The stops, the stares and the glares.

My name is Oliver Riding, and my brother John, has severe autism.

This is my letter to the people I’ve seen on some other blogs about autism, to carers who talk about comments and stares in public, even about being too worried to leave the house.

I used to feel embarrassment and shame about my brother, when he would urinate in public, get naked when he was hot, and shriek in restaurants. But now I’m 21, and I treat these things for what they are, mildly amusing!

What I have come to realise is that when people stare, whisper and are generally passive aggressive, there’s only one person making you feel bad about it. You.

Only you can give these ignorant, small minded fools the power to make your life miserable, and by the same token, only you have the power to make it not matter.

This is no trivial thing. Parents with children who are autistic, or any disability for that matter, have to be strong in so many ways. I know it’s hard, I really do, but unlike all the other endless trials you have to go through: the effort to avoid that meltdown, the effort to maintain that routine, to do all those things that make no intrinsic sense to you but you do anyway because you must, this one has an end. This one strength can set you free.

Realise that the stares only reflect on the people that stare, they reflect ignorance and hatefulness and a lack of love. That same love you show every day in all your efforts. I don’t want you to hate these people, who needs more hate? Feel pity.

It breaks my heart to read of people who feel trapped to their homes because of these feelings, if I had the time and resources, I would walk with each and every one of you! I would stand by your side and I would laugh at every stare, every snigger, and I would feel so lucky that my parents had the wisdom to teach me that it is right. These people do not deserve to judge you, because you have a strength that they cannot even fathom.

I want to end with a positive note, I was inspired to write this by the comments from this article, The wonderful people at the BBC made a huge difference to this little girl, and such acts of kindness can get you through so much.

There are also some wonderful t-shirts and things available on the world wide web, my personal favourite, ‘Autism, it’s not for wimps!’

Thank you for reading, and be strong!

This blog is intended as a sounding board for the book I am currently writing in my spare time, so please get back to me on if you enjoy these articles, if you have any advice on tone, or structure, any constructive criticism at all is extremely welcome, thank you.

My brothers home is being taken apart! please follow this twitter account and support our fight to keep it for the sake of all the residents!