Sunday, September 7, 2008

Autism T-Shirt Contest Winner

I know... I know... the contest has been over for a week. AND, I've been wanting to put out a new post. But, that little thing called LIFE has been getting in the way. I'm still working on my 'business at home' website. Besides it being a new creation to earn us the moola for me to continue to stay at home; it will also be a vehicle to help Parents of Autism stay home if they choose. More about that later...

Anyway here is the winning story. There were some really good ones, sorry we couldn't send you all a shirt.

The story:

Wasn't sure where to send this, or even if this is a valid entry or not, but here goes.

We don't have an autism bites t-shirt, but GOODNESS I wish we did, so instead of telling you a story about when our t-shirt helped or hurt us the most, I will tell you about when we Wished to heaven we hadn't put it off to buy one.

My Name is Nicole ..., and I have 4 wonderful children, all of them special needs, but at this point only one has been diagnosed with an ASD, she is currently diagnosed with PDD NOS, with secondary OCD, but my sister who works in a school with autistic children every day says "get a second opinion" and so, slowly we are.

My Three year old, my angel, Keira is our youngest, and also our autistic child. given that she is also developmentally delayed, she is JUST hitting what for her are the terrible twos, which means (you guessed it) an increase in the meltdown tantrums that we have become so accustomed to. You know the ones, they sound like her world is coming to an end, that you just told her that her puppy was dead, and that her favourite blanky had been thrown in the trash, and that her favourite "baby" had been kidnapped by dingos, and that IF she could understand these statements coming from you, this is how you would expect her to react... Head thrown back, mouth open wide, starting with a heart wrenching cry that escalates into an ear piercing screech that would scare the dog away... if you hadn't just told her he was dead... then the body hits the floor, or anything in arms reach gets thrown, THEN she hits the floor... I am sure you know the meltdowns I am talking about.

So here we are, travelling from point A to point B, and we hear from Keira, who was non verbal 6 months ago, but who has made leaps and bounds in the past few months "I honry" (translation I'm Hungry) so we pull into a restaurant from one of those big chains, that are usually noisy enough as it is, so as not to be concerned that her excessive noise will disrupt other patrons. we walk in and you can hear the crickets chirping outside and down the block... there are three tables with people in them, and the bar upstairs sounds empty. UH OH, I think I hope we get fast service... when Keira wants something she is rarely patient about it, and it has gotten so, we know before we walk in what we are ordering her, so that we can order it WITH the drink order and have it there before anything else... welllllllll

the hostess seats us, and we put Keira into the highchair, and HERE starts meltdown number one, she yells she screams, the crayons fly, the coloring page goes the way of the wind her cutlery gets thrown and knocks over the salt and pepper, we offer her a dessert menu to have something to look at, and she throws it and beans my 5 year old in the head with it, who then starts crying of her own right because it hurt. the couple two tables down gets up and leaves after quickly receiving their bill for drinks only, and gives us a disgusted look on the way out...
This carries on for about 5 minutes, till Dad gets frustrated and goes outside with Keira until we at least have drinks, and maybe appetizers, something to keep her busy...

Another 5 minutes, still no waitress, no acknowledgement from ANY of the servers that we are even there. two more minutes thinks I as I ready myself to pack up my 5 year old and 10 year old and leave with dad to find a golden arches (the 16 year old wasn't with us that day)

Just as I give up, and tell the kids lets go, this fresh faced MAYBE 20 year old waitress comes rushing to the table...

"I'm so sorry" says she, "no one told me they sat my table" (again three other tables of patrons, we were hard to miss) " are we waiting for two more? or should I start with the drink orders?" she says indicating dad and Keiras chairs

"no," I reply calmly "my three year old autistic daughter (we don't bother trying to explain PDD NOS to people, they don't get it) was screaming and scaring away the customers so my husband decided to take her outside until we had food or something on the table, so she wouldn't disturb anyone else"

and the reply, TOTALLY baffling to my ears... "OH I heard the screaming, thought it was just some kid being bad, we get those ALL the time, I didn't realize it was my table though..." (it would help if you looked at your tables, I think but I don't say it out loud, because the statement would be wasted, so Instead I say)

"we're ready to order," and I order for all of us at once, SPECIFYING that the children's meals should come out first, so that dad and Keira can come back inside... but just as I say this, they come back in anyways...

10 minutes later, mine and dads meals come out, followed by the other two kids meals a few minutes later, with Keiras coming dead last (and all we ordered her was sliders) but somewhere in the middle of all the food orders, our waitress finds the time to come over and say to us, trying hard to be heard over the tantrumming child "awwww whats wrong sweetie? you look so sad!" and when Keira "ignores" her, she looks dad square in the face and says "is there any way to quite her down? the other customers keep looking over here, like she's bothering them"

"HOT DOG WE HAVE A WEINER" I think knowing full well that anything I say at this point will mean nothing to miss university, because she has no idea what autism is, or that the best we could do is just what we are doing, deep pressure stimulation, and talking to her calmly until she relaxes, so dad says instead (quite sarcastically I might add) "she cant cry and eat at the same time" (ok we all know she can, but I think he made his point) so she hurried away, and yet another couple walks by, looking disgustedly at us as our daughter screams her head off) and the waitress FINALLY returns with Keiras dinner... suddenly... silence

Dad and I finally turn to our cold dinners, and all I can think of is... wish I had one of those shirts
we will be ordering three as soon as possible... and we won't be going back to this particular outlet of this restaurant



We too have been in the same type of situation as Nicole. I'm sure that MANY of you have had similar fun outings. And that is the reason we came up with the AutismBites t-shirts in the first place. Life is sooooooooo much easier when they wear them.

Nicole will have one less t-shirt to buy now.



Shanna Grimes said...

This story...all too familiar to our family had me laughing. Not because it was funny, but just the plain ignorance of people in general about Autism. Hello?? Don't they turn on the news every once in a while? These are probably the same type of people who don't know that it's a presidential election year.

I have had people flat out come and ask me "Awe, is he retarded?" (hey, at least they ask, so I can educate them) and "What do ya mean he's artistic, what does that have to do with him throwing himself on the floor?". Yep, we've had some real doosies, as I am sure all of us have :)

Thanks for sharing that story. It totally made my day. It's fun to swap these stories of ignorance, knowing we're not alone in this crazy world of Autism ;)

Annette said...

Answering your question from my blog, "What is your autism situation?" Our 6-year old son has high-functioning autism.

Thanks for checking it out.

Stephanie said...

Hi John & Robin!
I was very interested in hearing about your idea concerning earning money while staying home in order to support the family. We are in desperate financial need and we would love to hear your ideas!!
Stephanie & William McBride

Poofy_Puff said...

Ever THOUGHT about birth-control? Or is SIX just not enough?