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Autism Cards

Posted by on Jan. 21, 2009 at 1:51 AM
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Today was a bad day for us!  After going to school and then going to his therapies, I pushed the envelope farther than I knew I should have.  I brought my 5yr old ASD & ADHD son and my 3yr old daughter grocery shopping.  I know, I know...  What was I thinking???  I was begging for problems!  And, sure enough, I got them.

I won't bore you all with too many details, so to cut to the chase, by the time I got to the check out my son was having a full blown melt down.  Screaming, crying, spitting, hitting, kicking...  It was bad!

Well, I had a man in his mid to late 20's in front of me checking out, an woman who looked to be in her late 40's/early 50's behind me and a man who looked to be pushing 70 behind her.  As I'm trying to rub my son's hands to get him to calm down and keep my daughter from getting candy, the woman behind me says, "When I was young I would have been scared to act like that."  And the older man behind her says, "That's because you probably got spanked and knew how to behave."  At that the man in front of me looks back at the older man and raises his eyebrows and nods in agreement.  I felt totally ganged up on!  Then the older man keep talking and says to my son, "Don't you think you're a little too old to be acting this way?" 

At this point I lost it!  I looked him dead in the eye and said, "Listen, he's acting like this because I took his cart away because he wasn't doing as I said.  I suppose I could have avoided this confrontation by just letting him have his way and run up and down the isles with the cart.  But, I chose to follow through with my threat to take the cart away if he didn't stop running and stay close to me.  So, what are you thinking I should do here?  Give him back the cart?  Pull down his little britches and spank his a$$ right here at the check out for your viewing enjoyment?  Please cut me a little slack." 

Then, he replied,"If he was disciplined at home, he wouldn't be acting like this in public."

The tears just started rolling down my face and I said,"Look, he's autistic, he's had a long day and he isn't coping well."  Then, I just grabbed my daughters hand and threw Samuel over my shoulder, left my cart at the check out and walked out of the store.  It was terrible!  We were such a spectacle.

Anyways, once my husband got home from work I told him the whole sordid story of what had happened.  Then he suggested we make up some cards to hand people when these types of things happen so we don't end up in a confrontation.  He looked up autism cards online and then drafted some cards for us.  He pulled info. from a few of the different ones that he saw at the site and then used some of his own wording to personalize it to us.  This is what he came up with.


This is the front of the card:

My apologies if my child’s behavior has disturbed you.

is a neurological disorder occurring in 1 out of every 166 children.  One is mine.

Please be patient and understand.  There is more than meets the eye.

Autism affects the way that a person comprehends the world around them and how they respond to others and the environment.  What may appear as a tantrum to you could actually be oversensitivity to sounds, smells, touch or virtually anything perceived by the five senses.  Or it could be an inability to cope with a change in routine, frustration, pain or an inability to communicate.

This is the back of the card:

You can’t see my child’s disability.  He looks like any other child. But, please don’t mistake his inability to cope as bad behavior.

Traditional discipline does not work for a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Children with ASD do not readily connect the behavior with the discipline.  They do not reason like an average person.  Therefore a spanking or other physical punishment is likely to cause even more distress to the child thus causing panic and escalating the situation.  Trust me, this is a fact.

Traditional disciplines such as spankings or timeouts work fine with most any average child due to the fact the child is able to comprehend what they are being disciplined for.  However, those types of disciplines are fruitless when the child cannot understand exactly why they are being disciplined.  This is difficult, if not impossible, for someone to truly understand if they have not spent a significant amount of time interacting with an autistic child.

For more information visit or  

Thank you for taking the time to read this. – The Smith Family


Have any of you ever used these cards and did they do any good that you know of?  Do you think these are too wordy and packed with too much information?  Just wanted to get a little feedback before I spent the money to have Kinko's print me off 50 of them.

~JEN~ family car

by on Jan. 21, 2009 at 1:51 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by Member on Jan. 21, 2009 at 2:14 AM

I'm not organized enough to carry the cards around with me and be able to actually find one when I need it.  My sister-in-law gave him a couple of T-shirts.  One says "are you starring cause I'm so cute or is my autism showing" ...I don't remember what the other one says right now. 

by Bronze Member on Jan. 21, 2009 at 8:40 AM

Well, good for you.  I am on the fence about the cards because I am not sure people with such rude & ignorant behavior would actually respond to them & I am not much into explaining a whole lot to people who don't ask & probably wouldn't listen.  But I have heard many mom's say they use them.  If I were to print up my own they'd say something like, "My child's poor behavior is due to his autism. What is your excuse?"  (LOL!)

We haven't had too many of these issues. I think part of it is because I am older & I don't think people are quite as willing to "put me in my place" as they are with you younger moms. I also don't get too upset when a meltdown happens. I hold my head up & smile at people like that and behave as if I am totally in control, which of course is a crock, but something I learned from my former career.  When you exude confidence, people aren't as likely to bully you. Plus, I really don't give a Rats A what someone else thinks.  This is a grocery store, not a fancy resturaunt & they aren't being unduly distrubed (& if they are, they can just go to another line).

