One of my favourite bloggers, Apples and Autobots has a son on the autism spectrum. When I read of Bot I am taken back to the early years of Boy 1, for the similarities are endless. You NEED to read this post. This amazing, eloquent, articulate, wonderful blogger has explained beautifully one of the major issues we as Mums of special kids on the spectrum face. Sensory meltdowns, and the PUBLIC'S reaction to them.
And I am going to add one of my own stories, well, experience not a story actually.
Boy 1 was around five or six. We too were at a shopping centre, but one with open spaces and discount stores, plenty of room and little crowds. Still, if a bad day, not a feasible excursion. The day began as a good one.
We had perused the stores for a little while, and choosing my battles, we were in the last one. Start happy, end happy, at least that was the plan.
Near the front door of the department store was a clearance table full of Harry Potter merchandise. The three of us, MM, Boy 1 and Boy 2 were all surrounding this table picking what we wanted being the Harry Potter mad family.
The automatic doors began to open as someone else entered. It was in this split second I realised Boy 1 was standing in the tiny gap between table, front window and side wall. The doors had safety mechanisms to stop them closing on someone, not to stop them opening and crushing anyone between the door and the wall as they opened.
I screamed for him to get out of there NOW in the second he had to move as visions of him being crushed before my eyes danced in my head. And when I say screamed I mean SCREAMED!
It would hav scared any child, but to a child with sensory issues it was terrifying. Move he did. He ran screaming past me, past the checkouts into the store.
Crying at the top of his lungs "Keep her away from me, she is going to kill me, she is going to kill me."
You can imagine the reaction of the staff and the shoppers, all I wanted to do was calm him and all they wanted to do was protect him from the one person who could calm him.
It ended. I kept my calm as inside I disintegrated emotionally, explained he was on the spectrum, explained to my distraught son why I had yelled when Mummy really only yells at the times she is losing the plot. We went home. Eight years on I can still feel that solid knot of fear and sadness, of dismay and anger. It wasn't that these people laughed when it was all cleared, it was the way they then looked at my child. Flawed, disabled, broken. Never in my eyes, but that is certainly what shone through theirs. And right at that point the other emotion I remember is hate. I hated how they judged him by a label and by one incident, I loathed the path ahead when so many would do the same again and again. I wanted to SCREAM at them "Do you know him, truly know what a really special boy he is? Yes, he is facing challenges, but can your kids soothe any distressed animal on this planet by merely speaking to them for a minute? Does your child tell you they love you every 5 minutes and treat you as if their world orbits around you? Do they captivate the hearts of those who are supposed to be calloused professionals, yet bask in the brilliance of his smile and the sharpness of his mind? DO THEY?"
Of course I did not. I merely thanked them for their patience and walked away.
So, this is my weekend grateful I am grateful for people like Apples and Autobots who explain far more gracefully than I ever could. I am grateful for so many people who take the time to share, who let their open wounds bleed to educate and advocate, and for the wonderful kids like Bot, and Boy 1 and so many others who make this world an incredible place to be.
And I am so truly grateful for both my sons, my oldest with his incredible goodness, heart and spirit, my youngest with his compassion, support and brilliance.
This is a blog hop, though you may be now feeling like it is a lecture. Go, read some lightness and fun, laugh, smile, live. Just keep in mind the next little boy or girl you see having a bad moment may not be having a tantrum because mummy didn't buy what he/she wanted, his/her whole world may be spiralling like a kaliedescope of out of control, overwhelming images, noises and sensations inside that little boy/girl brain. So instead of judging or laughing, maybe go over and ask how you can help a mother who is doing her very best to keep it all together?
I am a Madmother of two wonderful boys, wife to an amazing and tolerant man, daughter to an incredible woman whom we lost Oct 2010.
I have 4 blogs. Meandering is rambling, general, whatever takes my fancy stuff. Woven Words is for my short stories and creative writing, Nimbobulan Dreamings is my kids story. And my latest is Hellion on Wheels: my Roller Derby journey. Feel free to look at or follow all 4 if you wish.
Do note, however, all blogs are copyright of the author. They are not to be copied or printed and distributed without written permission from Madmother.