Dear Stranger, I Need You To Protect My Autistic Child When I’m Not Around

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“Why is Autism awareness important?

There are many reasons, but to me there is one that is most important.

I am the mom to a seven-year-old little boy who happens to be autistic.

Before my son, I had no idea what autism was. Sure… I had heard of it, here and there, but I couldn’t tell you what it meant. I wouldn’t have seen the signs in a stranger.

When my son’s autism was discovered, everything suddenly changed.

I began researching and learning everything I could.

The truth is you can read a lot about autism on the internet. You will find charts and studies and articles from doctors. But the thing is, those aren’t the things I used to understand autism.

I looked to the moms.

I read stories of moms who had been on their autism journeys long before me. I learned from their words and I asked lots of questions.

The secret club of autism mamas?

They taught me everything I know.

I am about 4 years into my journey with autism and, while I am no expert, now I am one of those moms.

One of the moms sharing the stories to teach the world about my baby.

You see, now I understand why it is so important for the world to understand autism.

Why it’s important for the world to understand my boy.

My boy is loud. He squeals and yells and makes all the sounds, but he doesn’t speak.

Not in the traditional sense anyway.

If you ask him a question, he probably won’t answer.

He flaps his arms and throws his body around.

He might hit or kick, but he isn’t trying to hurt you.

Without autism awareness, you might think he is weird.

Or bad.

Or scary.

But don’t think those things. They aren’t true.

He is just a boy trying his very best to live in a world that wasn’t built for him.

Sometimes it feels like my son is frozen in time. His body will keep growing but, on the inside, he might always just be my baby.

I don’t say that in the sense of a mom wanting to keep her child little forever.

I mean developmentally, my son may never really be an adult.

He may still be a boy in a full grown man’s boy.

He is defenseless, my guy, and it’s my job to protect him.

I protect him fiercely and with my whole heart, but I am not always going to be enough.

There is only one of me.

And a whole big world that he needs protecting from.

That is why Autism awareness is important to me.

It is important to me because, one day, I might need you.

I might need your help.

I try to be everywhere, all at once, but sometimes I’m not.

No matter how much I hate it, there are times that my boy is not with me.

There are times where I have to send my sweet, defenseless, perfect baby out into the world, and I just have to pray that he will be okay.

That’s where you come in.

That is why autism awareness is important.

To every single person reading this, I need you to remember what I say next.

The reason why autism awareness is so important is simple.

If there was a school shooter, my son wouldn’t hide.

If there was a fire, he wouldn’t run.

If someone took advantage of him, he couldn’t speak up.

If someone abused him, he wouldn’t fight back.

He is just a boy, even though he might not look like it one day.

And so I need you.

I need you to protect him when I can’t.

I need you to help him hide.

I need you to tell him to run.

I need you to speak up.

I need you to fight.

I need you to help me protect him, because I won’t always be able to do it.

I am just one mom, but there are thousands like me.

Thousands of moms who search their children’s bodies for bruises after school and panic every time they see a firetruck when they’re not with their baby.

We need you.

We need you to care about autism as much as we do.

Not just during Autism Awareness month, but always.

Our children’s lives depend on it.”

Courtesy of Maykayla Hazelton

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Maykayla Hazelton. Submit your own story hereand be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more about autism:

‘What happens to my girl when society realizes it’s not ‘cute’ anymore? How do I make people see the beauty I see?’: Mom to daughter with autism urges us to challenge our idea of beauty

‘I whipped around fast. ‘You leave him ALONE.’ He covered his ears, flapping his arms. The man snickered under his breath.’: 70-year-old woman thanks special needs mom for opening her eyes to autism, ‘You taught me patience and kindness’

‘You’re hired!’ His face lit up. My boy was smiling. He cannot read social cues and gets easily overwhelmed. He has no restaurant experience. But they gave him a chance.’: Mom thanks restaurant for hiring son with autism, ‘There are still good people’

5 Things You Can Do To Support Your Friends Who Are Parenting Autism

April is Autism Awareness Month. Please SHARE this story on Facebook with family and friends to spread the word.

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