Managing meltdowns is something any parent of an autistic child knows all too well. For Washington mom Lauren Nordberg, managing the meltdowns of her autistic 6-year-old was something she had down to a science.
Per Pop Sugar, this Washington mom knew the day was not going to be easy for her and her autistic son because he had a dentist appointment. Lauren – like most parents of autistic children – spent a great deal of time preparing her son for the dentist appointment. As a reward, she even promised to take him to a diner to get pancakes afterwards.
There were, unfortunately, a few problems with her son’s reward trip to get pancakes.
Per WTVR, this Washington mom was normally pretty prepared to deal with her son’s meltdowns. She carried a pair of headphones with them in case things got too noisy. She carried an iPad to distract her son if there was too much stimuli in the room – such as too many people. As she and her son settled into the busy diner filled with people who were enjoying Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, this Washington mother realized she didn’t have the normal tools she used to help calm her son when he became overwhelmed.
To make things worse, it was a holiday. The diner was more crowded than normal and the favored table that she and her son always sat at was occupied. For those who have an autistic child or are around someone with autism – they are partial to habits, routines, and patterns. Something as simple as not getting to sit at his favorite table is enough to cause someone with autism to have a meltdown.
“I should have known better than to take him out for lunch after a dentist appointment, but he was so excited for pancakes and I promised so there was no turning back.”
After this Washington mom and her autistic son ordered their food, her son started to have a huge meltdown, overwhelmed by the crowd and extra noise. The meltdown came complete with screaming and yelling. The Washington mom claimed some of the diners started to give her dirty looks. Again, this is something parents of autistic children tend to be very used to.
Lauren made the decision to take her son outside for a minute in order to try to calm him down while they waited for the food to arrive. On a Facebook post where Lauren shared her experience, she also talked about how you can just see and feel people making comments when your child is having a meltdown.
“I’ve heard comments and snide remarks before like, ‘He should show mom more respect.’ I’ve had people tell me I should spank him.'”
This Washington mom – like most parents with autistic children’s – heart breaks every time they hear these types of comments or get these types of stares. Unfortunately, they are all too common.
Shortly after Lauren and her son returned to eat their meal, her son became upset and started to have another meltdown. This Washington mom decided to just ask for the bill so she could pay for the food before her son became anymore upset. What happened next was something this mother – or any mother in her situation – did not expect to happen.
Instead of presenting her with the bill the restaurant manager approached her and told her someone else had paid for her meal. He presented her with a note someone – who was a complete stranger – had left behind. What the note said can be read below.
“Have a great day! You are doing a wonderful job! God bless. From a mother who knows.”
Both Lauren and the restaurant manager broke out in tears at the kind gesture following her son’s meltdown. Lauren was elated to learn there was still some good in the world. The actual note can be viewed below.
“Life with autism is already hard enough as it is. Just a little understanding goes a long way.”
It appears as if it was about a year ago that this originally occurred. The moral of the story, however, remains the same. The next time you see a child in public who is upset and acting out while a parent struggles to calm and control them, consider showing a little compassion instead of judgment. This is all Lauren and parents in her position really want.
Does it make you happy to read a story like this? Could you ever see yourself helping the parent of an autistic child in this way? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section down below.
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