Autistic child assaulted while ordering food

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I may not be posting much but this was so bad I had to at least post a link:

Assaulted at dinnertime in San Diego…

About Mel Baggs

Hufflepuff. Came from the redwoods. Crochet or otherwise create constantly and compulsively. Write poetry and paint when I can. Physically and cognitively disabled. Anything you hear in the media or gossip is likely to be oversimplified at best and wildly inaccurate at worst, the only way to get to know me is to actually know me. I'm not really part of any online faction or another, even ones that claim me as a member. The thing in the world most important to me is having love and compassion for other people, although I don't always measure up to my own standards there by a longshot. And individual specific actions and situations and contexts matter a lot more to me than broadly-spoken abstract words and ideas about a topic. My father died a couple years ago and that has changed my life a lot in ways that are still evolving, but I wear a lot of his clothes and hats every day since he died and have shown no sign of stopping soon.

40 responses »

  1. Hi Amanda,
    I happened on your blog today after my whole family watched you on CNN the other day. I am Michael O’Reilly’s sister. I currently live in Rutland, VT where Michael will be an usher in my wedding in May. You are a great inspiration to people all over the world who have Autism. Your independant typing ability is rare and exceptional. My family and I are very proud of my brother as he continually pushes to write books and test the boundaries of what is thought to be possible for people with Autism. I am very touched that you have chosen a quote from his writing and wanted you to know that as you have read his work, he watched yours and I am sure he will write you soon. Take care,
    Helena O’Reilly

  2. Hi Amanda,

    I am from the Philippines and saw a feature on you late last night on CNN with Dr. Gupta. A cousin of mine has a beautiful autistic son, who is so academically gifted and is such talented dancer too. I am so happy that you put up this website for non-autistic people like us to understand you and your struggles. I just emailed her this website and I hope this helps her too. Thank you for doing this…you are truly such a remarkable person and a real inspiration! :)

    Regards,
    Vivian Syyap
    Manila, Philippines

  3. Amanda, thank you for posting a link to the story about the waitress assaulting an autistic child at the Pokez Mexico restaurant in San Diego.

    After reading their story, I left a negative review of the Pokez restaurant (as “Andrea S.”) at http://www.yelp.com/biz/l5yPNnk3TosUCQj96dOw5Q. I found that it takes only a few minutes to register and enter a review, and they post it right away so other people will see it. I hope that helps alert future potential customers about the waitress and manager.

    As a deaf person, I, too, need a little extra time and patience when placing orders at restaurants. My speech isn’t always clear (especially in noisy environments where its already hard for the waiter to hear me), and I can never lipread the list of daily specials so I sometimes have to ask waiters to write down that sort of thing. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve never experienced anything nearly as extreme as being assaulted (!!). But I once had a taxicab company berate me for “refusing to cooperate” and for being “stubborn” (apparently they didn’t like that my phone conversation with them was necessarily SLOW because I had to call them through TTY relay service. And they flatly refused to listen when I tried to explain that my “slowness” was entirely beyond my control — that I was strictly limited to the speed of typing. Which is fast, but not quite as fast as your top speed I think. The taxicab company in question refused to continue talking to me, wouldn’t let me order a cab, and hung up on me. I was too shocked to do anything about it.

    Another time, in a restaurant, a waiter (who I think didn’t speak English well, so that joined with my own communication issues was just a bad combination for us both) got overwhelmed trying to communicate with me and simply gave up and walked away and did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to ensure that I got services. (If she really couldn’t communicate with me, okay — but she should have at least admitted that and gone to get someone else to help, not just abandoned me.) After waiting a while (and realizing that she was doing NOTHING to send some other waiter with stronger English skills to my table) I ended up going to the manager to complain. I don’t know if they did anything to discipline the waiter, but I was lucky in this case that the manager was very responsive and supportive of me — he understood immediately that my biggest issue was that I deserved RESPECT. And I got someone else to take my order.

    In another incident, I was in a restaurant with a hearing person. The hearing person disappeared for a few minutes. While she was gone, I tried to ask the waiter something. But the waiter simply refused to talk with me as soon as she realized I was deaf — she insisted on waiting until the hearing person came back. We did stay at that restaurant, but I wrote a long letter to them on a paper napkin to complain strenously about how she treated me. I don’t know if it did any good. But at least that waitress didn’t assault me!

    Given the long list of comments at the blog you linked to, it is clear that a lot of people are now aware of this incident and ready to do something about it. I hope the restaurant eventually responds.

