The mom made an internet post earlier this week on the popular Hoboken Moms Yahoo newsgroup, which has more than 3,000 parents on its list. Sometimes, the list merely includes events and suggestions, but occasionally parents debate controversial issues.
The mom posted this week that she had been trying to relax in Columbus Park with her baby and her older autistic son, but said that another mom was less than understanding. She posted in order to bring awareness to the issue of autism.
She wrote, "My son has autism. I love him beyond words, but I live in a pressure cooker. ... Today, I was having a surprisingly peaceful moment while my son happily swung on a swing. My baby sat in my lap, and I took the moment to catch my breath. A mother leaned into my son's face & repeatedly told him his time on the swing was up & it was time to give others a turn (I could feel my heart speed up, as I was just waiting for him to push her away). I called to her & explained that he is on the autism spectrum, and if it's all the same to her, please just understand that he just got on only 7 or 8 minutes ago, and we are on edge today. She told me it wasn't fair because of the few other kids that LITERALLY just started waiting. She then said 'Fine, but then YOU need to explain to the other kids WHY they have to wait.' "
After the mom posted on the HobokenMoms newsgroup, other parents chimed in with posts saying they were sorry that this happened, and that they understood.
According to an autism web site, "Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors."
The rate of children diagnosed with autism in New Jersey has drastically increased in recent history, perhaps to as high as 1 in 57, according to this recent news story.
One mom forwarded the woman's original internet post to the Reporter on Tuesday as part of a letter about Autism Awareness Month, to be published this weekend. (Come back here on Sunday to read the letter, provided it is verified with the author by then, and pick up your print edition on your doorstep this weekend.)
And what of the original autism mom? She posted to HobokenMoms again later on saying that as a result of her original post, she received more than 30 personal responses offering encouragement -- including from two dads. She said that some of those who wrote to her pledged to learn more about autism.
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