Sunday, January 27, 2013


One of the most important things to remember when you have a child with autism is that they will only be a part of the community if you give them that opportunity. I remember how hard it was to take Chandler anywhere when he was three. Screaming meltdowns didn't make me want to take him to the gas station, let alone a restaurant or shopping place. I talk to parents with newly diagnosed children often, and it is a source of anxiety and panic for the parents as well as the child. And then, in mid turmoil in a public venue, you feed off of each other. The vibe you're giving off lends itself to your child and you meltdown together. I forced myself to breathe and work through episodes calmly for years to get to where we are. Take them anyway. Again and again. And again. Movies took me 13 trips, coffee shops about 10, and every other place along this journey countless, countless attempts. Do not say "My child can't handle this." Say "My child can't handle this today." And then try again. Today, we went to a coffee shop. We can do this easily now that he's ten. We order coffee, milk, and a chocolate chip cookie. We sit with my family and he only gets angry one time when our conversation gets animated, he covers his ears and yells. All I need to say is "I'm sorry we are being too loud." And we quietly resume. I see him watching the conversation when it's quiet, and he begins to lean in to me and hug me. Smiling he says "Hi.", and "Nice." I don't care that he is wearing his pajama pants, or his Cracker Jack T-shirt that is indeed inside out and backwards, but he did it himself. If people can see that you are anxious about your child, they will be too. I'm not saying let your child do what he or she wants in public, but if all the issue is, is simply a little stimming, some pjs, or an occasional yell...? This IS your normal, show everyone else that too.

1 comment:

  1. I love sharing Ben with the world. People can see that he is not typical pretty quickly, but is that a bad thing?
    So far, and Ben is 7, we've been warmly recieved everywhere we go.
    Each weekend, he's out for multiple trips. Restaurants, stores, grocery shopping....
    May the trend continue..