My friend Krista was in Burger King with her two sons. One son, Benjamin, has autism and was having a difficult time. He was making strange loud noises and was jumping up and down and flapping his arms, as some people with autism do.
A man in the next booth got up and came to our table and looking into Benjamin’s face said in a stern voice, “Son, you should learn to behave.” Then he walked away to the bathroom.
Krista was very upset and turned to the man’s companion who was still sitting in the booth and said, “My son has autism. I am doing the best I can.”
Later the man came to their booth and said, “I’m sorry.”
But Krista thought, “Wouldn’t it have been wonderful if initially the man had come over to our table and said, ‘This is difficult and not easy. We can see that. How can we be helpful to you and your sons?'”
So Krista’s advice to us is: “When you see a parent struggling with a child, say an encouraging word like, “You are doing a good job. How can we be helpful?'”
For more advice on how to care for children with autism please see our post: A Commotion at the Check-out Lane.
photo credit: Filipek Ramos (http://bit.ly/232bMcS)