  4. thanks for the link to write a review for the restaurant. my only problem with registering to write a review was that the program wouldn’t accept my canadian postal code so i had to make up an american one. it was the only way i could express my opinion. i hope lots of people will write up negative reviews for pokez. i’m disgusted by the discrimination shown by the waitress and management of that place. how could anyone treat a child that way?! it really makes me feel sick!

    kathy

  5. Hi Amanda……My sister sent me a copy of the tapes from CNN.
    You have changed my view on the world. I used to teach “mentally disabled”, “developmentally diasabled”….whatever you choose to refer to. I always knew there was something amiss…Thank you for coming forward and letting me know what it was. It was ME.
    Many Blessings to you my friend…Lynda

  6. What that waitress did is “aggravated battery” in Georgia, the state where I used to live, and where I was somewhat familiar with the laws. That’s a rather nasty felony charge, which if one is convicted of it, will put him “inside” for quite a while.

    Hell, “simple battery” in GA consists of just touching someone without his permission. (if he objects to that)

  7. Ordering food in a restaurant seems to many like a little thing, but it’s one of the most important public signifiers of adulthood/personhood. Props to the parents of this kid for supporting his right to order what he wants.

  8. Wow. We don’t eat out much (that’s an understatement) but sometimes there is occasion for the kids to grab a “burger and fries” (or whatever) somewhere and we’ve never had issues with that. But this past September, when Dennis Debbaudt was here giving his seminars, Alex & I took him out for lunch to a local Mexican place. Our experience was the exact opposite of David’s. The young guy serving us not only took Alex’s order but engaged Alex in conversation although he had to work to understand him. He left me with a very good impression of the restaurant he worked for (Pat & Willy’s Cantina) and likely left Dennis with an equally good feeling about Prince Edward Islanders. I’m sorry I was too out of my element at the time to get the guy’s name, his boss should know how good he is. It’s my belief this guy went “above and beyond” and good on him for that. It’s obvious David’s server not only did not do their job, they did serious injustice to themselves, their employer, David’s family & David. “Below and nowhere near” what they were hired to do. It appears the same can be said for the Manager. Very sad indeed.

  9. Hi Amanda, I live in Canada. I saw you on CNN. My niece who has
    FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) is in the process of receiving a diagnosis of Autism. She’s 3 and 7 months and we cannot communicate with her at all.
    Our adopted daughter also has FASD. I had to open my mind years ago in order to understand our child. I could relate to you so much
    when you were speaking. About everything….about the sensory processing, the time that it takes your mind to work.
    It’s very much the same as FASD. We cannot get our daughter’s school to understand that even though she’s doing well academically, she still has brain damage.
    You are an amazing person and have given me hope that some day we will learn to communicate with my niece.
    I have posted your web site in our Support Group.
    It is estimated that 1 in 100 children has FASD. Many children with FASD have Autism.
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/RAD_FASDkids/
    Elaine ( co- Moderator of RAD_FASDkids)

  10. Hello, Amanda, I saw your story on cnn too! Thank you. Let me say this again, Thank you, Thank you for being you. I was a bit heartened however when I don’t see a transgender catagorie, oh well, I too am one of the forgotten ones whom refuses to be forgotten. I “know” you, and I “know,” why you translated in your current body, (why you were born the way you were.) I chose to translate as a transgender person to show that God is love and come in any form and that is the only truth, but many of these people down here don’t have “sense” enough to know it. ~sending love, Cathleen.

  11. FOR PEOPLE READING THIS BLOG AFTER CNN

    ESPECIALLY for parents, relatives, professionals, etc.

    There seem to be a number of people commenting here after viewing the CNN piece. And some seem to want to learn how to better understand their autistic relatives.

    As Amanda says here : http://ballastexistenz.autistics.org/?p=317, she won’t be replying to people for a while. But she has an entire blog full of posts right here for you to explore — and many of these posts already answer some of the questions that keep coming up. Check out her archives here.

    Also, if you go to http://ballastexistenz.autistics.org/?p=317 and scroll down to comments #56, #92, #105, #133, #134, and #138, you will see some links that may be of interest to people who still have a lot of questions about autism — including links to other blogs by autistic adults. Because Amanda is not the only intelligent, articulate, insightful autistic adult writing on line (or in print, for that matter).

