My son does not technically have autism. He has fragile x syndrome with autistic like features. That means that his fragile x symptoms are very similar to that of a child with autism and his IEP, is behaviour therapies, his education is geared as though he were autistic. He lacks many behaviours, but he has enough of them, that it is the best treatment program for him. With that being said...
As parents of children with autism or any disability for that matter is to educate the world, not be in defiance of it. We already know our children are wired differently, differently enough that it makes it difficult for them to operate in society in a way that is socially acceptable. WE know all this. But how can someone else? My son doesn't look any different from any other little boy his age. If you watch him, you would not know that he doesn't talk, that he's a bit different. Not until he acts out or does something that is outside of the norm for society. Therefore, how can we condemn someone that responds badly to our children and their behaviour? We can't, we shouldn't. We should educate them in a way that is appropriate. There are cards that you can purchase from the ASA or from Ebay that you can give to people. The ones I have say this:
"My child has autism. He is nto being naughty and we are not being bad parents for not reprimanding him. Children with autism can often behave in an unpredictable manner because they find it hard to cope with many every day situations. They are quite simply, doing their best. Please be patient."
Then it gives a link to the ASA.
We need to be aware that the public doesn't necesarily understand, but that doesn't make them bad people, it makes them uneducated. Who's going to educated them, if not us? If not our children? Some of our chilren, like my son, have no voice, they do not speak, they cannot educate or tell people what they need to know. I do that for him.
Another thing that we can do is support eachother in public. It is difficult, especially when you're alone. I am a single mother and having help or support isn't always available to me. On at least three sperate occasions that I can think of off the top of my head, someone who was understanding, educated and also a parent came to my rescue publically and I will never forget those women or how they made me feel.
It is not easy our lives. We love our children just the way they are and at the same time we wish their lives were easier. We want to protect them from the evils of the world and its cruelness. Our first reaction is anger to someone who is being rude or discouraging to our children. We just need to remember, if the world is going to change, we are the ones that have to help that happen. Educate everyone you can and help everyone you see that might just need a little extra support.
It starts here, with us and our children.