Thursday, 27 November 2008

Mobile phone filming

C just loves to watch peoples feet as they pass by - he can get very excited much to the shock/horror and amusement of those passing. Their jaws drop to the floor, some stand rooted to the spot as they try and understand what they are seeing. Some trip as they aren’t looking where they are going. And of course you get a range of comments made.
To be fair many people do not even notice him and some are very friendly and come over for a chat.
C does this everywhere we go. He has a favourite spot in our local shopping centre near the base of an escalator, there is also a cafe where my friend and I catch up over a latte keeping our eyes peeled for any potential trouble, whilst C is in his sensory heaven.

The security guards know us well (as we have been doing this for about 10 years now) and keep an eye on C as in the past there have been the odd incident of small gangs of kids surrounding C. I have become hardened to the comments and the stares but its teenagers filming C on their mobiles that I cannot ignore. And this seems to be happening more often. C seems totally oblivious to it all!But as C is so happy watching feet - he’s not in anyone’s way and keeps himself to him self I am not going to stop him doing this. So what can I do? Any ideas?
My friend and I have found if we pretend to film the filmers they soon stop. Last week I actually took a photo of 2 lads thinking I will put it on my blog. But of course that would make me as bad as them - so I haven’t.

I did email my local police to ask if it was illegal to take photos of someone without their consent. And apparently its not!!

"It is not illegal to film or take photos of anyone although if the group of youths are the same group who continue to film your son this could potentially be harassment which is an offence."

So does this mean different youths taking films is not harassment??! I decided to write to a few other organisations to see if anyone could offer advice. And thought I would share the responses, they weren't very helpful but some of the links may be useful to others who are being harassed.

Mencap said
Thank you for your email. Unfortunately we are not in a position to advise on this situation, however there are a few organisations I would suggest you approach. You could try the Citizens Advice Bureau. You might also find it useful to approach Chilndet, who provide information on Internet safety, or Respond, who offer counselling and advice/support on abuse for people with a learning disability.

I emailed Respond but they haven’t responded!

The NAS suggested i contact Community Legal Advice.

I emailed The Office for disability issues;
For guidance on your son's rights under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) you may wish to contact the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). The commission is an independent organisation which provides advice and information to disabled people and the general public, amongst others, on a range of subjects, including on disabled people's rights under the DDA. website at
The DDA prohibits discrimination in the context of employment, education and transport, and the provision of goods, facilities and services.
The DDA says that harassment occurs where, for a reason which relates to a person’s disability, another person engages in unwanted conduct which has the purpose or effect of violating the disabled person’s dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading or humiliating environment for him. A new provision, explicitly outlawing harassment for a reason related to a person’s disability, was introduced in 2004. It does not, however, cover hate crime, general harassment in public places, or specific types of abuse.
However, other legislation may be relevant. The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 provides some protection against harassment and the Criminal Justice Act 2003 places a statutory duty on sentencers to increase sentences for offences aggravated by hostility towards the victim because of his or her disability.
You may also wish to have a look at the Crown Prosecution Service's policy statement on disability hate crime:
You may also wish to note for example (pg. 46) that the Department for Children, Schools and Families has convened a taskforce on "cyberbullying". See also the proposals concerning removing inappropriate content from such sites as YouTube (pps. 32-37).
Yours sincerely,

I emailed the Equality and Human Rights Commission - they just suggested I contact a solicitor.
My Case manager has also flagged C up to the Police Vulnerable Adults Unit, so they are aware of C and what is happening.

There are various Autism awareness alert/information cards that I could hand out but I was thinking of designing my own - what would you write on it?
Since writing this


joker the lurcher said...

filming on mobile phones is something i came across a bit in my old job. but i think maybe because C is not aware of it you may find it does not amount to harassment. some of the bits of law have the test of whether the behaviour would make 'someone' harassed, alarmed or distressed ie - someone in theory rather than having to prove it actually did, but a lot of this stuff requires someone to have been affected themselves.

have you tried a plant sprayer filled with water? no-one likes their phone to get wet...

Phoebe said...

I think he looks so delighted. My son is a hooting swaying squealing fellow too, but at 5.5 he still falls under society's "cute" umbrella.

I love the "film the filmers" approach.

Anonymous said...

That is indeed a problem. All of our advances in technology have been such a help in many ways but this is one example of people having no tact or care for others. I imagine it makes being out and about quite stressful and frustrating.
I wonder if the cards explaining Autism would help with the groups of kids filming or just egg them on? It is so hard to know with that age group as many are just You Tube addicted. It would be worth a shot though.
I wish I had some ideas for you. I will have to think more about this. Please keep us posted in regards to what you come up with and any help you find.

bobbie said...

Isn't it interesting that "Respond" did not respond.

I don't think that in general, taking photos of people in public places can be stopped. Personally, I wouldn't do it without permission, but these kids aren't going to worry about that. My concern would be that they might want to put something on YouTube.

I am happy that C does not seem to be upset by it. Wish I could offer something more encouraging.

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

It's clearly ignorance and they find him odd but funny. I like the idea of filming them - I would say that is the most effective. But, there might be an opportunity here to educae these kids and yes maybe a short card explaining autism would be a great idea. Lots of teenagers are great kids that are very open to learning about stuff like this. I think you could reach them so very well given your communication skills and great direct manner.