  12. i think that it is terrible that things like this can happen. i am a mother of a child who is autistic. he is beautiful, intellegent, and i love him very much. i have been to restaraunts with him where we unfortunately have had a long wait and he has gotten uncomfortable in the environment setting. whether it be too much noise, the lights bothering him, he cant sit still any longer, or whatever it is. i expect respect for my child, ASD or not, he is still a person and will always be. if people cant have patience and compassion it is sad. i hope that the family is able to get this resolved and i hope that the waitress that did this gets fired!! that is horrible.

    heather marie

  13. Hello Amanda,

    I am a teacher’s aid that works with autistic boys and girls in the high school setting. It is rewarding for me to hear your story, and how I am able to communicate with my students. In addition, it is a learning situation for me to hear a story on the other side. Thank you, I look forward to your future postings about your stuggles and thoughts.

  14. Hi Amanda — I learned about you by watching CNN. My son who is 16 has various mental health illnesses and one of them is Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) which is on the Autism Spectrum. I am often frustrated because people are not willing to learn about mental health illnesses but they are quick to judge, criticize and categorize. He is an average looking 16 year old but his behavior, mannerisms and more can have people believing he is mean, inconsiderate, rude and more. The lack of what we state are appropriate social skills keeps others away and afraid. Because of listening to you on CNN I have already learned information that will be most helpful. Thank you and God Bless. Karen Hayes Thier, Baltimore, MD

  15. This is so horrible. I cannot believe that the manager did nothing when told what the waitress had done. I hope that a police report is filed.

  16. I think I would’ve adressed the issue to the manager this way. “My son was taking a bit of time to figure out what he wanted. Your waitress snapped, and assaulted him. My son happens to be Autistic, however I know many so-called “normal” children who also take time to figure out what they want to eat.

    So here’s the issue, how many more kids are you going to let this waitress take her anger out on until she really beats up a child? This is a sign. I will report your resturant to the people who deal with child safety. I will tell them that you refuse to fire a waitress who has shown signs of displaying agression towards children. That you are in essence keeping a child abuser as a employee at your resturant. I also will tell the news, the Autism Society of America. As well as any other parent with small children that this resturant condones, let alone allows their employees to take their rage out on small children. See how much buisness you end up with. You can save yourself all this trouble by simply firing this waitress now.”

  17. In my opinion, the waitress was way over the line in her overreaction, whether the child had autism, or another difference.

    That said, has anyone considered that perhaps the child was uncomfortable with being expected to interact with a complete stranger? Too many times, parents expect us to perform ‘on cue’, and it is exquisitely torturous to be placed in this position. I would have preferred to have been privately asked beforehand, if I wanted to place my own order, or if I would be more comfortable having a family member relay it for me.

    In any event, the child was doubtless traumatized by the experience. Hopefully the waitress has found another line of work, one that doesn’t involve pressure to process customers, regardless of their needs and differences in communicative ability.

  18. If anyone wants to write directly to the restaurant to express their concern, the address is:

    Pokez Mexican Restaurant
    947 E. Street
    San Diego CA 92101-6511
    United States

    This address was confirmed at the blog in question. (Someone there also posted a phone number for them, though I didn’t write that down.)

    Of course, read the story at the link that Amanda provides (and also see the subsequent updates at the same blog) before writing your letter to ensure that your letter is as accurate as possible, given the information that is available. And I would suggest that letters should be as civil as possible.

    Yes, I know, we’re all angry and upset. But most people don’t respond well to insults or attacks (verbal or otherwise). Okay, David (the boy attacked in the restaurant) seems to be a remarkable exception given how well he handled the situation. But people who feel attacked tend to end up even more entrenched in their attitudes and less likely to bend far enough to apologize or otherwise repair the situation.

  19. Sadly I’ve seen outrageous behavior like this myself as a person with a disability. On one occasion I had food thrown at me when I asked a worker at a restaurant what was in a buffet (that I couldn’t see from my wheelchair). I chose to follow up with legal action. Amanda- I’m glad you posted this and entitled it as assault- it’s time pwd speak up about this kind of intolerable treatment and call it what it is – ableism.

  20. Oh my God. What a terrible thing that has happened to this youngster! What is with the waitress? She should have been fired and the Police called for assault. I would have hoped the Police hauled her butt off to jail. Evil waitress.

  21. KC’sMommy said:
    What is with the waitress? She should have been fired and the Police called for assault. I would have hoped the Police hauled her butt off to jail. Evil waitress.

