Autism With a Side of Laughter.

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September 8, 2017
Ok- day two of the new year and already a funny autism story with my son Christopher

A Polite Young Man.

If you know my son- you know how polite he his- always please and thank you- even if he does not want to do something. “No, thank you Daddy” Now, I have worked very hard for Christopher to hold the door open for the person behind him- as he used to always just let it slam shut- not thinking anything of it. He is very good at this now- Here comes the funny part-

Lets go to WaWa

So we go to WaWa today and he is running into the store and the man in front of him lets the door slam right in Christopher’s face- and I am thinking what a jerk- but maybe he did not see my 6 foot 185 lb son, maybe. Well Chris walks into to Wawa and goes up to the man and ask what is your name- and he says his name is Steve. Well Chris says “Mr Steven- you are supposed to hold the door and not be rude- Mr. Steven.” The man did not really understand what was going on- but said sorry and started to walk away. Well that was not enough for Chris- “Mr. Steven- try again, try again” The stranger is doing his best to ignore Chris- but Christopher is relentless – “Mr. Steven- try again- hold the door”

A Gathering Crowd.

You have to understand that whenever Chris lets the door slam- I always stop and make Chris go back and reopen the door and get it right. So here we are in WaWa and people are now all slowing their shopping and pretending to not be looking at the three of us. Well the stranger looks at me and says- what does he want me to do? I said he wants you to go back and open the door and not let it slam in his face- thats all. This guy had no clue what was going on- looking around at all the people now staring at us (I am laughing inside and just loving Chris)

Please Mr. Steven.

You can tell Steven was a fish out water and he just stood there as Chris said again “Mr. Steven- hold the door please” The pressure was to great and Steven folded and said ok- and walked back to the door with Chris beside him- they walked outside and back in with Mr. Steven holding the door for Chrissy. Well Chris states in his loudest voice- “Mr. Steven- I am so impressed with you- I am very proud of you Mr. Steven- good job holding the door.” Well- the small group of onlookers we had- started to clap and Steven just waved back to the group. I did not have the heart to tell him- I think they were clapping for Christopher.

I get so much joy out of Christopher every single day. And today- he was doing his part raising autism awareness and good manners. Thank you Mr. Steven- where ever you are for being such a good sport.


Gary Weitzen
Gary Weitzen
Gary Weitzen is the Executive Director of POAC Autism Services, which is the largest provider of free autism training and events in the state of New Jersey. Mr. Weitzen is a certified law enforcement instructor with the New Jersey Police Training Commission, member of the National Association of Search and Rescue, and serves as a Special State Officer on the New Jersey Governor’s Council for Medical Research and Treatment of Autism. In addition to his duties at POAC, for the past fifteen years he has worked for an autism program as a teacher of life skills to adults with autism. Mr. Weitzen, has served as the New Jersey representative for Unlocking Autism, and Vice President of Princeton Autism Technology, and comes to POAC with 20 years of experience in the risk management field. The Weitzen family story was featured with the Doug Flutie family on the country’s first screening tool for early identification and intervention of autism, First Signs. He has appeared on virtually every major network and local news station as an expert on autism and has given presentations to tens of thousands of people across New Jersey. Mr. Weitzen’s son, Christopher has autism and he has been a passionate advocate of children and adults with autism for close to two decades.