Tanya Brown said...

My first reaction was happiness at those pictures. C looks like he's having a good time, listening to music only he can hear. I glad you take him out for his foot watching, which may be an entertainment on par with going to a movie or reading a good book. I wonder if he'd also enjoy videos of people walking?

How to handle the young twerps, though? Sadly, I think you came up with a good approach, pretending to film the filmers. It really gets the point across in a visceral manner. I suppose the security guard is there in case anyone gets confrontational.

The problem is, the situation you're encountering is sort of a "perfect storm" of several factors: a wired-in youth culture in which people wish to share any and all experiences they have, the natural human fascination with anything different, and a big dollop of ignorance and insensitivity.

An awareness card? Heh heh. I don't think the kinds of things I want to write this instant would be very helpful. They're laced with profanity. How dare people mess with your baby, anyhow?

Tim said...

Agree with the above comments, but what a case of buck-passing you've encountered! What's the point of paying for these organisations if none of them dare give an answer to a simple question?

Halo said...

Hi Casdok

Sorry to hear this is still happening. Unfortunatly they would probably use the card to 'skin up' with knowing the youth of today, but i could be wrong and they may take notice.

I really wish i could come up with something to help and hope you get some better advice.

My girl has just started to take an interest in watching feet too! Her face goes all tense and arms go up as if shes really enjoying it, she pulls the same face when i run the kitchen tape or pour baby powder.


DAB said...

Hmmm, I wish I had a solution. Maybe invest in a water pistol? But then maybe not as you're properly get arrested and charged. Filming the filmers seems like a good option to me. Good luck TFx

Anonymous said...

I think it could be considered taking advantage of a vulnerable person and thus investigated via US standards? I like the idea of him filming them!

Stat Mama said...

I like the idea of filming them back.

C is clearly enjoying himself and having a wonderful time. Just because his entertainment and expressions of happiness differ from the general population, this does not give others the right to make a show of him. I'm glad these people are not directly interfering with C's enjoyment of the shopping center, but really, how incredibly rude of them. Have you discussed this particular issue with the mall security people?

I do like the idea of autism alert cards, and I have created several versions of my own. You could write something like, "My son is an adult with autism. While his behavior may not seem typical to you, he is simply enjoying his environment and expressing happiness. Thank you for your understanding."

Of course, you could also make cards specifically targeted at the filmers, using a portion of that DDA info: "The DDA says that harassment occurs where, for a reason which relates to a person’s disability, another person engages in unwanted conduct which has the purpose or effect of violating the disabled person’s dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading or humiliating environment for him." That might be rather effective.

Paulene Angela said...

I have not come up against this yet, so far just the "looks and the pss pst". Glad C is busy looking elsewhere. The filming them approach seems a good idea.

You mentioned about the card idea,
I quickly worded up an Autism Awareness Sheet, see what you think, it is very difficult to get a happy balance, get the point across and keep the topic light!


Dear Friend,

I am amazed you find me so interesting, however I hate to disappoint you I am not a famous celebrity nor do I wish to be. I am just a young man who has autism.

Just like YOU, I am a member here on Planet Earth. Please respect my wishes not to be filmed.

There are over half a million people living here in the UK with autism. Despite this, autism is still relatively unknown and misunderstood.

If you wish to understand more about Autism .... Please visit and/or

Thank You for your cooperation
and I wish you a Nice Day

Anonymous said...

Unfortunatly you can't help people who are assholes.

I have a feeling if you gave them a card about autism it would just escalate their behaviour.

If you put pics of them on the internet and they found out they'd probably think it was a badge of honour and not be shamed by their bad behaviour.

I'm sorry they are ruining your happy times.

Anonymous said...

And you wonder why? It's really too bad you never had him in intensive ABA and helped him to learn and adapt better. Unending self-stimulatory is harmful, not helpful. Do some research. What kind of life have you given him? Not much of one it seems.

Casdok said...

Everyone needs down time from all the imput they have and this is C's.

Anonymous said...

The card idea might work - I think it's worth a try. Although personally, I like the sprayer idea! It's really a shame that people can't be more respectful of others and their differences.

P.S. Thanks for the Thanksgiving wishes! Love to you and C.

Tera said...

Hmmm, I can see where this would upset you. Have you considered creating some Autism t-shirts for when you are out in public to make the public aware what autism is and why C is behaving as he is? If he's wearing it on a shirt, they may take the time to read it and have a bit more compassion. But, we're still talking about that age group many of whom have no conscience. I don't have an answer, but I do have compassion for what you're dealing with. I'll think aboutt his some more.

Anonymous said...

A lot to think about here. First of all I am so sorry that your happy child is creatng an occasion where those senseless oafs-who have no notion how lucky they are-can make fun for their, more feeble minds. They have so much, too much in most cases, anything their adoring parents can give them, and yet they need to show off to their friends by making fun of C.
Statmama came up with a good card, but as someone else said...would they read it? Not all of them perhaps, but if you cold attract the attention of the ringleader, usually the one with the most intelligence, and get him on your side. Show him the card and say you would appreciate his help in getting the word out that C is just enjoying his life as best as he might work. If it doesn't...

