Are we really living in the Year 2009?

There are times in my journey to save the world and change the lives of those with Asperger's Sydnrome/Autism, that I question "Why am I doing this? Why not let someone else take up the fight?" and recently these thoughts have been on my mind. Fate, though, has a unique way of helping you answer these questions.

On the weekend I travelled to a huge outdoor Country Market:- home to lovely organic produce of all types - vegetables, fruit, homemade cheese and yoghurts, gluten-free products, herbal teas for all types of ailments/conditions, spices, jams and chutneys and the best range of bric-a-brac I've seen in a long time.

It was a glorious warm spring day and the markets were full of all types of people choosing items to sustain them - either physically or emotionally. We'd all come from far and wide to indulge our need for something different.

However, my day was ruined by one 'un-enlightened, totally Autism-unaware" Yoghurt vendor who shouted at a young Autistic boy. Of course the child proceeded to spontaneously "melt-down" and his mother started to yell and cry "What are you doing? He has a disability! I'm sick of this - we can't go anywhere without someone abusing my child!"

With my heart racing and my anger flaring, instinct took over and I felt I must step in to help the mother. But when I got there I was rendered speechless....What do I say? What do I do? Would she see me as a threat or would she welcome the intervention? Do I give the vendor a piece of my mind, or do I give him a half hour lesson on Autism/Asperger's Syndrome? These were my thoughts as the distraught mother and child moved away. Futilely I tailed them to make certain they were safe. Then I had to sit down and calm myself - collect my thoughts.

When my anger subsided, reflection led me to the realisation that all I can do is offer my help. Perhaps a simple question such as "Can I help you?" or "Do you need assistance?" would be all that is needed. I've promised myself that I will ask this question everytime I see someone who might need a small show of support, in this terribly crazy world.

As for the Yoghurt vendor - no I didn't give him a piece of my mind - raising awareness in other ways is much more effective.