‘No one stops the wheelchairs, the elderly, or those with physical markers of disability. Just our family.’: Mom of 2 kids with autism shares PSA on traveling

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“I can’t believe I still have to write articles about this but I won’t quit until autism acceptance becomes the norm, not the exception.

Every single time I travel with my kids someone questions us for medically boarding.

No one stops the wheelchairs.

No one stops the elderly or those with physical markers of disability.

Just our family.

I have great compassion for this because ‘invisible’ disabilities are hard to identify and a crowded airport isn’t always the right time for a long lesson.

So let me share my thoughts now:

We all have something that marks us as different.

It may be physical like a missing limb.

It may be mental like depression or schizophrenia.

Some people may have conditions that don’t show like high blood pressure, while others have a diagnosis on display like eczema or alopecia.

The point is, we all have something we struggle with that the world may not be able to see.

Autism is no different.

If you wouldn’t question someone’s balding head then you shouldn’t question a child’s flapping arms either.

But what should be required is erring on the side of kindness.

My hope is, one day you see a family waiting to board a plane or shopping in a store, and you remember two little travelers from Texas who work tirelessly to keep it together.

You remember there might be a mother white-knuckling her way through life because she’s exhausted from teaching skills that come so easily to others.

My dream is, one day a family like mine doesn’t make you say anything at all.

Simply because we’re finally understood.”

Courtesy of Stephanie Hanrahan

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Stephanie Hanrahan. Follow Stephanie on Facebook, Instagram and her websiteSubmit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.

Read more from Stephanie here: 

‘My Son’s teacher recently friended me on social media. I came upon a picture of her holding a chalkboard sign that read, ‘I said YES!’ She’s already married, so it struck me as odd.’

‘That’s when I heard the thud. The sound of a two-hundred-plus pound body hitting the nightstand next to our bed. A healthy, thirty-one-year old, former athlete doesn’t just drop.’

‘I wrote a stranger. ‘Help me. I’m scared. Please. I need to understand my daughter.’ I begged her to give me the secret. ‘Will we be okay?’ Real-life ‘princess’ helps ease mother’s fears over daughter’s autism diagnosis

‘You have the perfect family.’ That’s what they saw. A life tied up in a pretty little bow. No one could’ve known what was happening behind closed doors.’

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