Then use the water spray.

Lisamaree said...

Oh My Cas; why is it always our friend good old Anonymous who posts the thoughtless comment. Stimming is free, it doesnt pollute the atmosphere and it won't damage your liver. And I think the release of endorphins are good for your health and make you live longer.
As for the filming, well, I agree with Tanya, maybe do some filming of feet yourself and show C how to watch it on a phone. I am sure everyone of your readers have an old flip phone at home that they would happily send you. He could use it as a comfort when he needs it.
As for the little bastards filming C. Ignoring them sounds too simple. I know I would be tempted to hit them which wouldnt help anyone as I would get into trouble myself but could give my side of the story in court and perhaps get the little feckers into trouble with the judge. Don't give them a card, they will make fun of it and hurt you more.
I guess you can just concentrate on c's pleasure. And visualise how ashamed those kids are going to be when they have their own children.

Sending you and C love.
As for our pleasures? Boo loves credits, and the owner of the local multi-plex lets him run from screen to screen watching the end of each movie for Free!
And the cinema staff just wait for him to finish, before they start clearing up the popcorn and empty drink cups.

Anonymous: Get yourself a big glass of acceptance next time you are at the bar. There is something about all of us that makes us different, have a look inside.

Kit Courteney said...

"What kind of life have you given him?"

I'm afraid that having learnt so much from yours and C's experiences through this blog, I find that comment just plain weird.

I think the card idea is a very good one and what StatMama said sounds spot on to me. And pretending to take a picture is genius! As a teenager (granted, not some silly arse who feels the need to do pathetic things in a group) I'd have been mortified if while I'd been doing something that was clearly inappropriate someone had taken a picture of me!

But then I'm not the sort of individual who would film C!

My first thoughts on reading this post were: How lovely that he gets such enjoyment from something so wonderfully harmless!

Anonymous said...

He does look like he's enjoying hismelf, but that doesn't give other people the right to make fun of him or film him as though he were an exhibition. He has just as much right to be treated with dignity as anyone else.
I don't know if anyone's noticed or made comments about my Tom yet, as I'm not looking out for them and they're not blatant about it with him. But he's only 5 so they probably aren't.

Jayne said...

Get in first and film C yourself, then put him on YouTube with an explanation of Autism.
Once it's out there it's going to be impossible to control but if you get in first you'd have some small measure of control over it.
Plus if C is already on YouTube the kids won't film him -especially if he wears a t-shirt saying "YouTube star - look me up!" ;)
Otherwise it doesn't sound like there's much you can do to stop them :(

Chris H said...

I think the teenage prats who you would like to be made 'aware' of Autism would not give a shit about you handing them a card... and would probably throw it back in your face with a few choice words. They are just young and ignorant.... give them time. Tolerance goes both ways. You have the advantage of maturity and knowledge, they do not. JUST SAYING.....

Anonymous said...

It might not be illegal to take the picture or to film him, but would it be illegal if they out it up somewhere for others to see? Then that would mean you'd have to find out where, if anywhere, they're putting it up, though.

Anyway, I would probably go down to their level and take a camera and what ever and film them or snap pictures of them. Nice and obvious too. With some nice loud comment about what I'm going to do with the material, that they wouldn't just laugh off (that might be hard). And follow up on it too, of course. They'd need to know I meant it.

Anonymous said...

Funny that you should post this just as similar concerns have been rolling around in my mind on the same subject. I don't understand why it is not illegal for someone to take a photograph of someone without their knowledge/permission. I would say it should be the same as recording a conversation without someone's knowledge or permission. It should be illegal. With the sheer number of cell phones and recording devices that can be used in a derogatory manner, it makes sense to me that this is going to become a very hurtful practice and more of an issue. It needs to be resolved somehow before too many innocent people get hurt. Personally, as a private citizen, I've always felt that my image belongs to me and that nobody else has the right to copy it/reproduce it without my knowledge and permission, regardless of whether they profit from it.
Making it an issue of harassment only when it happens repeatedly by the same group of youngsters just isn't good enough in my opinion.

Honeysuckle said...

While it might be legal to film C I wonder what they're doing with the films they make? I'm hazy on privacy laws, but maybe there would be a way forward on that basis rather than through DDA?

I think your filming the filmers is an excellent idea - non-confrontational, but effectively turning the tables. I think too that teenagers, when in a ganag, will do stuff that they wouldn't do alone. You could ask individual teens whether it was acceptable and they would probably say no, but once they take on that pack mentality...what I'm trying to say is, it's possible they're 'just' being thoughtless and ignorant rather than intentionally cruel.

Halo said...

To Anonymous - C's stimming is not hurting anyone! Stimming can and does calm my daughter, my daughter has extreme and unusual fears and stimming can help her have some control of her anxieties. Yes i let my daughter sniff hair, ok it may not look 'normal' but would you rather her bite herself? because this is what would happen if she was unable to do a safer stim.

"What kind of life have you given him" My answer to that thoughtless question is.... "The best he could have!"

'Annonymous' says it all really.

Norma Murray said...

I think the autism awareness cards are a good idea. I have experience of working with teenagers and I've often found they are the ones who have a compassion for others, often fa more that their older siblings or their parents.

tracey (aka rainbowmummy) said...

