I’ve heard and read a lot of accounts lately from parents and caregivers about other adults either giving unsolicited parenting advice or making crass comments about special needs kids when they are having a difficult time in public. I’ve got to be honest – this is one of the biggest reasons I built a ‘moat’ around my family when we first started this journey, and it makes me downright angry when I hear a story from another parent having to put up with this on top of trying to stop an active meltdown in the frozen food aisle.
I want to share some of the stories with you. I swear I am not exaggerating:
- A father of a non-verbal, autistic three-year-old, at the grocery store, was told by a stranger to, “shut your brat up and give him the damn crackers already,” when the father was working to get his son to use the sign he knows for crackers, and the child let a near silent tear of frustration roll down his cheek.
- A mother of a toddler with Down syndrome was told loudly to, “keep her brat quiet,” when he was excited at seeing a toy he liked in a grocery store.
- A mother of an elementary school-aged child was admonished by passersby in a department store for “letting her brat get away with murder,” when her child had a meltdown – after she’d managed to get the child into a dressing room to isolate him to let him calm down.