If you’ve ever wondered how children with Autism would have been seen in the Middle Ages… well, a renfaire really is probably at least as close as you’ll get to the concept.
We enjoy going to the Maryland Renaissance Festival. We’ve been hitting it since before we had kids, and even now with children, we still try to go at least once a year to enjoy the sights.
Of course, it was much easier before we had a child on the Spectrum. We’ve made a few adjustments, but there’s things that just keep creeping in to make it more difficult still. (Maybe next year, or the year after, we’ll just arrange for a sitter…)
First was a “comic” who seemed quite the cross fellow when we wandered over to see his show (supposedly comedy and magic). He was open about the fact that he doesn’t really like kids… but before he’d really gotten into his act, the Monster had a mini-meltdown due to the heat. I was in the process of getting him up and away already so he’d not be interrupting the show, when the man had to speak up. I don’t recall what the exact words were, but the sentiment was to the effect of “shut up your shrieking brat”.
I had a half a mind to cuss the guy out – to yell back about the fact that the Monster has Autism, and that I was doing my best to draw him away so the guy could perform… but I knew better. He’d either come back with something that would further incite me, or say something that’d make me feel worse than I already did about my “brat”… and that’s not why I was at the renfaire. (I’ll write them a letter later.)
But that was a harbinger for the day, really. The Monster isn’t in the mode he was in back when he was two or so, and into the drums and the sounds and the animals. Today was a sensory day – he was being more tactile than anything else, wanting to play with the stones and dirt and sand and straw rather than concentrate on other things around him. We let him have a good long play at the playground at the back of the grounds, though that mostly consisted of what has been his habit of late, picking up leaves and dirt, and tossing them over the side to watch them drop.
And of course, there were the stares, mostly when he’d pitch a fit about being drawn along to wherever we were going next, or to when he was sitting at a show and more content to pick at a hay bale than watch the performer on the Wheel of Death.
So let them stare. Because, really, in the end, who are they to judge?