Hmm what would I write "F off!"? Hahaha.

I watched a programme, about all these security cameras filming us all the time, and apparently we are entitled to copies, I think anyway. But filming them back was the first thing that came to my mind :0). Just give a little shout off "for the police to watch"! Arseholes. I read a book "A Real Boy" by Christopher and Nicola Stevens and the boy was given a wheelchair as he kept breaking the prams, anyway STUDENTS would shout out "timmmmmmy" (from Southpark-and no, I don't watch it!) as they walked past. How that dad managed to not punch several people is beyond me.

You have fantastic control yourself and I really love that you just get on with it, have a cuppa and let C enjoy himself.

I cannot believe you are allowed to just film people. That to me is madness. So a person could film me sitting in a starbucks and I wouldn't be able to do anything?! I don't think so, ha!

Anonymous said...

Do you know, there seems to be a lot of "passing the buck" from various professional organisations, as though no one really wants to take responsibility for the answers they give. I guess making up your own cards is an excellent way to go and I look forward to hearing more on the subject. I have a card from our local autism centre which I can scan and email to you if you're interested.

CJ xx

Frances said...

I also liked the wording suggested by Statmama. Though it might only help a few folks towards greater understanding, that would be good. Those few might communicate with a few more folks, and voila. More awareness.

Best wishes.

buffalodick said...

I'm afraid the public filming of people is now a part of life. I think it's an invasion of privacy, but that won't stop it...

Anonymous said...

I really like the idea of handing out a card.

What to say though? My first thought would be:
Would you like to be filmed by a stranger without your permission?

My son is in charge of his own life and image. He is happy to be filmed for the price of a donation to "whatever your favorite Autism advocacy organziation is".

Samantha said...

I find it disgusting that they are filming your son. As my nana would say 'those children weren't raised right!'.

Anonymous said...

I hate that the world can be so cruel and ignorant. I like your card idea, as educating people is always a good thing. You never know how teens will take it, but I think it would plant the seeds, even if they acted otherwise.

Standing in front of them is always an option too.

I'm glad you let C have his fun and experience the joy of people watching. We all people watch! If this is a good outlet for him and makes him happy, I am so glad you let him have his down time.

Wish I had a better solution, but don't let them stop you (or C).

DJ Kirkby said...

Well there will be a whole new lot of people to film C on Sunday! As long as he sets a good example by being oblivious, perhaps the rest of passers by will eventually follow suit. I don't know what I would write on an alert card, I will have a think about it as I've often wished I had one to hand out about myself!

Anonymous said...

I really liked the proposed card-content given by Paulene Angela. I also liked the water-spray idea, but only from an irritated-parent perspective. Even though C is not bothered, I think the discomfort you have counts for the harrassment issue.

I am ASTOUNDED at the run-around you have been given by the so-called helpful agencies. Sigh. Such stories reinforce my disdain for WORKING for more government programs/rights/anything for the disabled. The ineffectiveness of such glossy legal regulation and employing more people to be unresponsive is asstounding.

Willing to put my name on this opinion, Barbara

storkdok said...


I don't know the laws in the UK very well, but it sounds like it isn't illegal to film people in public areas. But I wonder if the use of it in a discriminatory manner, say on youtube, would be construed as illegal?

Here in the US we just had a federal legal decision in which a woman was convicted of online harassment that led to a teenager taking her life. It sets a precedent for harassment on the internet in the US and will change the way these kinds of videos/pictures and interactions are litigated here.

In the short term, my strategy would be to film the kids and ask them while taping them what their names are, informing them about my son's diagnosis, and were they aware that their actions could be construed as harassment? I would only do this with the guards around, of course. But I would scare the crap out of them, letting them think I was taping them for purposes of possible prosecution in the future. At the very least, they would probably quit and leave.

I would pursue this matter, and if there is no law that prohibits it, perhaps talking to lawmakers to get this kind of activity prohibited, even though it is a long process, might be something to work on. Change has to start somewhere. I figure that's what we parents are here for.

The cards might work, but they aren't my style ;0)

He looks like he's having fun! Good luck!

laughingwolf said...

good, keep filming the filmers!

keep an eye out on places like YOUTUBE to ensure he's not being ridiculed....

Akelamalu said...

If filming the filmers stops them I'd carry on doing just that.

C looks like he's having fun. :)

claire p said...

Well for a start 'Anon' probably has no life and so is not worth bothering with!

Because my husband is 22 years older than me we have been getting stared at for years anyway. Jamie is only four and so angelic looking that, so far, everyone is still at the ahh stage.

As for the teens. My cousin (B) with asbergers (spelling?) has a younger brother (P). P and his mates were terribly cruel to B when they were teens. Now though P and B are very close, and P takes great care and intrest in B.

Anonymous said...

Thats awful and a real cheek! I love the film them approach and would do so without a second thought! I really do feel for you having to put up with this. Im not so sure the cards will work as there is a lot ignorant people out there. When I have used them in the past it has been really negative. But C def should not have to put up with this. It is wrong and should be against the law!

Kahless said...

Are they school kids?

If so, maybe go into the local schools and talk to them?

Am I being niave?

