THAT Screaming Child Is NOT Beaten!

Child Is Autistic PinI am not a confrontational person by nature, but today a guy is lucky to be left standing.  My son Tristan who has autism is noise sensitive, and he cannot tolerate the cries of his new baby sister Ayla.  Anytime she makes a sound, he has a complete meltdown.  He has a sensory overload with many sounds, and baby cries seem to put him over the edge.  :(  When I am at home, I tell him to go to his room to his quiet place if he cannot handle it.  When I am not at home there is NOWHERE to run and things can get really tough.

Today was a really bad day.  Tristan was already tuned into my depressed mood from the sudden loss of a family member the night before, and his baby sister’s cries really affected him.  I was on my way home from speech therapy and my truck was running on fumes.  I stopped at a gas station to fill up, and by this time my baby is screaming bloody murder, because she hates to ride in her car seat and she was tired.  Tristan had lost it too by then, and screamed at the top of his lungs with alligator tears running down his cheeks and his feet kicked the back of my seat in extreme frustration.  As a mother, I was at a loss of what to do, because NOTHING ever seems to help, and all my son screams is “hold the baby, nurse the baby”.  Unfortunately, I could neither safely while I drove, and so the wailing continued.

I pulled up to the pump, opened my navy blue pickup truck door and fumbled for my debit card.  As I started to pump my gas, I hear a deep man’s voice yell.  “Hey, lady!  Why don’t you quit beating the shit out of your kids?  They sound like you really took it out on them!”

A bit shocked, I peek around the pump to meet eye to eye with a grey haired middle-aged man pumping gas into his bright red Audi.  “Excuse me!”  I snapped back.

“You heard me, lady!” snarled the man.  My blood started to boil as I stared the man down.  The shrills and cries of my children echoed in the background like a red-hot fire engine screaming in my head.  “Stay calm!” I told myself.   This man obviously is an idiot, and he clearly did not take the time to notice my exhausted, unangered demeanor as I stepped out of my vehicle.  I was not a mother who just finished beating her children, but a mother who felt beaten by her children.

“Sir,” I stated, not that he even deserved that kind of respect “I have a newborn baby crying in my car, and a little boy who has autism.  Right now he is on sensory overload, and has lost it.”

The man stared at me, and then shot back a smart ass look, and said “Then tell the boy to shut the fuck up!”

At that moment I wanted to be Inspector Gadget and give him a strong right hook with my go-go-gadget extendo ten foot fist.  I confirmed this person was really an idiot, and nothing I said would change his way of thinking.  He was a lost cause.  I went back to pumping my gas as lots of other customers stared at me.  The man’s wife who was outside when he started to shout at me was now in her car, her head cowardly down.  Another woman who had been pumping next to me glared at me as she drove off.

Luckily, I have not dealt with too many people like this idiot.  When Tristan was younger, and he expressed more severe behavior, I became a hermit and hid from the world.  I was too embarrassed and ashamed as a mother to take on the world.  As a parent of a child with autism or any kind of special needs, we already know THAT screaming child we see maybe is not bratty and maybe is not beaten by his mother or father.  Instead, the child could be overwhelmed by the surrounding environment, and lack the ability to process and verbalize the experience in socially accepted ways.

Our society needs to put on their compassion caps, their oral filters, and judge others much less.  I am a mother who slaps on a happy face when I am out and about, and I tell everyone I am fine, when instead inside me there are times I want to curl up in a little ball and cry like I felt today.  I am not sure how we teach others how to be more considerate and less judgmental, because when I became a special needs parent, it opened up my eyes to not judge simply by appearances.  The same could be said more generally for many things in life.  We do not know what goes on behind closed doors or what reality is for other people.  The next time you see a woman step out of her vehicle to pump her gas, and you hear the screams of her children, at least be compassionate and concerned enough to remain silent rather than be an egomaniac numbnut who gets thrills from bullying others.

Autism awareness is definitely worth attention.  Here are two good pages on the topic:

Always Unique Totally Intelligent Sometimes Mysterious

Autism Awareness

What would you have done differently in this situation?  I wished my husband had been there.  The man probably would not have done it then, but if he did, one look from my husband would have made him pee in his pants and shrivel like an uprooted thistle in the sun.  How can we help society or teach people like this man to think before they speak?

 

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Amee

I am Amee, a housewife, mother, food lover, and DIY cleaner. I am a special needs parent and a woman's health advocate. I love my cats, shoes, chocolate, and Superman.
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Comments

  1. Shauna says

    Unfortunately, there will never be a world shortage of complete a-holes. All we can really do is manage our own little corner of the world and (every once in awhile) get confrontational right back. That’s just my two cents anyway. :) Sorry you had deal with such douchery.

