Sunday, September 2, 2012
This week I had an appointment with Emily from Minot State, with the SATT project. They work with families on apps to use on the IPAD. We were working with an App called Iprompts. I am hoping to use it with Chandler to be a streamlined visual schedule. It's not as difficult to use as proloquo, and not as extensive. Maybe this can be a bridge to later using that app. My dream of having Chandler communicate fully using technology is like a long, winding road with holes in it. It's confusing, and all along the way you find these little gems of apps that will lead to another word, and another functional phrase.
While waiting for Emily to arrive, I ordered him a carrot cake muffin. He pointed at it, and said "cake". On the plate at our table, he pointed at the little bright orange frosted carrot on the top and made a scrunched up angry face, so I removed it with the fork. He happily took one huge bite (I am secretly hoping he loves it so I can sneak veggies into cake). He made an even more disgusted face, but politely pushed it away and said "All done", turning to his huge cup of milk.
We moved to the corner table when Emily walked in, so we could charge IPADS and talk without being in the open. Chandler wandered around Caribou coffee checking out the pastry case, looking out the windows,...so I allowed it. It wasn't extremely busy, and he wasn't approaching anyone...well, not until I wasn't paying attention. After a few minutes, I looked up to see him standing at a table with four men. He hardly ever engages people on his own, unless he finds something interesting. This one particular man had a gray, handlebar mustache. Chandler was smiling and staring at him, jumping up and down just a little bit. I did my usual "Chandler! Chandler!" running halfway across the coffeeshop, "Excuse me, I'm so sorry!". Waiting for the usual response of stares or polite "No big deal"'s or no response at all. But today would be different.
One of the men at the table said "I have seen him around the community. He is always so happy, and full of energy. He isn't bothering us at all." I didn't recognize him, so I explained that his staff brings him many places also. Chandler proceeded to sit down with his milk, and when I said "Chandler come back and sit with mom", he gave me a disgruntled "NO!" and began to draw on the chalkboard. He eventually resumed wandering, and when we left, he stopped at their table. They all said, "Bye Chandler! See you later buddy!" and Chandler said "See ya!" and was smiling ear to ear.
Thank you, thank you to that table who took the time to talk to him, and talk to me. As parents, we are so use to the stares and whispers, we don't expect anyone to go out of their way, but it means so much. It makes our day. It makes us feel we are welcome in the community, that we are a part of it. That little thing that we advocate so hard for, just to BE there. It shouldn't reduce us to tears when someone has a kind word for our children. Please. Be the person that speaks that kind word. Approach us, ask questions, make comments. Saying something isn't rude! Remaining silent is far more uncomfortable for us. That thirty seconds changed my whole day, and I can't imagine how my son felt. Included.