Elizabeth Channel said...

I know you'll get this but I was watching Sesame Street with Edward and Sue, and they did a song that was very David Byrne-esque (Talking Heads.) Edward was mesmerized. He asked me who they were trying to sound like so I found a U-tube video and showed him. He was mesmerized. His brother kept saying, "That looks just like Edward, the way he moves." And, he's right. And his moves look just like C. And then I realized David Byrne is on the Spectrum. And he is. And he does look so much like your sweet C and my Edward. And I smiled.

Anonymous said...

One gentleman at West Edmonton Mall wanted to take a photo of Katie and I didn't know how to say no without being rude. I wish I'd just said no.

You could try yelling at them to fuck off. I think I might. So much for me not being rude:)

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Anonymous is a friend of Jenny McCarthy's.


I won't get into a tirade about that right now, but if anonymous had the balls to actually sign a name I would...

Anyway. A card won't help. Speaking to them won't help. Unfortunately people like that don't care about anyone but themselves and would totally disregard anything you said.

The whole thing sucks. But hopefully C is like Boo and completely oblivious.

Jen said...

I'm not sure that a card will help- it seems to me that it would escalate the situation, given the type of people who are doing the filming. I don't think that there's any doubt that cell phone cameras are going to be a growing problem (upskirt photography, kids taking pictures of each other at school etc.) and I think that there are going to have to be some court cases before anyone has a precedent on how to deal with it.

There was an interesting article in Salon ( the other day about it- citing the case where a 16 year old girl was wearing a skirt, a man took an "upskirt" picture of her, and the charges against him were dropped because she didn't have the "right to a reasonable expectation of privacy". That's scary.

Unknown said...

Perhaps you could make a card with two sides. On one side explain a bit about autism, on the other print some of the info you received. I think "The DDA says that harassment occurs where, for a reason which relates to a person’s disability, another person engages in unwanted conduct which has the purpose or effect of violating the disabled person’s dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading or humiliating environment for him." would get the point across. Maybe even with "harassment is illegal" in bold at the bottom.

My son is fascinated with feet. He is only 2. He will lay down on his belly and stare at our feet and if we take steps he will crawl along and watch our feet move. I've never understood why he did this. Now I have to wonder if it's one more autistic tendency that he has. (he has tendencies but no autism diagnosis)

Have you tried searching youtube to see if you could find any videos of C?

Patty O. said...

It breaks my heart that there is so much insensitivity and thoughtlessness out there, and though it isn't fair, I agree that this could be an opportunity here. An opportunity to educate people. Some of the teens may not be affected by it, but if you change the attitude of one or two young people, that can have quite an effect.

I don't mean to make excuses for the teens, but if they have never been taught to be sensitive to those who are different, they may not even realize they are being jerks. It reminds me of a time when I was a teen and used the word "retarded" to describe when I did something dumb. It didn't occur to me how offensive it was until I saw the face of one of my acquaintances, who was horrified. I had forgotten her sister was mentally handicapped. It really opened my eyes and made me want to be more careful and sensitive. I didn't want to hurt her feelings or insult her or her sister, but I realized that that was not enough. I had to really watch it--not just let things come out of my mouth. Maybe those kids need an eye-opening experience like that....

That said, I don't really know what I would put on the card....

Rick Rockhill said...

Government beaurocracy at its worst. It's the same no matter what country you live in I suppose-officials who duck responses, shirk accountability and just do nothing. I hope you eventually find the answers you seek.

At least C is unaffected by it all.

Deborah Carr (Debs) said...

Why am I not surprised that you've been given contacts, who then give you further contacts without being much help at all.

I'd love to be able to come up with some useful advice, but I can't, sorry.

Tanya Brown said...

I just checked back here, and was sorry to see Anon's comment.

It's certainly the case that not everyone will agree with the actions that we, as parents, take. However, having my own child has taught me that there are a good many things beyond my control. To a great degree, the child's personality and how he or she develops is one of them.

For better or worse, though, one of the first things that people look at is how we've taken care of our children. Is the child reacting to abuse? Is the child receiving sufficient attention and stimulation? In some cases the concerns are well founded, and in other cases they aren't an issue. As parents, though, we are always subject to criticism. We should have done this or that. Look how well this child over here, who had thus-and-such treatment is doing!

In your case, though, you've had your son in "the system" for many, many years. He has participated in many different types of therapy and programs, some of which have probably only gained prominence during the last few years.

From where I sit, you have relentlessly advocated for your son and have done whatever you can to ensure that he has a satisfying life.

Rosie said...

that anonymous person can always be relied on to charm no matter which blog it crops up on...

If C is not aware of what is going on perhaps the pain is more yours than his, but none the less painful. I feel that handing out information cards could draw even more unwanted attention. The public at large needs to meet and interact with autistic people and then maybe will come to see them as valuable human beings rather than a side show.

Grit said...

i have to go for the education option rather than the confrontation option and, when someone starts to film, aim to make that moment a time for them to think. standing close up in front of their camera talking to them maybe takes the 'fun' away too.

Anonymous said...

Hi Casdok!!!