    • says

      Yes I wanted to be more in his face, but was worried if he got physical being I was alone. I also did not want to stoop to his level and be an example to my children. I am sorry to what a nasty person he was.

  2. Callie says

    Oh Amee! What an insensitive JERK!! You had every right to fuss back at him! I would have! As the advocate for our children, it is our Right and Duty to stand up for them….especially against the idiocy of the world! So very sorry you had to deal with that, prayers that the rest of the day is better. Be blessed!

    • says

      Yes total jerk is right I have never been treated like that. I have had the stares, the looks, but never that kind of treatment. I hope karma kicks him hard because I bet he treats everyone in his life like this. I hope I fussed enough?

  3. says

    Wow.
    Kids screaming and crying in the car really is not specific to children with special needs. Like you said, there are just about NO OPTIONS available when driving somewhere you have to go to (such as home!).

    And, a child up to 8 or so could easily pitch a screaming fit when they are not getting their way, and the parent is not caving in. (And Ive seen older ones do it too)

    Pumping gas is about the best place I can think of for this to happen… no one’s peace is being interrupted, no one is trying to enjoy a show they paid for, and, everyone can easily get back in their car and shut their door if they don’t want to hear it. If it had happened in a movie theater, you would have left with them, but the gas station is where you HAD to be, AND, it’s no idyllic setting requiring quiet!

    I am sure I would have been so shocked that I would have yelled at him, probably in a way that didn’t even make any sense.

    But… thinking about it from the comfort of my home, I’m gonna go with that the guy must have been having a REALLY BAD DAY, and been on sensory overload and lost it himself.

    • says

      Thanks for writing Cindy! Yeah I have seen lots of kids losing it in a car before, but if I have ever had negative thoughts I keep them to myself. I could understand if the man saw me punching my children or screaming and cussing at them to say something, but then I would not yell out by cussing and making another person defensive right off the bat. Hope it was that, but I think he is probably a person who has a major ego – basically I hope he went home and his wife had the courage to say something to him and make him think. People need to think before they speak period.

  4. Heather K says

    Wow! I think you are right. There probably isn’t anything else you could have done. I am convinced that people like that are only happy if they make everyone around them as miserable as they are. Good for you though for not stooping to his level. You have a lovely blog. ~Heather @

    • says

      Hi Heather,

      Thank you! Recently started blogging after wanting to do it for two years. Bit the bullet and here I am writing away. Thanks for your link I will check it out! Yeah that guy was not a nice person oh well glad I did not cuss back or act like him. Doubt it will make an impression, but one never knows. :) Amee

  5. says

    Found you via Love that Max. I don’t know why I feel obligated to inform you of that!

    Anyway…

    My jaw is STILL on the floor. What a jerk! He needed a good old fashioned go go kick to his manhood! I think you totally handled the sitch great. I always bumble like a fool in person…but think of amazing and profound things to say after. And at least once daily…I think “I hate people”. Most often after something involving someone’s perception of my life as a special needs mommy.

    xo from one mom to another.

    …danielle

    • says

      Hi Danielle,
      I Love that Max and happy you found me there. Yeah I still shake my head about the situation and feel profoundly sad for the man. He must have something seriously wrong inside of him to feel the need to bully like that. I also popped over briefly onto your blog and saw the MRI of your son’s brain and WOW. Your son has a purpose on this world as does mine and God does many wondrous things with bodies and minds who have to work harder than others. Thank you for commenting and I look forward to reading more about your life and family. :) Amee

  6. Natalie says

    Hello Amee,
    I will be very honest with you, I would rather listen to a child have a meltdown than listen to somebody playing their music riduculously loud! I have 3 children and they can have their meltdowns for various reasons. My youngest, Emaleigh, has more frequent meltdowns. I have had many stares when pulling into or leaving places and politely invite others to come over and watch how I handle the situation. As if I can educate the public on how to handle a child that has a meltdown. This usually occurs when she has gotten out of her carseat and we are waiting for the meltdown to surpass before leaving. I have set rules when going places that voices need to remain at level 1 when pumping gas or a meltdown is underway. I have a rubbermaid tub of favorites (toys, snacks, blanket) in the van and gladly bribe my child if needed. Emaleigh is fixated with looking at the pictures on my phone, so if needed, when she has started to come down from the tunnel vision part of her meltdown, I will offer a preferred item. If it is too bad, I will take her out of the car and just hold her until she has calmed down. Although, meltdowns in public might be embarassing, my child comes first and the perspective of others can be temporary.