    They did talk to the police, but the police only took down an incident report. You can see several subsequent updates on this situation at http://brian1789.livejournal.com

  22. This is obviously a really clear cut case of a restaurant being really blatantly out of order, but i’m interested in the less clear cases, where it *is* something autism-specific, and not something that would be a wrong way to treat *any* customer…

    Jypsy says: “The young guy serving us not only took Alex’s order but engaged Alex in conversation although he had to work to understand him.” I think if a waiter tried to engage me in conversation, i’d find that at least as distressing as an assault…

    I love Chinese and Thai food, but when i go to those restaurants, the waiters insist on physically putting a… cloth thing i can’t remember the name of… across everyone’s lap, which freaks me out enough to stop me enjoying the meal. If just touching someone without their consent is assault (which i agree is probably the only broad enough logical definition of it), then surely that is? But it’s standard practice, and in all probability *not* doing it would be regarded as “rude” or “bad service”…

    If i can at all help it, i only go to self service restaurants…

  23. First let me say that I feel sorry for the treatment of that patron at the restaurant. I recognize that people need to be mindful of other people. Perhaps you can get your friends to follow-up with the restaurant and attempt to get some restitution from the managers. Usually if you press the issue another day, then people are more willing to look at an issue from your point of view.

    I just discovered from reading some of your blog entries where you posted your medical documents (Is your name really Amanda?) that you are five days older than me. The more I read your writings, the more I feel that I am reading of someone with a strong philosophical background–something I rarely find when I surf the Internet. Although I disagree with you over some things that you write, I am more or less sympathetic to what seems your central objective: getting the world to respect the rights of those labeled as disabled, being careful about our criteria of person-hood, and getting society to gain a better grasp of different human conditions as differences of people, rather than pathologies.

    I am very interested in rhetoric, advocacy, and philosophy of language, and I frequent your site for stimulating material for my philosophy of language class. Your arguments about person-hood on YouTube also have international justice implications regarding the torture of terrorists.

    Perhaps you can e-mail me a list of philosophy articles/books that you have read or essays that you have presented? I am very interested in your topic.

    Take care,

    Brian
    damoclesone@gmail.com

  24. Hi Amanda. This encounter with you is really providential. I would like to have an e mail conversation with you as soon as possible. I am from El Salvador, and my daughter has PDD (Pervasive Development Disorder).

    Keep going

    Ciro

  25. Amanda,

    Your video and your blog have given me incredible insight into your world. I have read many books and narratives about autism, but haven’t felt this connected until now. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

    Have you ever considered writing a book?

    Linsay

  26. Amanda,
    Thank you so much for the many answered questions! After working with autistic and other special needs pre-school children over the last 3 years, you’ve truelly inspired me. I’ve often wondered…”what’s going on inside that little head?” Now, I realize maybe they were just wondering, “what’s up with this crazy lady? Why does she keep staring and smiling at me?” It doesn’t seem like you realize how absolutely amazing you are, and I hope soon you’ll know how many people you’ve touched. You’ve changed my already curious mind, and made me realize I’m the one that has alot of work to do.
    I know you’re not writing much now, but know I’m addicted to your site! Please keep teaching us! God Bless YOU!
    Kim LaCivita, Nashville, TN

  27. Hello. I’m from Alabama. I saw you on CNN the other night and I just wanna say I’m proud of you for coming on television and giving us a glimpse into your life. That was very brave of you. The thing about the boy who was assaulted by the waitress was just awful. I can’t believe the manager stood up for that woman. I just wanna say to you to always believe in yourself. Always trust in God. When you trust in God then all things are possible for you. God bless you!

  28. I was so angry when I first read this story. Luckily we normally have great service at restaurants. It’s completely unacceptable to touch any child in this way. Grrrrr.

    Jypsy, if you read this I want to let you know that we will be giving the restuarant you named our patronage when we next visit the island (we go every year). They deserve it.

  29. I am so surprised that this family seems to be having such a difficult time filing assault charges against this waitress. She grabbed him, shook him, and yelled into his ear. I don’t know how old this boy is, but he seems to be a minor. There is no excuse for touching someone, especially a child, in this manner. What is wrong with our legal system?!!! This woman should be charged with assault or battery (I know there is a legal difference).

