June 5, 2007


Today in the supermarket I saw a woman with a young son in a sort of understated harness. Someone had written 'autism' across the strap over his chest in permanent marker. I was initially surprised by the absurdity of this, then impressed with the forthrightness. It was quite unique to see such a thing. It was obviously a means of avoiding any misunderstanding, and it was really cool to see something so honest. This mother had made a rather astute judgment that anyone worth interacting with would immediately grasp the entire rationale that went into writing 'autism' in block letters on her son, and could therefore take it as an unspoken pretext without going through an explanation. Moreover, it was a statement that having autism isn't something that it makes sense to hide or be awkward about. The whole message was very compact. It was nice to see that kind of boldness and disdain for typical social morés.