    • says

      Hi Natalie,

      Thank you for the advice thankful it has got a lot better. My baby does not cry near as much and my son manages to be okay with it. Your tote of goodies is a great idea I might have to try. Thanks, Amee

  7. Sally says

    There are “autism cards” you can hand out, but someone like this probably doesn’t care anyway. I have had horrible treatment also, so I know where you are coming from. It’ rarely worth it to confront a twit. I had two young men say my son should be ‘locked up’ when he looked under a stall to see if it was occupied, he was doing nothing wrong and was only about 5. I had told them he had autism when they said he should be ‘locked up’. I have never been so angry in my life, but I realized they were jerks and nothing was likely to change that except life experiences. Sorry for what you went through..

    • says

      Hi Sally,

      I have heard of the cards you referred to, but usually we are with people who understand or my hubby is with me. I am sorry for your experience as well because looking under a stall is a fairly normal kid thing to do. Yes I think that man was a lost cause, but I hope somehow some way his heart can be soften. Hugs, Amee

  8. Sarah says

    I have no words to describe that guy besides obstinate, ignorant pig. When a kid on the spectrum gets into sensory overload, yelling at them to “Shut the f*** up,” typically will make it WORSE!! I should know, I used to be THAT KID! I’m 20 now, so when I get sensory overload I have different coping mechanisms, but I used to hide, or curl up in a ball, or, yes, even scream!

    Screaming kids in cars very rarely equal out to them being beat; I’ve seen 10-year-olds screaming their fool heads off because they didn’t get their way! Heck, I’m a cashier and I had a 12-YEAR-OLD start screaming because she couldn’t get something she wanted.

    Obviously this guy was ignorant in thinking that telling an Autistic kid to just shut up would work; from his reaction it sounds like he was projecting what he did to his kids onto you!! I hate to say it, but sometimes the ignorant will not listen, so we have to let them be; though I would’ve given him a piece of my mind first!

    Good Luck!

    • says

      Hi Sarah,

      I totally agree with you telling someone to “Shut the F** up does not help anything and I am sorry for what people have done to you. It is hard not to understand what you, my son or many others go through. I can only imagine and take from what I watch and learn from his ques.

      Kids can have all kinds of melt downs at any age and that man certainly has issues deep down he needs to deal with. I hope and pray he is not a father, but if he is I hope that somehow, some way he heart is softened.

      Hugs,
      Amee

  9. michelle graham says

    Unfortunately, I too have had to deal with uneducated people and their rude comments and stares. But I hate that I feel like I have to explain ANYTHING to them. Like saying my son has Autism. It comes out as an excuse, instead of an answer. I am not ashamed in any way of my son, but why should I say anything to anyone. He’s my son. If they don’t like hearing my son’s meltdown while waiting in line at Walmart, then walk away! Let me go ahead of you in line so I can get my son home, and quit your judging and hurtful comments. My son can hear them too. What do they think the kid will learn from the encounter? Really, I notice too that its mostly older generations that have the most to say. As if the Autism diagnosis is just some made up thing discovered by doctors to make parents of unruly children feel better. I am fairly new to this world of special needs. We only got the official dx within the past year. Until I experienced it myself I had no idea how hard having a special needs child can be. But the next time I am approached with rude comments or suggestions, I will know that I am not alone. And I will reply with a simple, “Thank you and God bless.”

    • says

      Hi Michelle,

      In this man’s case I believe he was simply a person who is not nice to most people, but most people it is plain ignorance. I too had no clue how hard it was until I had my son, but I like your “Thank you and God Bless!” approach. I know my words made no difference to that man, but at least I could walk away with my head held up high. Thankfully, his sister is now one and does not scream in her car seat and he actually kinda likes her now. :) Thanks for your kind words and thoughts. Amee

  10. Melissa says

    I know how this feels. My sister is autistic and we have had our fair share of people respond in kind like this person. I find it so unfair that in a world of “tolerance” people with autism are still stigmatized and their families marginalized to the brink. You did the right thing! We have been dealing with this disorder for almost 20 years and sometimes the ignorance of others gets old… Keep up the good work! You are doing the right thing for your child.

    • says

      Hi Melissa,

      Thank you! Yes people’s ignorance gets old real fast, especially those who are mean and hurtful as this man was. Hugs to you and your sister! Love, Amee

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