Wednesday, March 18, 2015

"Excuse me ma'am, could you please get control over your son!"

I try to avoid going out in public as much as possible with Andrew. Or at least not alone. But lately he hasn't really been that bad out in public. So I really wasn't dreading taking him to his Kindergarten physical at the doctor's office today. I knew there would be toys in the waiting room and brought the iPad as well, with the hopes of keeping him content and happy. 

When we walked in, he immediately ran over to the toys and was very interested in a play vacuum cleaner. It made noise and the eyes on the vacuum moved back and forth. He turned the toy on and ran back and forth over and over. There were 3 older ladies in the waiting room watching him. When he bumped into one of their chairs a few times she moved her chair back, then switched chairs. I said, "I'm sorry he bumped into you." 

And she replied, "oh no this is better now he can have more room to make that turn! I wish I had that kind of energy." I smiled at her and thought, how nice of her to be understanding of a kid and his energy. 

The ladies tried talking to Andrew a few times, and he, of course, didn't respond to them. Another couple came in and sat down. They smiled at Andrew and seemed amused by his energy and play. 

Next, a pharmaceutical rep came in and started talking to the receptionist. I felt like the room was getting a bit crowded and so I moved some of Andrew's toys and moved over closer to the toy area in hopes that Andrew would stay over in that area. He was just happily running back and forth. I noticed him bump the pharmaceutical lady once and she looked over at me. I didn't think it was a big deal (he is a kid in a waiting room playing with a toy). 

Well I guess it was his 2nd time bumping her and she leaned over to the receptionist and complained (I didn't know this happened) "He just hit me a 2nd time!" 

The receptionist responded while leaning way out of the window in a very curt and annoyed tone, "Ma'am would you please get control over your son! The doctor doesn't like having a noisy waiting room." 

To which I replied, "you know I would if I could! If I do I will get beat on! He is autistic and can't help it!" 

She responded, "Oh well I don't want that." 

I had already turned my back to her and brought Andrew to a corner of the waiting room,where I took the toy away and waited for our turn. As we were waiting, I got kicked and hit and had to deal with a frustrated Andrew. 

The nurse happened to be a friend of mine and when she opened the door to let us back I just lost it and started crying. I held on to her and just sobbed. 

I felt a little ridiculous, but it just hit me how confining having kids with autism really is. The doctor came in and I lost it with him again and told him what happened. He wasn't happy and I think apologized like 50 times during our visit. He is planning on having a talk with his staff and educating them. 

When leaving, the receptionist (who had to check me out), said "Ma'am I am really sorry if I sounded so harsh before. It's just that that lady leaned over to me and said, he just hit me a 2nd time. So I had to say something. I am sorry for how it sounded." 

I just wanted to get out of there and didn't feel like losing control over my emotions again, so I just said, "it was a toy vacuum and he barely nudged her as he ran past." She tried to say something again, but I just said, "Okay, bye."

Why? Why did this situation even have to happen? Why are people so intolerant? He is a child for goodness sake! In a waiting room! With toys! Of course he is going to be playing and moving around. Stopping Andrew from what he was doing (which I thought was fine behavior, I thought the toy was annoyingly loud, but that wasn't Andrew's fault) was risking him having a full on meltdown and running around flailing his arms hitting and kicking everyone in sight and then he actually would have hurt someone. (and probably ruined the pharmaceutical reps presentation) Why didn't the woman just ignore him and say, oh he is just being a little boy? And why did that receptionist feel like she had to say something to me? (The doctor is a pediatrician) And if she did feel like she had to say something to me, why not just say something to me quietly and in private, instead of very publicly and in a curt tone?

I don't understand people sometimes. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. I try to not judge, and forgive quickly. 

So I guess the point of me sharing this story is to ask...please don't get angry at the kid (or his/her parent) in the waiting room, or in the grocery line, or wherever. You don't know their story. Perhaps they had a bad day, or maybe they are sick (very possible in a waiting room), or maybe there is more behind their behavior than you know. Think about them as humans who could use your compassion and not your judgment.

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