    There is something that bothers me about this man’s blog entry, though. I am a single mother of 4, my oldest is high-functioning autistic. Now,I am going by what this man wrote in his blog. How he described their restaurant experience. I know that I am putting myself out on a limb here, but I have to comment. By writing the following comments, I am in NO way condoning or accepting the restaurant’s behaviours. I think that they should be charged and fined. Here we go… Why didn’t this father step in and help his son when he saw that he was having difficulty ordering? Better yet, why didn’t he make sure his son knew what he wanted before the waitress got there. Autistic kids have different ways of processing things. It helps to keep them focused. It could be the menu was visually overwhelming for him and he was having a difficult time staying focused and making a choice. If I saw that my autistic son was having a difficult time, I would have tried to help him with his ordering. I think that this boy was becoming more stressed because he couldn’t get out what he wanted to order. And I think this led to him repeating several times what he wanted and then ultimately not being able to say what he really wanted. As parents of autistic kids, we have to try to anticipate situations that will cause our kids stress. I actually do this with all my kids, but when we are going somewhere such as the mall, restaurant, friend or family home, etc., I talk to them about where we are going, how I expect them to act, and what the consequences will be for not behaving properly (loss of privileges, etc.). This helps my autistic son tremendously. And believe me, even with this prepping, things don’t always go smoothly. They’re kids for heavens sake! To be honest with you, if this had happened to me, that waitress would never have had a chance to touch my child. How was she able to sit next to him, shake him and yell in his ear? How far away was this father from his son? I am not confrontational. I am very tolerant because I have a son with special needs who sometimes makes noises and makes unusual arm movements and is still learning proper social cues. But if anyone were to inappropriately approach any of my children, I would be in their face before they knew what was happening. I was also bothered that the teenage brother of this boy was upset with his brother and blamed him for having to leave the restaurant. These few observations (again, I am going by what this man wrote in his blog) make me think that this family is not 100% supportive of their autistic child or not fully educated in autism. I know that this may generate negative comments from some, but please take a moment to consider what I am saying. I want society to be tolerant and accepting of my autistic child. But is my job as a parent to help my son learn and understand how to follow social cues and to protect him when his limitations put him in harms way. I no longer apologize (haven’t we all in the beginning felt embarrassed by our child’s unusual behaviours) when my son feels the need to hum loudly(he’s filtering out unwanted noises), or has to feel the texture of wallpaper or a fuzzy sweater on display, or makes circular arm movements (he does this when he is feeling stressed). Instead, I try to help him find a more socially acceptable way of dealing with these issues.

    I would like to know if anyone else picked this up from this man’s blog and his account of their terrible restaurant experience. Did anyone else make the same interpretations as I did?

    Thank you for letting me express my point of view.

  30. momluvs4,
    There are additional comments on the story from other witnesses/friends over there. It seems that the boy was speaking fine and the others could understand him. It may have been his initial hesitation that set the waitress off. The party claims that they heard him fine but the waitress snapped and mocked him, then when he protested she really yelled. I know we would have intervened and confronted her by then but we don’t know how fast this happened. Intervening before the assault might have seemed unnecessary, as it can stress the child out more to be interrupted. My son may panic or repeat what I say when/if I order for him and that also stops the waitress.
    I would not judge the family for what the teenager thought. They say and think all sorts of things. In fact, that he blamed his brother exposes the likelihood that the family supports the autistic one over his wishes a lot. Kids don’t understand that circumstances can be the cause of something, they just see who the focus is on.
    I think the parents’ choice in allowing their autistic son to order is a parenting choice, not hinging on their education in autism. We can’t always do and say everything for our child. Eventually, they have try for themselves.

  31. momluvs4,

    I was wondering myself when I read the blog how the parents could just sit there and let the waitress do what she was doing to their son. The only thing I can come up with is that they must have been stunned over the unexpected actions of the waitress and failed to react in a timely manner.

  32. As you say, the family was probably in total shock. You DON’T expect that kind of thing to happen, and the social habits we’re ingrained with go against any sort of reaction.

    Also, given that autism may run in families, it’s also possible that the parents themselves may be slightly along the autistic spectrum and their own conditions may have made it difficult for them to react with the kind of fire and split-second decision-making necessary to leap to one’s feet and smack down someone abusive.

    Focusing on the response of the parents is counterproductive. In truth, they did everything that society required of them, including complaining in a reasonable manner to the manager. Pokez is at fault here.

    What KimJ says is also helpful — it may have been MORE stressful for the child to have someone order FOR him. No one could possibly expect that the consequence of him ordering would be that the waitress would snap and go ballistic!

    –Kynn

  33. Ditto to #33 and #34 — I think shock can go a long way to explaining why the parents might have been slow to react to this incident.

