Autism In Public

Have you ever had a moment in public where your child was being misjudged by an outburst out of his control. Autism in public is not seen in a good light. It’s often seen as a naughty out of control child. One who may lack manners you feel they should have.

My son just turned seven he is very set in the way things need to be for his mind to except them. His food in particular. He has made huge strides in that area but still needs things in a very particular way.

On my little boy’s birthday having anywhere in the world to choose for dinner he choose Mcdonald’s. Can you imagine lol? He wanted to get him a burger with just a patty cheese and bacon. Nothing more on it at all. He wished to go eat it at the park so drive thru worked best for that. Except the line was wrapped around the building. I swallow as we pull in.

Here we go….. he can’t wait. He has no patience…..this is a meltdown waiting to happen. Deep breaths…. We have committed now….

We get to the ordering screen. Paytyn is repeating his very specific order over and over in the back seat. I want a burger with just cheese and bacon. A medium fry and a chocolate milk. Chocolate milk isn’t written on the menu so I had actually prepared for a second choice in line at our wait. The key to nipping a melt down int he butt is to prepare for any changes in advance.

The wait is a good 17 mins and Paytyn luckily handles it pretty darn well. I am impressed we are going to make it through this line without a melt down. Go us! Then the bag is handed to us and we begin to pull away. I am hurriedly checking the bad to make sure the contents are correct. I’m mortified to find out that they have messed up Paytyn’s burger. There is no bacon on the sandwich.

We have to go back through the line. Paytyn is not happy. He is distracted by his fresh fries to eat. He can’t have his milk in the car. The last time that took a tumble within seconds and made my car smell for …. well that damn smell I can still smell on a hot day I swear!

Second time at the speaker we explain the problem. Pull to the window we will exchange you. Oh for the love of that window. It felt like it was a mile away when your on edge waiting for the Autistic time bomb in the back seat to explode.

Finally at the window and she has the bag in her hand. Score! Excited to trade her. I check the sandwich as she closes the window. IT’S WRONG! OMG are you kidding me. Now the sandwich is not plain the onions and ketchup and everything is on it. Paytyn begins to kick the back of my seat. Making noises and becoming frustrated. The window opens and we tell her to try again. Explaining what is wrong with the food.

Bringing back the sandwich for the third time. Opening the window Paytyn says that sandwich had better have CHEESE! The lady looks back at him. Marc and I both let out a giggle thinking this boy just did so good without a meltdown after all that. He has a right to want to make sure his sandwich has his cheese.

All and all this visit was okay. I can feel my anxiety rise each time we attempt to take him in public because I fear what others are thinking. What they may say about my child simply because they don’t know how amazing he is. They have no idea that he doesn’t have the filter we may. That he can’t control his emotions and his reaction times are different. It would be a true gift if I myself could just worry less of what those around us think.

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3 comments on “Autism In Public

  1. Tanya Kuzmanovic

    Danielle — I LOVE this post — it has inspired me to write a post of my own for my site regarding “Autism in public” — years ago – when pregnant with my now 8-year-old son, I had a physical run-in with a little boy who I thought was misbehaving. I was sitting with my two daughters at a community centre and I was reading them a story – when this little boy came over to me and said: “You’re really fat” and then punched me in the stomach! Of course I was shocked and upset! I stood up and he started kicking me and screaming. The community centre staff came over and apologized and told me that he had autism. His mother was mortified and took him away. I still think about this incident often – and wonder a) how I should have better handled the situation b) what I should have said to my two daughters about it and c)where the line is regarding his parents’ responsibility to make sure he doesn’t hurt anyone in public. When looking back – my compassion covers everyone involved!! Thank you for sharing your story – – and for the personal inspiration!!!!

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