Perth mum's heartbreaking letter about autistic son's treatment at Eagles game

Eagles rout Tigers by 68 points

Ty Vickery punched in the face but Richmond coach Damien Hardwick feels the most pain after watching his side slump against West Coast.

A Perth blogger has penned a heartbreaking and angry open letter about her son, who has autism, being shunned by fellow spectators at the Eagles' win over Richmond at Domain Stadium on Friday.  

Liz Jay Bee, who blogs about life and motherhood at Me and My Craziness, took her four-year-old daughter and six-year-old son to see the game after a week of them being cooped up with colds.

It should have been a happy night for the Eagles fans on a night that celebrated the club's 30th anniversary, but for an experience with a mother and daughter next to them - to whom "Ms Bee" addressed her open letter on Saturday.

Nic Naitanui of the Eagles and Shaun Hampson of the Tigers contest the ruck.
The incident so upset the Perth mum that she took her kids and left before the end of the Eagles' win over Richmond. Photo: Getty Images

"I'm the mum to a special needs boy; the very boy you sat next to last night. I took my children to the football because I wanted some family time," she wrote.

"Yes, he had his iPad, but that's because he doesn't 'get' football. He likes the outdoors and the fresh air."

Ms Bee said the tickets were an early birthday present to herself and her daughter was beside herself to see her "beloved Eagles".

"I didn't want to let my son feel left out because he deserves just as much as the next child to go to the football," she said.  

But then, she said, her son slipped and spilled some lemonade on the mother next to him.

"I apologised profusely, saying 'I'm so sorry, he's still learning to drink out of a bottle with a straw' and all you could do was mumble [under your breath but I still heard it] 'F--k sake, f--king hell'," Ms Bee wrote. 


Her son, upset by the stickiness he felt, began to roll his sleeves up and down.

"He grazed your daughter a couple of times, and she jumped, and gave us these looks of disgust ... as though she didn't want to touch him in case she 'caught what my little boy has'," Ms Bee wrote.

"Looks like this to a child who has NO CONTROL over anything they do, because of how their brain is programmed, is heartbreaking.

"Looks, stares and unnecessary gestures such as going out of your way to make sure a child doesn't touch you - because you think they're going to give you what they've got - is a special needs child's worst nightmare.

"When the mother of that child notices those looks, she becomes sad, embarrassed, heartbroken, angry and frustrated."

Ms Bee left with her children at three-quarter time, missing the final touches of the Eagles' win.

"I felt so ashamed for wanting to take my son out anywhere," she said.

She said she wanted her son to have the same experiences as other children his age.

"I sure as hell wasn't letting my son miss out, even if he doesn't 'get it'. And I wanted family time. It's the school holidays," she said.

"I'm not doing this for attention for my son, or even for me. I'm doing this because deep within me, I'd hope and wish that someone knew these people and showed them because it really hurt.

"And potentially to get awareness that even though he may not understand, kids like my son enjoy doing things out of the norm and they aren't physically different to the rest of us, that their brains are just differently wired."

This story ends on a hopeful note: Ms Bee included a postscript to the family on her other side, thanking them for "being awesome", and the mother in those seats saw the post and replied via comment on the blog.

"Good on you for doing what you like and getting out with your kids," she wrote.

"It was a pleasure sharing the game with a young and upcoming West Coast fanatic.

You keep doing what you're doing and watch your boy grow! Hopefully see you at the next game! I'll bring the lollies!"