Toronto — A mother of a 5-year-old child with autism has resorted to carrying a signage that warns strangers of her son’s autism, in an effort to get them to understand her child’s sometimes erratic behavior.
After a year of commuting, Farida Peters’ son, Deckard, has increasingly become anxious on train rides that he takes almost on a daily basis with his mom, just to attend his therapy sessions.
According to Farida, there were countless times that strangers would not understand when Deckard was having a meltdown while they were on the train.
If she had the time, she would try to explain Deckard’s condition, but usually she would be too busy trying to get him to calm down. So she decided to carry a sign that says
“My son is 5 years old and has autism. Please be patient with us. Thank you.”
Farida hopes the sign would help raise awareness about conditions that bear no physical manifestation or sign in individuals, such as autism in Deckard.
But she says she doesn’t blame those who don’t understand Deckard’s condition. She told:
“I was one of those people myself. I didn’t know what autism was either until after his diagnosis.”
Farida’s decision to carry a sign around with her declaring her son’s autism elicited various reactions from strangers as well as people close to her. Some applauded her for it, while others, including a friend of hers, insisted that disclosing Deckard’s autism to strangers should only be on a ‘need-to-know’ basis.
But Farida says the sign has helped her and Deckard a great deal. According to her, strangers on the train have become more understanding and helpful, often offering her a hand whenever they thought she needed it, and even giving her words of encouragement. She said:
“I felt like he finally felt safe and comfortable on the train. It’s really nice when people are encouraging.”
Source: Andrea Gordon on The Toronto Star website: Toronto mom carries sign to alert strangers about son’s autism