In today’s world of refugee crisis, destructive fires and threats, it seems almost comical a budding in line, a stolen french fry would lead a Manager of a cafeteria to a crisis situation, a situation, that left him with no alternative than to call the MEDICS, a situation that could have easily been deescalated. For all the parents of typically developing parents out there reading my blog, can you let me in on a little secret and let me know how many times the MEDICS were called when your child had a temper tantrum, stole food from someone or budded in line or are the medics just reserved for special needs children in “CRISIS” situations?
The Manager in question, whom I think should be stripped of his title, unfortunately not a decision for me to make, thought his cafeteria was too busy to help Niam, a line that must have mysteriously dissipated when I entered, warranting the unthinkable action. His claim was Niam was not listening, took someone’s french fries, ordered food (may I add was refused for being ALONE), was alone unattended, he was shaking his head, biting his finger warranting a call to emergency. Seems reasonable enough to me?
I did not know it said in the constitution somewhere ” SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN NOT ALLOWED IN PUBLIC UNLESS ACCOMPANIED BY A NEUROTYPICAL ADULT”
Could someone please define neuro-typical to me with an example?
As I try to piece the events together this is what I know.
Today I accompanied Niam to the cafeteria, Niam entered alone, while I was stopped by an employee of the place in question, for a casual chat, I was just outside the open door, Rohan, my eldest son, known to the employees ordered food just 10 minutes before, when the “Crisis Situation” occurred with me and Rohan oblivious to the situation. It makes sense this is a place we frequent often, an employee would come and get the parent or sibling for help, or try to deescalate the situation. At this point I am not sure how the events occurred but I am guessing perhaps Niam budded in line, ordered a sandwich was refused and stole a french fry, got frustrated for trying to speak, no one understood him, shook his head, grind his teeth, bit his finger, all mistaken for an “ALLEGED SEIZURE” and the medics were called. I want to add Niam has an account there, why was it not used?
We have been coming to this place in question for the last 8 years, he has frequented with therapists to teach him how to stand in line and order, use his words, this year we have removed the visual aids and the therapists to teach him to do it on his own. The question than lies, when does a parent allow their child to become independent and to try to do a task on their own? I offered to pay for the fries, and have Niam apologize to the customer, but they would not tell me who this customer was – why? Is not responsible for a parent to step in and tell their child they have done something wrong and to take ownership for it?
If using his credit was not a viable option, it seems reasonable to give Niam the sandwich and, perhaps seek out his brother who was sitting in the cafeteria or his mother who was standing in front of the open door to pay for Niam’s meal, and if he stole a french fry from someone, instead of throwing it out, the fries could have been given to Niam and we could have paid for it. I just think this situation did not have to occur. I guess it is so much easier to say NO and call the MEDICS with no care of the humiliation my son had to occur on your laziness. Whatever happened to “acts of kindness” or “humanity”?
The new claim is they thought Niam was having a seizure ( really?) and called the MEDICS but did not stop to help him, citing it was too busy, so in a medical emergency, call 911 and continue your work – okay I got it, thanks for the pep talk and live demonstration. We all know if this happened to a neurotypical person, the area would have been blocked off to assist the person and, if the person was not assisted and onlookers minded their business this would be an issue all over the news. Alas my son ONLY has Autism, he does not count.
The question than arises are we back in the dark ages where children of Autism or any other special needs are treated and felt like less than human?
What affect has this had on my son? Niam is extremely upset, won’t sleep, feels he is a bad boy and does not deserve to goto to his Friday night movie. He has been traumatized and made to feel insignificant, a person with a body, but no voice or feelings. I can’t wait to bring you a Thank You card.
I cried today, for my son, thinking and just trying to understand, how difficult it is for him to navigate a world he tries so hard to be a part of, when people just push him out, he feels responsible that he somehow contributed and warranted this action with his lack of speech and deserved to be treated less than a person.
I write this blog in sadness.
P.S Mr. Manager it is 12:00 pm, 3 hours past my son’s bedtime, I hope you are enjoying your sleep, my son is up, too traumatized to sleep. I will sleep with him to comfort him. Sleep Dreams.
#FollowNiam on Facebook and see his beautiful art. Niam Jain is 13 years old, Autism Artist, who expresses his inner most feelings through his artwork, he sells his artwork to collectors all over North America.
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This workbook teaches very important skills. It works on visual discrimination, speech development and associations. It is important for a child to understand the world around them and, to make connections. This program helps a child learn to understand associations and understand items that belong together. Vocabulary can be expanded and the child will have an opportunity to learn about functional basic life skills in a fun and engaging manner.