    I’m not autistic and, to the best of my knowledge, I don’t currently know anyone who is autistic. (Past contact was too minor to be of much relevance here.) And I’m not even a parent.

    But I’m deaf, so I, too, tend to need a little more time in restaurants. Although my speech is pretty good, the high background noise that you find in most restaurants makes it harder for some waiters to understand me, especially if they already have problems understanding English. And the same noise makes it harder for me to lipread the waiter.

    When I’m with hearing companions, I admit I do sometimes turn to them for SOME assistance — for example, in helping me understand the waiter. But I generally prefer to take charge of my own ordering. And even as a kid, it would have bugged me (and DID bug me the few times it happened) if a hearing person tried to cut me off and take over, but ESPECIALLY without checking with me first. It would have made me hurt and angry to think that they both underestimated my competence and also overestimated my fragility. Sometimes it’s better to let a kid muddle through their own problems and solve them in their own way, or wait for the kid to ASK for help before you give it. Yes, even if it looks like they’re starting to get upset.

    Sure, to some extent you can anticipate problems and maybe check with the kid beforehand how they want to handle things (for example, make sure they know that ordering food for themselves is entirely optional — if they want the independence, great; if they’re already close to overload and need to minimize social contact by handing over that job to someone else, fine). But once you’ve agreed on what you’re doing, I think showing trust in the kid’s own ability to problem solve (INCLUDING their ability to ASK for help), in the long run, does more good than the harm you could do to their self esteem by jumping in too quickly.

    Of course, each child is different. For one thing, age makes a difference (I probably would have felt differently at age 3 than I did at age 8 or 14, in terms of how much help I wanted and also in terms of how quickly I would have wanted an adult to step in if I got stuck.) So I’m not in a position to speak for David, nor am I in a position to speak for momlovs4’s children.

  34. Re the poor kid…gods, but something like that is scary and hits a bit close to home for me.

    I talk (in fact, people sometimes wish I would shut up and I don’t realise when I’m essentially repeating myself or going “ranty”–which IS something I tend to do when I get nervous or don’t know people or a situation all that well–no, I *don’t* always realise when it happens) but if I’m in conversation with someone, sometimes I have to sit and think how to actually word something properly–and sometimes, with me, there is an obvious pause or slowing as my brain does the “translate mental image to word” bit. (I also, of note, tend to actually be better with writing than speech IMHO in this regard–less “translation” to do–and some of the times I do get ranty is when I’m not sure I’m phrasing something right or that I’m not sure people are in fact “getting it”.)

    This stuff with the restaurant scares the hell out of me because frankly, I can all too easily see myself giving “too much of a delay” to a waitress–especially if I’ve been really stressed, or really tired, and I’m trying to phrase something properly so that it doesn’t sound like something straight off of engrish.com (and yes, my English goes…*weird* if I’m tired; I’ve uttered things like “It chuckles to me, I love it so” when meaning to say “I am amused” during tired and stressy periods). Heavy pressure to do something NOWNOWNOW tends to make this worse (and make the conversational level in the restaurant to the point of painfulness). This could happen to me at times NOW. :P

    And re the CNN thing–congrats. And take whatever decompression time you need, seriously (I’ve been overwhelmed to the point of needing “defrag time” with stuff I’ve posted on forums before (on religiously motivated child abuse–I’m a survivor of this and also a survivor of being raised in an abusive religious group, and unfortunately autistic-spectrum kids are a rather severe target of religiously motivated child abuse so it is something I’m trying to bring awareness of), and I think my brains would be frizzled if I had stuff like CNN media attention!).

  35. momluvs4
    Hope we didn’t make you feel attacked. I did mean what I said in the last paragraph of my own comment about each child being different–in the end, the only thing the rest of us can really do is give others “something to think about.” What we can’t do is judge the best response for a specific individual child at a specific age at a specific moment in a specific situation. Only the grown up on the spot can really do that.

  36. I’m not a practicing attorney, but I believe that the waitress’s behavior constituted assault. I will not speculate on why the police did not choose to do more than take an incident report. Perhaps bigotry was at work, perhaps not. So far, I have not had anyone treat my nearly 9 year old autistic son that way. I do wonder about a shift in public mood, though. It seems that public compassion/tolerance goes only so far, and then the public seems to feel that it has “tolerated” different people long enough and can reclaim what it feels is the “right” to shove them away, out of sight, where they will not be so much “trouble.”

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