Today my kids and I walked down to the near by McDonald’s to meet The Husband. We had a quick meal and then we headed over to the Kroger that is the same plaza. I went inside while they stayed in the car. I was only going to get a few items so there was no need for us all to go in. For whatever reason the store only had about 3 cash registers open. You would think they would have more open with school opening Monday. Anyway they opened a few more. The line was pretty long. Behind me there was a lady behind me and she had 3 kids. One was in the cart. He looked to be about 6 or 7 years old. He stood up and he started to kind of scream and cry. I recognized the signs immediately well I am pretty sure. Can’t be certain but I believe the child was autistic. He was rubbing his head and trying to find comfort from his big brother. I suspect he didn’t like the long way nor how crowded the store was. I mean even I couldn’t stand it. I had my family waiting for me in the car and the lady in front of me had two carts full of stuff. She only had the cake. I kind of wished I had offered to let her go in front of me but I didn’t which I kind of regret not doing I feel I was a little selfish. However his big brother and sister moved him out of the line and he seemed to calm down.
Now to the point of my post. I used to be one of those people who would see a child acting that way and it would appear nothing was wrong with them so I would immediately assume that the parent a. Chose not to discipline their child or b. Didn’t know how to handle their child. I mean I was pretty harsh. I would think boy if that were my child they wouldn’t be acting like that. Now I have special needs family members but they are high functioning and others I wasn’t around very often so I never experienced any behavior problems they had. So I guess that’s part of the reason my assumptions came in.
Well a few years ago my nephew was diagnosed with autism. I have been around him numerous of times to see some of the trouble he has with not wanting to be touched all the time, crowds, loud noises, and other sensory things. His parents are great with him. They know exactly what to do to calm him down, when to give him space, or even just let him go through whatever he is going through. I see how hard it can be some times for them as well. My sister-in-law is awesome with him. I mean really he couldn’t have better parents. Being around them especially my nephew has taught me not to assume that a child is just throwing a tantrum to throw a tantrum. Just because a child looks normal and healthy doesn’t mean he/she is. My nephew looks normal but unless you are around him constantly if he starts screaming and crying you wouldn’t know why he would look just like a child simply throwing a temper tantrum when he isn’t.
This little guy has taught me to look at things differently. I don’t assume anymore that a child is just misbehaving and needs discipline. That is not always the case. One thing I loved is that even though the little boy appeared to be upset about something everyone who was with him remained calm. Even when people started to kind of glance at them they remained calm. It was totally amazing. I am just glad that I took off my judgemental glasses. I am going to continue to do it cause sometimes what you think you see isn’t what it is.