I think it is an all or nothing proposition. Either take the issue on fully and aggressively, or learn to accept it and ignore it. If I were to do something about it, I think I would consider putting my own videos of him on youtube, that were respectful of him and puts his behaviors in context. AND, If you were clever, you can make a film that catches the shallow attention of all those teens to start and then have the video slowly become more educational... after five minutes they might accidentally learn something about people who are different than themselves.

Or something like that. C:)

Angela said...

Hey that may stop them by handing a card to everyone you notice doing that.

My husband has told me people stare at me all the time because I am blind. I sure wouldn't want to be recorded.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I think it's grand that feet are so engaging for C. That said, your idea of filming the filmers is quite clever. Modern technology is so invasive and rude, I don't know that there is any way to stop such behavior...and that is really disappointing. But as long as people can do things, they will, regardless of how it affects others.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you're upset by people's reaction to your son. You're obviously a very devoted mom who loves her child dearly.
I agree with the above poster that C is probably not as troubled by his being filmed as you are. I suspect he watches feet because unfamiliar faces are too stimulating or frightening for him. Feet are individual like faces, yet they probably seem less threatening.
I have to say I was taken aback by C's body language in a video of him you posted. I'm sure most people would be on seeing him without understanding his situation. His wide stance and the way he bobs back and forth seem to invite attention. It looks like a performance of some kind, not that he means it that way.
I've been to public places where people perform all kinds of theater and miming and such for contributions from passersby. Perhaps C appears to be a performer of some sort and people watch him expecting to be entertained? .
Teenagers, at least some of them, are terrified of standing out from the crowd. I thing they find C's behavior to be extraordinary (as it is) and they don't know what to make of it. I know my son takes films with his cell phone of things that interest him to show his friends. I would suppose the kids who film C are doing it in the spirit of, "Wow! Check this guy out!" I don't think they're trying to be cruel, but to them, deviation from the norm is both alarming and fascinating.

Bonnie said...

Oh my, I don't even have time to read the others comments so i hope my recommendation for a information card won't be a repeat but I think it should say something like:

If you weren't such an idiot, you would obviously know this person has something different about them that they can't quite control. Why don't you go and film yourself trying to be an accepting human being.

I know this wouldn't educate them, but it would make me feel better!

I feel bad for you and C, I can't imagine why people are filming his activities. I have no answers. I know it drives me crazy enough when people simply walk by my Casey and stare at him due to his odd gait or stimmy arm activities. I don't know what I would do if someone filmed him doing it. Well, I think I would probably tell them to shove their f&^ing camera up their a@#! But that's just me!

A Bishops Wife said...

When Junior gets stares and hurts me inside.
He flapps his arms and hands and ooooooo's. We think it is cute, he just gets so excited. Others give odd looks and the kids say mean things.

I related that I stare back when they stare, so I think filming them or even if they "think" you are filming them, is fine.

I really always wonder about these callous people and what kind of parents they have and what type of family they come from.

Mima said...

Casdok, so sorry to hear that you and C are having problems like this. I think it is great that you and C have discovered something that he finds so entertaining. Teenagers can be cruel both intentionally and unintentionally, and I might be naive but I believe that this is unintentional, just ignorance, and I really hope that a card would help that. I keep wondering how I would have reacted to autism as a teenager, but I sincerely hope that it would have been better than that.

Filming is a great idea, especially if it stops them in their tracks, which it sounds as if it does.

I was so shocked and saddened to see the first anon comment, the worst thing about it is that it is informed bigotry, it is written by someone who has obviously had contact with autism. Awful.

French Fancy... said...

Oh, it's just what you don't need isn't it.

i just read over at DJ's place that your son is a bit poorly and I hope he shakes off the cold very soon.

x from France

Mama Zen said...

I think that filming the filmers is a brilliant idea!

floating in space said...

I like the idea of handing out an autism awareness card. Maybe you could also have a link to your blog on there!

Club 166 said...

Hi, Casdok. A little late hear, but here goes:

The info you need on filming in the UK can be found here:

Basically, anyone can film anyone in public without their permission. Also, there is no general restriction on filming on private property, though most shopping malls in the UK (like their US cousins) have policies prohibiting filming on their property. As others have pointed out, harrassment may be able to be invoked, if it is repeated by the same person and causes alarm or distress to the one being filmed.

Generally speaking, I think allowing people to film in public is a good thing. Documentaries could never be shot if there was no right to film in public.

That being said, I also believe in common sense and common courtesy, especially where it concerns private individuals.

As to how to proceed, you could check with the mall management, and ask if they allow filming on their property. When they say no, explain your situation and ask if it is OK to ask the mall guard to stop them from filming with their camera phones. If they decline to intervene, then I would get between C and them with your own phone, and film them (as suggested). This could not only be used to possibly put up your own YouTube vid (kids harrassing autistics) but also be used as evidence if it comes to bringing a harrassment charge.

Good luck!


Lane Mathias said...

That makes my blood boil. They shouldn't be filming anyone without their permission. Well done you for staying so calm. I wish I had some concrete advice but sadly no.

Hope you and C have had a lovely weekend.

nitebyrd said...

The ignorance and cruelty of people never fails to sadden and anger me. I don't have any suggestions, except bodily injury, which I'm sure you don't want to inflict.

