I wrote this as a status on my facebook page:
“Only a parent or close family member truly understands how a child with autism truly is….they see the child thru that special window as they see things…..no its not fair how things work out…. you just can’t come in out of their lives when its at your convenience…..they don’t understand that….what they do understand is the regular, everyday, STRUCTURED routines……..ask yourself have you ever had to deal with a meltdown of and autistic child???? Then and only then will you know or understand the sacrifices a parent has to make and deal with the consequences.”
As I re-read this, it sends me back to the memory of an unpleasant breakfast at a local restaurant. Back in 2000/2001, my mother wanted us to go to breakfast at a local eatery in her home town of Sanford. So we ( myself, Sara, Jonathan and Christopher) went to this restaurant. We were just getting settled in when Jonathan started crying and screaming. This was before we knew anything about autism, sensory overload and all that good stuff. I was feeling like Jonathan was just having a temper tantrum. Well there were other families in this restaurant and they were just staring. After several attempts to get him to calm down and engage it failed. The actual owner of the restaurant, whom was waiting on customers stopped in the middle of the diner and screamed “OH COME ON!!!” I was mortified. I could not get him to calm down or quit crying. Well I got up from the table, told them in no particular manner that I thought they were family oriented but guess not. I started to grab my children, started crying and told them I would never come back there again or will I tell anyone to go there. I felt very overwhelmed and very sad that people were like that. I left and my mother brought our food to us at our house. I knew there was a purpose behind us leaving the food stunk. That’s the positive spin I have put on it.
Yes this restaurant is still in business; no i have never stepped foot back in there. I don’t know if their attitude has changed but I don’t want to take that chance if something else my son does offends them.
Since this memory has come back, I also see how much my son has changed and is becoming quite a young man. This is definitely a learning process and those who have no clue really should pay more attention.