The emotions we experience throughout our life are often because of something that has happened, for example, a birth or a death, perhaps a milestone or a financial windfall. But since Amy was diagnosed with autism seven years ago I have experienced many emotions, some due to the ignorance of people around us who make no effort to understand a disability. This is often because that person has never come into contact with a disabled person, or indeed a person who is different from themselves. It doesn't matter where we go we are always just a stone's throw away from someone who thinks they have a right to judge. It is of course human nature to talk about someone and allow our thoughts to stray from those worthy of a mention, but when it comes to people judging my offspring, that is when I really make a stand and show a side of me that ignorant people assume does not exist. Even though our recent visit to Scotland was relaxing and beautiful, it also highlighted the fact that Amy offers a somewhat alternative approach to our typical way of life. I have never said she is different because she is Amy. To me, she is my daughter and I love her more than anything in the world, no matter what she looks like, how she behaves or how incredible she is; I love her unconditionally.
For some people however, I would never wish a disabled child upon for fear of that child being neglected, unloved and most probably made to feel 'different'. We went in the swimming pool on two occasions; we enjoyed our swim and had fun in the water but it was becoming obvious after about fifteen minutes of being in the pool that we were being carefully watched, observed by a burly female who has obviously never seen a disabled child in a swimming pool before. Having fun. I had to tell Amy a few times not to throw her goggles in case she hit another child with them, but she always made sure no one was around her when she played a game of "retrieving goggles from the bottom of the pool". But still she was watched. It was clear that most of the people in the pool were members of the private health club belonging to the hotel and they obviously thought they owned the place. One woman swam with a full mask of makeup on including bright red lipstick. It was only when Amy almost clobbered her with a float that she actually got her hair wet, and I had to heavily contain myself from laughing out loud.
She was excited, she was on holiday. She was enjoying herself, being grown up in the restaurant, using her manners, helping herself to apple juice at breakfast. I was so proud of her. I know her better than anyone and I knew there were times that I wished she'd have been a little calmer, especially in the company of others; but it wasn't until that second time in the pool when I realised that it was the 'other people' who were different, and not my Amy. Their attitude towards her was of ignorance and disbelief, even though some of them had younger children of their own who were loud, brash and splashing about all over the place. But of course their children don't have a disability. So they must be perfect. Well I have news for you ignorant people in the swimming pool, and indeed the ignorant ones who choose to judge; "No child is perfect, but they are all special."