While it may be hurtful to you and obviously deplorable behavior on the part of the filmers, if it isn't troubling to C, then maybe you can glean understanding from him?

Julie L. said...

Teenagers! Some of them (thank goodness, not all) can be so rude and thoughtless. I agree with the majority that they may just laugh off a card and toss it in the nearest bin. However, knowing you, you'll make something really cool that might capture attention. Putting some (or your ) you tube addresses (about autism or your rap) may help along with eye- catching graphics. You could also make a new, shorter rhyme that addresses his feet watching and their filming. Then, of course, have some respectful teens you know give some feedback on your rough draft. Hope that is helpful.

Here is a t-shirt idea: Front--"I'm minding my own business" Back--"Why don't you mind yours!"

Unlike the majority, I'm not sure filming is a good idea. My mom always told me that two wrongs do not make a right!

Anyway, I'm glad you still take him out and let him do his thing despite all the rudeness. I could only hope that I'd be as brave...

Unknown said...

This kind of stuff leaves me speechless and angry. I don't want to not comment, you post so seldom and what you have to say is always so valuable and absolutely MUST be acknowledged - but I just don't know what to say. I can just imagine how this kind of thoughtlessness makes you feel - knowing how it makes me feel when I see something like it.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you sure aren't getting helpful answers from the folks you've contacted.

By the way, I just read in the paper about some new research on autism with brain scans. Apparently, folks with autism have a half-second delay in auditory processing of sounds. So by the end of a setnece, the words make far less sense than they ought to. I don't know what they might be able to do with that in terms of treatment, but it sure is interesting.

CrackerLilo said...

I have no idea what to tell you, but I'm so sorry you have to think about these things anyway.

natalie said...

Let C get his stim on! This is something he obviously enjoys. Who cares what others think. It's unfortunate that we have to build a tough skin persona just to take our children out in the world, but we fight to survive. We're mothers and warriors, thats our calling in life. I'm sorry you're having to deal with pesky teens. Some people are crude, and our loved ones with autism get the brunt of it.

natalie said...

Umm... So I just read "Anonymous" comment and I'm wondering if this person knows or has an autistic child. We are supposed to support one another not tear the other down. I would love to hear how he/she stoped his/her child from stimming. Seriously, how??
My son is in very intensive ABA and still stims.
Thats his down time, just like reading a book or watching TV is mine.

Dave Coulter said...

Like life itself that's an interesting and complicated story. My optimistic side thinks it might be kind of cool if the kids got to know C on a deeper level.

My pessimistic side commiserates with the concerned mother and wonders where the line into harrassment is drawn. I'm not sure I would handle that scene well!

Unknown said...

"Pretending to film the filmers"--I LOVE IT! :D)

Anonymous said...

I don't know WHY I keep getting shocked at how horrible people can be, yet here I am, speechless. SERIOUSLY?? They surround him, mock him, FILM him???? That makes me SO sad. I am glad he doesn't notice. I am sad that you have to endure such pain.
GREAT tactic, to film them filming!

lime said...

i am so glad to know you have a god rapport with the security people here and that they are sensitive and mindful. really, that pleases me so much. i like your response of filming people in return as it seems the most likely way to open their eyes if they do not respond to a polite request to cease filming.

Jade said...

Hi my friend. This post was very close to home with me. As you know I work with children who have been diagnosed on the spectrum. I often go out onto the comminity to work with the children and their parents to make outings smoother. One day while out I noticed a grown man recording my client stimming and scripting. I was so angry with this I excused myself from the clients mother and approached the man filming him. I said ''excuse me sir is there a reason as to why you are filming my client?'' I could tell that he was embarrassed that I approached him. He replied that he had never seen a child act in such a way. I was so angry I could only say ''so you decided to record him ?''. Then proceeded to say " I'm sure you wouldn't like it if someone recorded you wiping you butt". He lowered his phone and walked away.
I was sooo mad!
People can be so rude!

Kat said...

Just leaving this note in your comments to let you know my blog has moved to: I hope you join me over there! :) -- Kat

Joeymom said...

Filming the filmers may be your best option. Does it make them uncomfortable? Well, how do they think your family feels? You also have a record of who is filming your son.

As for a card, perhaps something about what autism is, and a statement saying C does not give permission to be filmed. You have then alerted the filmers that their conduct is unwanted (and rude). Making people aware they are encroaching on a person's rights is the first step to winning a case should harassment become a serious issue.

Also, if he's being filmed, monitor YouTube. :P

Flea said...

C looked so happy! And I love that your case manager has him flagged. Good job.

Anonymous said...

I have no answers. I only know that, like you, I'd be infuriated! I think your awareness cards are a good idea. I'm sure a lot of kids would just toss them, but even if you help one person to better understand, you've done your job, right?

E said...

Anonymous you are a chickenshit dick. What kind of sad little life have you made that you attack others behind a hood like a Klansman??!!

Okay now that I got that out of my system..

Casdok, why don't you just speak to them? They are kids. They are uninformed. (If they are adults they are ignorant)
I figure most people will do the right thing when given a chance. I'd walk over and say something like, "Hi, my son may look funny to you but he is autistic and we have many challenges and your filming him is hurtful to me"

I know there are more than one and you will have to do it more than once. But I will bet you it will work most of the time and it might just wind up being a blessing to you and to them....

