Hope in Humanity Restored: Cafe Customers Protect Autistic Child
Thought the world often seems cruel and few seem to understand us, certain events lead us to have restored faith in humanity's ability to act in a humane manner. Having an autistic child does not mean one is to be locked up at home, barely leaving the nest to catch a breath of air and hiding those with autism as if they were lepers with a contagious disease. Too often, we keep to ourselves, preferring to shy away from society and the cruel stares/comments we are sure to receive.
Why the Restored Faith?
Personally, life has shown me that people are often ignorant, and when this is the case, they are often very cruel. This isn't because the victim of their taunts is in the wrong, but because the bully feels it is his right to establish the fact that some sort of hierarchy exists, wherein the victim is of a lower status than he or she. This is, of course, an absurd thought. After all, we are all born in the same manner, have the same abilities (though each individual has his or her own particular strengths which shadow that of others'), and will die sooner or later. None of us are immortal gods with superpowers that make us somehow better than all the rest. So when I see ordinary people realizing that the bullied is in fact no different than the bully and standing up for the victim's rights, I let out a yelp of joy.
This is the case with one particular video I found on Youtube. A social experiment to capture the raw emotions and unhampered behavior of the average person, the ABC program "What Would You Do?" decided to test the reaction of cafe customers when faced with an autistic child's socially unacceptable behavior, as well as what they would do when a fellow customer decides to insult the autistic child's family.
The result was somewhat shocking. I will not lie, I expected many of those customers to find having an autistic child being loud, repeating himself and pacing about annoying. The reaction of the actor I expected to come from someone sitting near the "family" and for no one to really come to their aid. I was pleasantly surprised to see that there are many tolerant individuals who find the insulting manner in which the actor responded to the "autistic" boy's behavior disgusting. I believe my eyes lit up and I once again believe in humanity.
There are people out there who understand the situation families of autistic kids are in and sympathize. Instead of alienating them, they accept and encourage those who would normally hole up at home in fear of society's ridicule and cruelty. This experiment is great in showing parents of special needs children that they can face the world, because for every cruelly ignorant man or woman out there, an equally tolerant and encouraging one exists. The more we educate the public about autism, the more autistic individuals will get to enjoy the world as any typical person does.
I say bravo to all those out there who are willing to stand up against injustice and accept all individuals equally. I hope everyone is lucky enough to know a friend, family member, or even stranger who behaves thus. Families with autistic children deserve the same treatment as those with neurotypicals. After all, we are all human.