autism

To The Mom Whose Child Was Having A Difficult Time at Chillers

I have no idea if you will ever see this, but I hope you do. I just want to say that I wish you hadn’t left and I hope it wasn’t because of us.

You came into Chillers Ice Cream in Louisville, Ky on Sunday, November 22, around 1:25 pm. I was there with my 4 kids waiting for our lunch. We were the only other ones in there. I noticed your son right away because of his excitement over choosing his ice cream and closeness in age to mine. After you ordered, you both sat down to wait. Our order was coming in stages and your son began screaming every time part of our order was called. Each time he screamed, my kids would cover their ears. I approached you and briefly asked about the electronic PECS program you were using because it wasn’t available when my twins were using them. 

Finally, your ice cream orders were called but shortly after, he began to scream again. One of my sons said “oh no, not again”, as he covered his ears. My daughter said, “he’s too loud!”. At that moment, you got up, threw his ice cream away and left.

I hope it wasn’t because of us. I tried telling you not to leave for our sake. You didn’t hear me because you were focusing on your exit. After you left, my twins asked why he was screaming. I told them that he appeared to be having a difficult time communicating his frustration. My 13 year old daughter told her brothers that they used to scream a lot when they couldn’t talk. They spent the rest of their meal talking about how much easier it was when they could communicate what was wrong. They also said that they should have gone over to him and said “hi” to see if he was ok. I was proud of them for coming up with this solution, but wish it could have been a reality.

I have a feeling you might be used to leaving establishments because of the disruption to other patrons. You might be used to the comments my kids made when he started screaming. You know the stares and whispers are coming as you struggle to remove your child from the situation. You know that some might be saying “I wouldn’t let my kid act like that” or “all they need is a good spanking”. I know because I have left countless places over the years for the same reason. 

In this instance,  you didn’t have to leave because my kids were vocalizing their discomfort. One thing I have become in this 11-year journey is tolerant. Tolerant of differences and everything associated with it. My children can be tolerant, but not before their impulsive (albeit honest) , noise sensitive reactions.  Maybe there was an entirely different reason you left that I didn’t see, but I kind of doubt it.  

I just want you to know that there are people out there who “get it” and understand when a child is having a hard time coping. I’ve thought about this a lot because I wish I had made more of an effort to let you know it was “ok”. Because really,  it was ok.

3 thoughts on “To The Mom Whose Child Was Having A Difficult Time at Chillers

  1. Although DC is probably the loudest person in the room – he would have the same reaction to someone else’s noise. I can not always control the way he reacts. It is a difficult situation when we are trying so hard to give someone the acceptance we want for our own kids and our kids react (as they do) to the noise. I really hope she sees your post. I understand how bad you feel. I would feel exactly the same way – and have.

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  2. Hello. Thank you for your kind words regarding chillers. We visit there often, actually. My son has been having increased trouble with waiting as you witnessed. What you didn’t see or failed to mention in the post was that he started hitting me and biting me .That is why we left. It had nothing to do with you and your family. In fact, I wasn’t paying any attention to them so I couldn’t hear what they were saying anyway. We left with throwing away his ice cream because I am not going to reward inappropriate behavior. I think most people are tolerant and do understand. I’ve been on this journey a long time with him and we will conquer these behaviors. He’s a great and beautiful boy that I am proud to call my son! We just had a bad day. But, anyway, thanks for understanding.

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    1. I’m glad you saw this! You are right, I didn’t see him hitting you because I wasn’t looking at you intentionally while it was happening. If I’m staring, my kids are going to think it’s ok to stare too. Although, I guess in this case if I had been staring, I would have seen what was happening and not jump to conclusions!
      I have also thrown away treats for the same reason. Thank you for taking the time to respond!

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