I had Matthew act up the same way several months back & most people just ignored us. However, many people smiled back and were very nice. You give out the cards after they have behaved rudely & hope they will read them & understand. At that point you have already been upset by them & someone so narrow-minded probably isn't going to see the light anyway. I see no reason to engage some stranger who feels they have the right to act like they are some kind of expert on my kid.  Also, Gramps should hear himself -- he is proud that he made his own children afraid of him because he hit them? -- I can't even go there!

Anyway, I hope the cards help.  And may I suggest the next time, hold you head up, remain calm & selfassured, smile at others, & tell yourself, 'I am the best mother in the world & this is no big deal'.  (It really is no big deal in the scheme of life).  Maybe, those fools will keep their mouths shut & you won't have to deal with them at all.  Most of all, try not to let people like that upset you. They have no clue about anything regarding you & your children's lives & have no right to pass judgement -- why care what they think -- they are adults & yet are behaving badly themselves.

by Member on Jan. 21, 2009 at 8:44 AM

In those situations, I tend to react poorly myself- so I'm much more likely to say "F.U, mind your own business" than I am to calmly hand over a card.

One thing I've found that works well in those situations is when the oldies start talking about how "back in their day kids behaved" etc... I say, LOUDLY  "I remember, back when I was a kid, when people MINDED THEIR OWN BUSINESS".  That usually shuts them down.

Something about having to explain her situation feels like an invasion of our privacy.  Should I have to justify her behavior to strangers? 

                                    having chocolate


by Member on Jan. 21, 2009 at 9:11 AM

After re-reading my reply, and your post, I wanted to make sure and say that I thought the cards were beautifully done.  I thought the information on them was helpful and informative.  I hope that they work for you.  I don't think they'd work for me, because I'd be throwing them at people.  LOL 

by Bronze Member on Jan. 21, 2009 at 9:57 AM

I have thought about doing them....mine would be simple...."My name is Robby.  I have cerebral palsy, mild mental retardation, and autistic tendencies.  What's your excuse?"

Jennifer Group Admin

by Member on Jan. 21, 2009 at 10:19 AM

I think the cards are tastefully done, with the right amount of understandable information.  It's our job as parents to spread Autism awareness and we should be the bigger people in these situations to help our children, regardless of how rude people can be.

My 5 year old son had a similar meltdown just last week in the grocery store.  I dropped what I had and high-tailed it out of there with my 3 year old daughter trailing behind and everyone staring at  my 5 year old and me as I'm trying to carry him out of the store.  Good for you, I think it's a great idea because we are already stressed enough at that point and don't need the rude comments and stares.  Good luck!

by New Member on Jan. 21, 2009 at 11:16 AM
The cards look great! I hope they are a help if they needed in the future. It is so sad that people cannot be supportive to a parent whose child appears to be misbehaving. I am so sorry that you were not in line with understanding human beings. God Bless You!

jigsaw ribbon


by Group Owner on Jan. 21, 2009 at 12:31 PM

I have been thinking about making some of those, yours are beautiful! I do have a few T-Shirts Lane wears when going to the mall, etc. My favorite says "I HAVE AUTISM, WHAT IS YOUR EXCUSS?  Like the above poster said, I would probably throw them at someone. 

Another thing (Lane is my Grandson) I love doing is when he is acting out with his Autism, whatever it may be & people start to stare (He is 10 Now) I smile the biggest smile & say "Isn't he precious", at that point they look at me like I have a hole in my head, then I add, "He has Autism" That's pretty much ends the staring.

by Member on Jan. 22, 2009 at 4:02 PM

       I cary the cards that I got from  But I never have use them when my son has a tamtrum People usually stare and I stare back & most turn away.  Once I had an employee from walmart  made a smart remark when my son had a terrible tamtrum I was looking for my card to give it to her because that would of been a slap in the face for her. I walked a way w/ my son and left it at that.  I have passed them out when I go to the pool or a museum, just to educate them and i let them know if they have questions to please ask.

by Member on Jan. 22, 2009 at 5:08 PM

Thanks for the feedback ladies!  I don't think I'll have 50 printed up.  It isn't like I face a situation like that very often.  I think I'll just get some nice card stock and make about 4 to carry with me to hand out if I feel a need to.  If I need more, I'll make up more. Besides, I agree with you all when saying it probably wouldn't have done any good in the situation I was in.  Those folks had already made up their minds and would have probably thought I was just trying to make excuses for my bad parenting.   It isn't often Sam looses it like that in public anyways.  I just made a bad decision that day and I payed for it.  Live and learn I suppose.

~JEN~ family car

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