Adjusting to society can be difficult for many people. Some suffer from introversion, social anxiety, low self-esteem, which requires a lot of strength to feel comfortable with others. There are, however, even more struggling ones, who have less control of their condition, They need extra help and support, such as people living with autism spectrum disorder.
Over 3.5 million Americans live with autism and are just as equal members of society as everyone else. Most of us realize that there is a need for understanding and support for those living with mental health issues. Unfortunately, from time to time we see stories emerge displaying how little sympathy some have towards autistic people. This is one of those stories.
Relentless neighborhood watch
Magenta Quinn, Brisbane resident and a mother of the mentally disabled son, recently moved to her new home and received a rather cold welcome. One morning she was picking up her mail and was unpleasantly surprised with a letter she got from one of the neighbors.
The neighbor informed Ms. Quinn that he is disturbed with the noises coming from her backyard, which sound like loud moaning and humming. Instead of talking to Magenta first, the neighbor decided to contact the authorities, who informed him that there is a mentally disabled person living in the family causing the noise.
We contacted the police…they informed us of your situation that a person in your family is suffering from a mental illness and that was the source of the noise.
The neighbor was less than sympathetic towards the explanation and insisted that Magenta should “consider the neighbors” and take actions to limit her son’s time in the family garden, which is when the noise becomes disturbing. If Ms. Quinn would not comply with the neighbor’s “compromise”, he warned her that further consequences will follow.
If this continues at the regular intervals it has been, I intend to make a formal complaints against your address to council to help resolve the issue.
Magenta was appalled by the letter and decided to share it with the local community on Facebook to share her concerns. Her post received viral and beyond positive feedback with people displaying support towards Ms. Quinn and her son.
She further explained that moaning and humming is her son’s way of dealing with his condition and asking him to stop would be “the same as telling someone to stop breathing”.
Ms. Quinn added that she never received any complaints in her previous neighborhood, except for one person who would express his displeasure from time to time. “I was there for four years and no one complained,” she said.
No patience for bullying
The story reached CEO of Autism Awareness Australia Nicole Rogerson who was disturbed and outraged by the letter. She addressed it by saying that everyone has the right to know the situation in their neighborhood if they notice a problem. However, after learning about special circumstances that cause the issue, neighbors should be understanding, reevaluate their attitude, and adjust.
Most people that find out about Magenta Quinn’s story are sympathetic to her situation as they can see that she must be having a hard-enough time without having to deal with displeased neighbors.
Magenta’s story shows that in order to co-exist in a community, people must learn tolerance and support each other. Especially in cases that require more effort.
Basics of communication with mentally challenged
We never know when in life we can encounter an autistic person. It is best to be prepared and aware of their needs and how to talk to them without making them uncomfortable.
Remember these simple tips when communicating with mentally disabled:
- Don’t force eye contact.
- Find peaceful surroundings.
- Avoid unexpected touching.
- Take your time speaking clearly and in a calm manner.
- Let them stim if needed.
- Ask questions about their needs if unsure how to act.
- Initiate and keep control of the conversation.
- Find a common interest
- Be polite.
- Treat them with the same interest and respect you treat everyone else.
Share your thoughts on this story and any experience you might’ve had with mentally challenged people in your life.
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