#Autism: “Thank You For Not Calling The Cops On Us”
3 months since we’ve moved into our home, across the street of our previous rental house, one of our neighbors introduced herself to us this Monday. We’ve seen her family, we’ve waved and said hi to each other but never really had a nice conversation with her until Monday. She saw Scott and Caine doing target shooting in the backyard, Emma and I were watching them and taking pictures. She came by and asked if Caine wanted to shoot some hoops with her son. We’re in a small and private neighborhood. We’re quiet and we keep to ourselves with the occasional neighborly greetings. We talk to a couple of neighbors but not this particular one.
So we were having a nice conversation about the house, family, birdfeeders, work, and their business which they have to drive to for an hour and a half every day. There was a slight pause so I told Scott we should probably tell her about Emma. We informed her that she has Autism. She said she figured as much. She sees her playing outside. She’d noticed her little backpack when riding her scooter. Her cute little outfits as well. And sometimes, outbursts and meltdowns. She heard her screaming one day and then watched us from her window trying to pacify Emma and take control of the situation as patiently as we could. There were also times she’d try to actually talk to Emma but that she would just smile and nod. She told us her son has ADHD so she was wondering if that was the case with Emma too but didn’t want to intrude.
The flow of the conversation was nice. There was no judgment or uneasiness. When she was telling us about hearing a scream one day and saw us all outside I joked lightly, “Thank You For Not Calling The Cops On Us.” I don’t know about other Autism families but as Scott told our nice neighbor, one of our fears is that one of these days one of the neighbors would just call the cops because there’s a screaming kid next door. When Emma was younger and had the worse sleeping habit, we were always so afraid a cop would come by our house at 2am. We are able to laugh about it now because it is what it is and this is our reality. Scott and I assured ourselves that it’s better if a cop would knock on our door or approach us in public so we could explain the situation instead of an actual kidnapping happening in a parking lot, God forbid.
We are just glad that things have gotten so much better now. Emma has been doing so much progress in handling her emotions and sensory issues at home and when we’re out and about. Everything takes practice, patience, exposure, and proper planning. All of these have helped us tremendously. Expect the unexpected but thank God for progress.
So yeah, it was nice to finally inform our neighbor. Lo and behold, Emma started talking to her too. She finally felt comfortable around the neighbor that she was expressing her thoughts in words. The neighbor was quite surprised as well, but we waited until Emma was out of earshot to acknowledge what just happened. We had to end our conversation coz we were getting eaten by bugs. We are glad that our private corner in this neighborhood is aware of Emma and Autism. We don’t socialize much these days except for immediate family and very few close friends so having informed and understanding neighbors around us is a relief.