MarmiteToasty said...

Im glad you were picked to be Cs mum.....


mommy~dearest said...

I'm thrilled to see when he is so happy, but it makes me sad to know that there are limits being put on his happiness. He may not seem to notice those kids now, but as you've said, he's been subject to having his happiness interrupted by gangs on other occasions. Oh Casdok, my heart goes out to you guys!

I think an awareness card is great- your filmers may not read it, but on a chance that a couple do, maybe it will sink in, or awareness would be passed on from others. Some of the best advocacy Jaysen had was from a classmate- one who stood up for him to taunters, and it was totally unsolicited. Hopefully, passerbys will see this and know it isn't right, and say something to the filmers.

In the meantime- I think you should bluff 'em. Do the filmers know filming isn't illegal? Why should you be the one to tell them that? That's why they don't like you filming them- they're afraid what you will do with it (go to the authorities). I'd calmly inform them that you and your son don't appreciate their filming, and inform them you will notify the authorities.

If that fails, hand 'em a card that says: My son has Autism. If you continue to harass him, I will attempt to remove your face with my bare hands. Thank you.

blogthatmama said...

What about 'join us in celebrating differences' blogthatmamax

Genevieve Hinson said...

I worry about my son at the mall and staying 'safe.' It's great that you have a good relationship with the folks at yours.

Love the idea of an awareness card. Maybe a few key points and link to a web site for more info?

Rachelle said...

First of all, Anonymous? You are a coward. If you are going to point fingers, have the cohones to leave your name.

As you know I have worked with children and adults with austism spectrum disorder for over 25 years, there is a post now on my blog about my little buddy with autism- my brother is within the spectrum.
I remember a mother with a son who sounds a lot like C.
His name started with C too :))
She used to put a t-shirt on him that said- Don't stare, I could be YOUR child.
When she got so much twittering attention when they went to the mall, she got permission and put up a table with pamphlets, pass along cards and a sign saying: Would you like to learn more about autism? near her son's favorite place.

She got lots of attention, instead of her C. After a while people just smiled and waved!
Best of luck, and- you are a bold, beautiful, wonderful mother!

Rachelle said...

Ha-ha-ha-ha!!! I just read all the way and saw Mommie-dearest's comment.
I totally agree about the bare hands.
That would just about do it methinks.

Larry Arnold PhD FRSA said...

Depends where the filming is taking place, if it is on the public street where everyone has access then it is perfectly legal, if it is on privately managed premises then the owners of the premises or there security can ask for the filming to be stopped and eject the participants.

I get frustrated these days that so much of the City Centre in Coventry is privately managed, and whilst participating a student project with students from the local Uni we were spotted ironically on CCTV filming in the middle of Coventry Precinct and although we were allowed to continue, notwithstanding my rude responce to demand tit for tat footage from the CCTV we were allowed to continue, but told to ask permission next time.

I do, do a fair amount of sureptitious footage on public transport I do admit, and I like filming escalators, though again I have often been asked to stop filming.

The important legal point is, that if the filming is intended to be used in any commercial way, model release forms should be produced by the filmers to be signed.

I think in this case the best thing is to challenge the filmers and come on rather heavy and officious even if it is mostly bluff, they are not likely to know that and though the may protest with the usual four letter abuse, they may well not do it in future.

The real danger is a culture in which no-one is allowed to film or take pictures, even legitimate tourists, however when it goes over the edge into harrasment, then of course anti harrasment procedures should come into force, and it the way in which this is done that is clearly threatening and anti social.

Dr. Deb said...

I like to educate not confront, but that's my comfort zone.

Jessica said...

If it were my son, I would certainly say something. The only way others are going to know about autism is if we spread the word that our kids are just kids and certain behaviors make them happy. We made our own cards explaining some of the characteristics of our son and some facts about autism. Many people were impressed and were glad to recieve these cards. I say it can't hurt.

contemporary themes said...

I would certainly say something to them! I hate that you have to endure this, and that people are so damn disrespectful.

Maggie May said...

I think that the general public must be educated to be more tolerant.
Your son doesn't seem to be doing any harm. Maybe you could go over to these lads & try to explain.......
Mobile phones are a mixed blessing, aren't they?

Anonymous said...

If we could only change the world and the thinking of heartless people...

Synchronicity said...

One of the very first posts on your blog was about this very topic. I was so outraged back then and still am. I am so sorry this happens.

Sue said...

I am sorry that you are dealing with this. Over here in Japan we have dealt with people taking photos of all our kids when they were little, just because they think half caucasian kids are cute. Thankfully, Japanese are non-confrontational in general and have always stopped when we asked.

I have given an award to Faces of Autism on my blog. I saw that you have already received the same one. You don't need to do anything with it. I just wanted to get others to take a look.

I would like to put my son on Faces, too, but our email is having problems and I haven't been able to send emails for a while.


Anonymous said...

That is really a cool thought :)

Ellee Seymour said...

Happy New Year wishes to you and Christopher.

Nope. said...

A. Christopher is adorable. I loved your photos.

B. He looks simply overjoyed in them. It's lovely.

C. Take their phones and smash 'em. ;)

-A fellow Aspergian