I read a blog this week by The Reluctant House Dad which really made me think. Here is the link to the blog, http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2014/02/16/child-snatchers-are-not-the-norm-leaving-children/
It made me think about all the comments, how people would never leave their child for a moment and they would always take their children into the shop, it’s easier to get them out of the car and take them with them etc etc. Where this is true for most children, it is not always the best option. My Joe is 8 and NT and can happily follow me along anywhere I go, Jamie 10 with Autism will not do this. Would you pick up a sleeping baby at the petrol station to pay for fuel or lock the car and nip in? What if you had twins, triplets or more?
Obviously in the above blog the man left his child in the pub, I’d like to say I would not do this but that depends on how well they knew the member of staff who he had told. You can’t judge someones decision without knowing the full facts.
Everyday I take Joe to school in the car (we could walk but Jamie wouldn’t) she stays in the car on her IPad while I walk him in the door and say goodbye. I do the exact same when I pick him up, she sits in the car with her IPad while i go and wait at the door and bring Joe to the car. If I had to get her out of the car and into school (incidentally this was her first school which she absolutely hates) it could be the start of World War 3, the best option for all of us is that Jamie gets to stay in the car (her choice) while I quickly nip him in and out of school.
When I run out of certain foods that we can only get from certain shops, Jamie will again stay in the car. For example, she has to have a Nesquick yogurt with her Melatonin and they only sell those in Morrison’s, she also only likes stay fresh brown bread which we get from Morrisons. So when we run out and are desperate I park as close to the shop as possible, nip in for the yogurts and bread (grabbing a few cans of energy drinks for me while i’m there) straight through the self service tills and back out to the car. This takes around 5 minutes but if I had to get her out of the car, into the shop and through the tills it would be a nightmare. If we do a big shop she comes in, it is a nightmare but needs must. On a little nip in trip I don’t see why I should stress her out for no reason.
I live on a new build estate which is a cul de sac. If I need to walk the dog and Jamie refuses to come with me, I leave her on the sofa while I walk around the estate. This isn’t a long walk for the dog but when needs must at least she is getting fresh air. If the weather is ok we go out for a good walk and Jamie comes, but if it’s cold or raining she will not come so sometimes it’s a couple of times around the estate while Jamie sits on her IPad comfy in the house.
There are other times I will leave her and her brother, if I nip into the chemist for a prescription or into the surgery to request a repeat prescription, at the petrol station, local shops if I need milk etc, they will sit happily in the car.
Some might say i’m giving into her and she should be made to go into the supermarket or walk the dog, those people obviously have no experience of Autism. She has to do things that she doesn’t want to do a lot of the time already, I am not going to upset her and stress her out and cause a sensory overload if I don’t need to.
Here is a video that might help you understand what it feels like for a person with Autism in a supermarket. http://blog.theautismsite.com/sensory-overload-simulation/
Did you watch it? If so you might think twice about forcing an Autistic child to do things that can cause this when there is a better option.