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Are we all unapproachable when it comes to our ASD kids?

Posted by on Jun. 15, 2014 at 7:08 AM
  • 41 Replies

 A little of what happened yesterday...

There was a woman with an obviously mentally challenged adult son. I think his needs may have been more than just ASD but at the same time, she seemed distressed, upset, fed up with him and how he was acting at the store. It's not that he was harmoing anyone or anything, but just rocking and touching everything at the check out.

And OF COURSE all the people in line and the line next to her had to stare as if he was a freak. I just kept smiling at him and her when we'd make eye contact, but the person I really am wanted to touch her arm or give her a hug and say "I understand".

But I didn't.

I didn't because I was unsure of what her reaction would be. If I was appraoched by a stranger who dealt with the same and had good intentions in their words, then I would love being appraoched. But that's ME...I didn't know her and she seemed so angry that I held back on saying anything.

And still this morning it's on my mind...wondering if it would have made a difference to her? Just to let her know how many of us there are who share her days the same way.

Would you have said anything? Would you want a stranger ,especially a mother of a special needs child, offering a kind word or would you rather they keep it to themselves?

by on Jun. 15, 2014 at 7:08 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by Kari on Jun. 15, 2014 at 8:00 AM

That is a tough one Michele. I don't even look around when my son is acting out in a store so even if anyone did try to reach out to me I wouldn't give them a chance. At the same time I know I would feel good if someone said "I have been there" or something like that. I helped a mom once who's son was having an tantrum and she was all alone and needed help. She was young and in tears and it was just a relfex on my part. She was very grateful...I don't think you can ever go wrong extending kindness even if it isn't well received. You are so kind to still be thinking about it today :) 

by Carissa on Jun. 15, 2014 at 8:11 AM
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You know, for,etimes I do and sometims I don't. But my husband is always meeting people with special needs kids and exchanging numbers.. I try to smile at them and let them know I'm not judging..

by Silver Member on Jun. 15, 2014 at 8:35 AM
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Words are powerful. Never underestimate them. I have had one occasion of a woman who looked at my son and told me, he seems like a handful, are you ok
by Platinum Member on Jun. 15, 2014 at 9:19 AM

I so understand what you are saying!!  I always want to say something or help, but am not sure how it will be taken so usually don't.  I would have no problem with a well meaning soul offering a smile or hand in a heated moment, but I also usually am so focused on the kids that I don't see anyone else at the time, and it seems the people I attract are not the nice ones.  I get a lot of stares and comments I shouldn't have had so many kids close in age or should have spaced them out more.  They see them as bad kids instead of triplets that each have special needs and that I'm doing the best I can.  I've also tried to help others without it well received, so I don't bother anymore.

by New Member on Jun. 15, 2014 at 9:26 AM

Well that is a tough one.  In the past I would have smiled, engaged, tried to empathize, maybe offered support if they were juggling a lot, but now that I am beginning my journey, it seems different.  I don't have a diagnosis yet other than speech delay, and have been suspecting autism for a while, but now the therapist, ped ect have started using things like not saying autism yet, autism related, sensory issues, sensory seeking etc.  another eval with a neuropsychologist Thursday.

anyway truth is I am barely holding myself together and can't discuss at all besides pure facts and how to proceed.  I might very well melt down if someone even acknowledged or sympathized.  Same as right now I wouldn't engage another because I can't have that conversation right now.  Heck I can't type this.  I am sure in the future, once I am further along in my journey, it might make me feel better but I might also hesitate as what if they are where I am now.

by Kristina on Jun. 15, 2014 at 1:14 PM
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 I once told another mom who had a child melting down that "I get it". She glared at me and said "no I don't think you get it at all". I just said  "I'm sorry for interfering". And she left in a huff. Three weeks later, I was at a meeting with my son (who was melting down) and in walks this same woman. She observed for a bit and then said "I am sorry - you really do get it!" We are now fairly good friends. We don't get together often because our kids stim off of each other. But I know she is at the other end of the phone when I need her.

by Darby on Jun. 15, 2014 at 1:19 PM
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That's a tough one!  I probably would have done just what you at them and that's it.   You just never what people are thinking in their head and what they are going through.  If someone were to approach me, I probably wouldn't pay much attention as when Brady is having a rough time in a store, I'm not looking at anyone but him.  I'm oblivious!

by Nicole on Jun. 15, 2014 at 1:39 PM
That is tough. I go by the situation. I remember when Nicolas first got his diagnosis and was having a rough time in public. He had a hard time in a store and was having one meltdown after another. Everyone was giving me looks and staring. But as I was checking out, a lady stood there until I saw her and smiled at me and said it is ok! That helped me to feel better about the situation.
by Brittaney on Jun. 15, 2014 at 2:30 PM

Since the man was not having a meltdown, simply having odd behaviors that caused insensitive people to stare, and those stares were what was causing the mom frustration, if I had been real close, I would have sort of joined the man in his behaviors. I'm probably just crazy that way, but I would have just gently talked to him as he was touching the objects and probably said things, like how all the objects were very colorful and their shapes, etc.

I would have kept my distance a bit as I know a stranger's touch can set our kids off ( a cashier tried to hand my daughter a sticker last night and my daughter almost completely lost it ) but I think by attempting to actually engage with the woman's son, she might have eased a little knowing someone out there was willing to try and not just pass him off. But once again, I would have done it very gradually to make sure I didn't upset him ..... the last thing I'd want to do is make things worse by upsetting him.

by on Jun. 15, 2014 at 3:24 PM

When my 6 foot 2 inch tall son has a hard time in public I am too focused on HIM to notice what other people are doing.  He doesn't really "melt down" anymore but he doesn't always act like an "adult" and people stare.  I choose to ignore the looks. I'm not sure how he or I would react if someone tried to get actively involved. I prefer to be left alone to deal with things myself.  A stranger could uninteninally make things worse.

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