Mum distraught after neighbours leave cruel note about autistic son

Whatever happened to old-fashioned knocking on the door and having a chat?

This post first appeared on The NZ Herald and is reproduced here with permission.

It wasn't the start to the year that Ana Gray had hoped for.

The 28-year-old solo mum from Napier checked her letterbox the day after New Year's Day to find an angry note from a neighbour, threatening to call her landlord and child services because of her son's yelling.

Her heart sank as she read the anonymous note.

"If you don't stop that kid yelling I will ring child support and report you. We all getting sick of the yelling and also ring your landlord," the note said.

Ana 3

Yelling is how Wiremu copes

"That kid" is Ana's seven-year-old son, Wiremu. Five years ago, he was diagnosed with autism and Global Development Delay (GDD). Yelling is just part of how he copes with it.

She knows the yelling gets on people's nerves. It gets on her nerves too and she has to deal with it every day. The anonymous note has brought on additional stress to an already tough situation.

"I would have preferred being spoken to face to face so I can explain our situation," the mum said. "It is very hard for me doing this on my own."

Be strict about bedtime. A study published in 2013 in the journal Pediatrics found that seven-year-olds who had irregular bedtimes had more behavioral problems than did those with consistent bedtimes. And the longer the lack of a strict bedtime went on, the worse the problems became. If you work outside the home, it's tempting to keep kids up to have more time with them. But as much as possible, stay the course—even if that means you sometimes miss lights out. "We all make sacrifices," says Heather Taylor, Ph.D., a psychologist at the Morrissey-Compton Educational Center, in Redwood City, California. "Call or video-chat to say good night. Just be part of the routine."

Because the note wasn't signed, she has no way of knowing who sent it.

The solo mum, who has three other children, says "he has become more difficult to handle". "There's nothing I can do about it right now," she says.

Ana 2

"We're just trying to do our best"

On a Facebook post, Gray apologised to her neighbours for her "disruptive" son. "We're only trying to live life as each day goes by in the hopes that things will only get better for us," she added in the post.

Things might, indeed, get better soon. "The help I need is well on its way and I couldn't be happier about that," Gray told the Herald.

The family is currently on the waiting list for Wiremu to see a paediatrician. "Now that he is older things have changed and he has become more of a challenge for me."

"I understand why my neighbours would complain, he is very loud and has his random outbursts almost every day," the mum says.

Because of Wiremu's outbursts, Gray says they spend a lot of time at home as taking him anywhere is complicated. "He yells all the time and people stare, say things under their breath and complain," she says.

"If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands?" - Milton Berle

"The only thing I can do to keep him calm and quiet is to let him have my cellphone which has Minecraft [Wiremu's favourite game] installed on it for him to play on all day everyday."

Her landlord has known about her son's diagnosis and never had any complaints until now.

He's perfect to me

Life is not easy for the single mum, who's been living in the Napier flat for eight months, but she says she's happy.

"I love my son to pieces. He may not be perfect to others but he is perfect to me."