category as classic autism, as its classification as mild autism undermines the problems of living with the diagnosis who am I to say that I would cope any better with a child who is considered by others to be high functioning. I know parents living with far more aggressive and violent outbursts than me from a child classed as high functioning. Dealing with a child who functions perfectly well at mainstream but loses it every time they come home.

Simply try to live your life and not compare your problems, your child’s symptoms and the challenges you face daily to anyone else’s. We could spend our lives apologizing for not having the bigger problems of others, criticising those who are finding life hard, questioning peoples judgement or feeling about their own child or judging those who don’t see things from your perspective. Forgive them. They are not living your life and you are not living there’s. It is not your child, it is not your business. just like its not their business how you interpret your own situation.

We have enough to deal with trawling through our own crap, why compare your pile to anyone else’s?!

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Donna Street
The story of a mother and her Autistic children.
Donna Street


The story of a mother and her Autistic children.

0 thoughts on “Is He as Bad as Rainman?

  • Probably wishing that things were different. dreams dashed or altered…dreams for ourselves..our children..our lives

  • Also, if you haven’t, read up on Kim Peak. I loved him since I first heard about him around 15. He’s amazing(and the real “Rain Man”), but aside from his amazing abilities, any parent that would try comparing their kid to him (not saying anyone you’ve spoken to has, as that was not in the post but the title reminded me of this) because of those amazing abilities, I just can’t help but feel as if they are heartless and must wish the condition on their child. I know I’m more than likely wrong, I just feel this way for some reason =( maybe because they want the “good” parts but not the bad. I can’t explain this idea well so I’m just going to shut up and just say that as much as I loved Kim, I would never wish that on my child just so that I could brag about some of his more genius abilities. Poor Kim couldn’t button his own shirt.

  • People like this piss me off. A problem, a disease, etc. is what it is. Say, someone has heart disease or even something like a severe infection, while another person has cancer. The conditions may not be equal, but they are both conditions to be taken seriously.

    If someone saw you upset and asked what was wrong and you said “my uncle has a severe post- surgery infection. I’m worried that he won’t make it.” and they come back with “oh, that’s nothing. At least he doesn’t have cancer like my dad!” that’s basically how I look at the people you’ve just described. They are ignorant, generally selfish and they are cold.

    When I was younger and became sad, my mom would tell me why I should not be sad: because no one would ever be as depressed as her. My depression was nothing in comparison, were her words to me. When I was a typical tired teenager, my mom would yell at me because i “had no right”. Yes, I did. I was a teenager. Teens are sleepy, teens are still growing, everyone should know this.To add to this, I grew up with anorexia and bulimia, and only slept 2 hours a night because the rest of my days were spend exercising for 5+ hours every single night, planning out how to avoid people and food, engaging in other unavoidable-at-the-time- obsessive behaviors, and later bingeing and purging over 3 times a day. If not 5. Yes. I was mentally an physicaly exhausted.

    Now my dad tells me, when I become depressed, that I have no reason to because there are people in worse situations. I won’t elaborate as to why I am depressive, but I do know, and I no longer allow myself to believe that I have no right to feel the way I feel and thus deny my own emotions which are frankly, responses to my surroundings.With that said, your child’s condition, whether it be “just” asperger’s, isn’t something to be denied. It is a struggle, it is a condition, it must be taken care of and no one has any right to try shaming another parent into caring for their child’s mental, emotional, or physical conditions of any sort.

  • AMEN! There is no point comparing one person to another. There will always be a vast spe3ctrum of behaviors, traits and treatment.

    We, the people with Autism, are different as the rest of you. I have overcome my stilted speech as of late. I cook, I clean, and I care for my ailing mother who fought very hard to get me here. Don’t get me wrong, I have worked hard to accept new behaviors, but she has contended with some of the craziest things I have done as well. Just because a person has this trait or has overcome that behavior does not mean they are “more autistic” or “less autistic” than the other. There is no reason to compete over battle wounds, or compare your child to a somewhat inaccurate portrayal of autism is not necessary.
    The point is, every child with autism is unique. There is no reason to create an unnecessary competition among them.

  • I get so annoyed with those people.  They always try to take my stuff and make me do things that are against my interests.  They grab the vegetable and compare him to me. I’m doing great because someone is foaming at the mouth. 

    That doesn’t make sense.

    I am not doing great, tbh.  I feel horrible all of the time, and it’s like my head is in a vice.  I can’t think because they gave me a lobotomy.  I don’t even think in words.  I can’t plan.  I do things automatically, which is bizarre.  I don’t even pronounce words correctly anymore.

    I don’t care about the vegetables.  I’ll be honest with you.  I care about people who might make it to a decent end.

    If one thing would have gone right, I would have made it, but no, people can’t handle me doing anything because it crushes their fragile egos.


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