The Autism Awareness Bandit


The other day Rhema casually got out of the minivan, walked around to the back, ripped off our Autism Awareness car magnet and tore it into pieces.

I seriously stood there dumbfounded and disturbed.

What in the world was that supposed to mean?

“But… but… now our van will feel naked, Rhema! How am I ever to find the van in a crowded parking lot without that magnet!”

She seemed oblivious to my ramblings.

I’ll go inside and order another one right away. People must know that we’re touched by autism. People must be aware.

I felt somehow stripped of my identity. “I am of the autism mother tribe. I am blogger. I am educator. I am advocate. I am… in need of a chill pill.” I laughed at myself.

A couple days later we were walking into the grocery store when Rhema suddenly made a beeline for an SUV in the parking lot. I spotted the autism ribbon on the back, and then realized Rhema’s intentions.

“No, Rhema, nooooooooooooooooooooooo.”

The girl has eyes like a hawk – it doesn’t even seem like she’s looking, but she’s sees everything.

I caught her before she could break the magnet into pieces. Hoping no one was watching, I slapped the magnet back onto the vehicle, grabbed her hand and rushed into the store.

When we came out the SUV was still there, and Rhema headed straight for the magnet. But this time I was prepared, and I literally carried her back to our car.

I had to giggle. My child with autism just might manage to remove all the Autism Awareness ribbons from the whole town!

Yesterday we were in a crowded waiting room at her therapy center. Rhema was playing with a train set while her teacher and I talked. I looked up and noticed a ribbon magnet on an office door clear across the room.

Oh no.

Rhema seemed to see it the same time I did because she bolted towards the door.

In mid-conversation, I lunged for her.

I tripped over a little kid on the floor, scrambled up, bumped into someone and finally caught up to Rhema. But it was too late. She’d already broken a piece of the magnet. I grabbed the pieces, tried to fit them together and put them back on the door.

I turned around to see the occupants of the waiting room looking at us curiously. No one seemed surprised, they were probably all used to the unexpected. (Speaking of the unexpected, you must read this post!).

“Rhema seems to have a thing for Autism magnets,” I announced.

So if you have one, and you discover it’s missing, call me and I’ll replace it.”


By the way, I still have not ordered a new magnet. Maybe something different like Floortime Lite Mama? Maybe nothing at all for a while. For a time, autism or ‘life with autsim’ was all-consuming. It just isn’t anymore… I’m finally finding balance.

24 thoughts on “The Autism Awareness Bandit

  1. I have an autism buttterfly. It’s not a magnet so it’s stuck up high on the back window. It comes off easily.

    heheeh now I know who swiped my mom’s though.

  2. LOL thats funny! Does she know what the ribbon means and how it is related to her? Does she have some sort of pent up anger about autism? Or is it just the ribbon itself that seems to piss her off?!!!

  3. And it leaves us to wonder just how much children (w ASD’s or otherwise) really do understand. Wondering her thoughts behind it? Only God knows…

    Again I will say, you are amazing.

    And Rhema and Hope are both amazing girls. They obviously have an excellent guide/mother/teacher/friend.
    You are doing a great job 🙂

    I understand Brandon will be home this weekend. Have a wonderful time with your family!


  4. Good for her maybe she does not like Labels,She is God’s Child and maybe you should just get a fish magnet.
    Just a thought.

  5. “My child with autism just might manage to remove all the Autism Awareness ribbons from the whole town!”

    I guess Rhema thinks we’re all aware enough!

    : )

    Seriously though, it sounds like she’s having a fun time playing the rip down the autism magent game. Her version of I Spy.

  6. ditto Katelyn’s comment.

    LOVEd the post on the unexpected.

    Feeling kindred with Rhema on the car magnets. I think ‘awareness’ campaigns largely benefit the persons who sell them. Real understanding of the complexity of any diagnosis comes from interaction between people. That’s what’s in my head. But for Rhema, actions speak louder than words.

  7. How is it possible that something could be so fascinating and so funny at the same time? I’m with Pixie – I don’t care much for the puzzle design, yet I’ve had one on my car for years. Incidentally, in August, the entire thing came off in the car wash. It was weird, because it’s the same car wash I’ve been going to for years, and the magnet always seemed like it was baked on – never came off before. But now it’s off, and for whatever reason I haven’t replaced it yet. Maybe I’ll get something different too. Glad you’re finding balance. xoxo

  8. I could not believe this story! The Autism Awareness magnet which is currently on our fridge in 4 separate pieces is in 4 separate pieces because a year ago, Jonathan decided to chew it apart and I have yet to replace it! What are these kids telling us????

  9. Boy, there’s some message in that, now isn’t there?? LOL!

    I like my autism magnet. It helped me switch lanes in bumper to bumper NYC traffic last weekend (another car with an autism magnet let me in, LOL)

  10. Funny! I’ve got the magnets on my car as well. I forget about them until a stranger waves at me and I realize why when I see the back of their car-another magnet!

  11. Well, I’ve been wanting to get one of these magnets but don’t know where to find them! But now maybe I should think twice…. 🙂

  12. too funny – maybe now I know where mine went (got taken at a football game last Friday – not the ribbon kind, but the puzzle piece Autism Awareness one). 🙂

  13. LOL. I can imagine the waiting room occupants. Sounds like my visits….to anywhere. LOL.

    I don’t have an autism magnet. I should get one. Actually, I could plaster a whole bunch of magnets on my minivan!

    (Sorry I’ve been gone so long. Got caught up in some things)

  14. Pingback: Teen Autism » Blog Archive » Time for a Change

  15. Pingback: All I need to know « Autism In a Word

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