Thursday night just was not my night to decide to go to Walmart and get our household stuff. I had to take Matthew with me because I went after work. I usually go early Saturday morning but Kevin and I both had family coming from out of state so I wasn’t sure when I was going to be able to go. And we were out of so much stuff.
Well, I only got through half of what was on my list because our cart was full. Okay, fine then. I would come back the next available time that I had. Matty wasn’t real impressed with that idea. I mean, come on, we passed up the waffle aisle! But he dealt with it.
Check out went smoothly, or so I thought. It was leaving that was not so smooth because of check out. I had bought two bags of dog food and a bag of cat food. I had them laying on the bottom of the cart. I had peeled off the sticker with the bar code from the dog food and told her to run it twice. Well, she didn’t. Because I had stuff on that bottom shelf the Walmart greeter checked my receipt. She saw that there was only one bag of dog food…and she told me she had to call security. Impressed, I was not!!
Matty is already upset that we were stopped by now we had been pulled aside. So he was pacing around the cart.
I was fighting with this old hag about the dog food. She asked me what checkout I had used. I’m not sure why she asked because after I told her she just said that she would just have to call security. She was treating me like I was trying to steal the dog food. I told her that I had no problem taking the food off of my cart.
Matty was now pacing, humming, and biting his hand.
She was like, “Well, I guess that would be ok. But you need to put it away yourself.”
Of course, my response, “Are you serious?!” At this point I wanted her to call security. But Matthew has stopped pacing.
She told me then that she was not allowed to leave her post but there was a cart sitting by a cashier that I could put the dog food.
I did it as fast as I could because by then there was a very unpleasant scent in the air. He had gotten so upset he had an accident.
The second we were out of Walmart, Matty started in with, “What the heck!? She stole dog food, Mom! What the heck!”
I got him home, showered and changed. By then he was pretty well over it. But never in my life has anyone or anything upset Matty so much he had an accident in public. Never. I’m not happy at all. And of course, I didn’t get the greeters name. But next time, if there is a next time, I will have a name, a manager, and security.
Sadly, for many people out there this holiday sucks. And it starts weeks before and ends weeks after the actual holiday. Those of you out there with kids like my son know what I’m talking about. The noise from the fireworks is brutal to those who have sensitive ears. Even Rachel is affected by it. It hurts them physically to hear the pops and booms. It frightens them because it is not normal. One of my fellow bloggy friends mentioned that last night her son got so upset he was vomiting. As parents there isn’t a whole lot we can do. We can’t march across the street and tell our neighbors to quit with the fireworks. So what do we do!!
I found an article that has a little bit of help. Honestly, there is only one of these that would work for us…the tv. But some of you may find some tips that could work for your family members. And don’t forget those furry family members. Our pit bull is terrified of them! So she sleeps with us.
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They’re the symbol of our independence and bring joy to the faces of many. But, for people that experience intense sensory input, they can be thunderous and blinding. And each year so many of us stop and ask ourselves, “Do we go?” “What about our other children who really enjoy fireworks?” “Do we think our child can tolerate getting through this?”
Maybe there are some things we can do to help make this traditional festivity an enjoyable experience for the whole family.
Invest in a set of headphones or earplugs
Earplugs to block noise – not the ones we use for swimming. Think construction worker grade or Etymotic earplugs. Or use a set of headphones. You can even play soothing or patriotic music through them.
Turn up the TV
Sometimes we live near a venue that hosts a fireworks display or our neighbors decide to create their own spectacular show. So what do we do when our homes are invaded by the noise? Try playing predictable music or a favorite TV show that will cover sound. It might even be a good time to whip out that Playstation.
Preview the show
By their nature, fireworks are unpredictable. But we can try to prepare our kids to better help them know what they can expect. Sparklers may not have much sound, but they look like mini fireworks. You can also watch videos of fireworks displays. Here is a video of the fireworks show at Disney, accompanied by Disney music. This link to Pyro Innovations might be of particular interest to our kids that want to know what goes into the production of a fireworks display. There are multiple shows to download and they include clips of the crews setting up.
Watch from far away
A grocery store or other nearby parking lot, or the side of the road with the windows rolled up may provide a comfortable distance.
Take comfort items
Pack items that help soothe your child, such as a weighted vest, favorite toy, snacks, or handheld game.
Be mindful of the entire day’s schedule
Before the fireworks show, is there a party or a picnic? Are there breaks for downtime in the day? If it’s an overloaded day, fireworks may just put your child over the edge. If fireworks are your priority activity for the day, consider limiting some of your other planned activities.
Give that safety speech
Don’t miss this perfect opportunity to talk with your kids about fire safety and the dangers associated with explosive devices. Be cognizant too that some of our dislike of fireworks may come from anxiety or fear of being hurt. Reassure them that you are obeying the rules of safety.
And of course, be prepared that what worked last year, may or may not work this year. But isn’t that what makes our lives such an adventurous journey?
© 2009 Pathfinders for Autism
I had started out with one idea for today but it is going to take some time to put it all together. I commented on another fellow friend/bloggers website and it reminded me of my aunt.
My Aunt Bonnie has a fragile x son who is probably in his 40′s now. She lives in California and I don’t really have much contact with her. Okay, I have no contact with her. I would like to though. She is hilarious. I should work on that .
Anyway, she has her son at home with her. He is probably about the same severity as Matt. He is in the moderate/severe range. He talks but not on topic and perseverates a lot. He is potty trained to an extent. He needs help with wiping and he has to be told frequently to go to the restroom. Diarrhea is just a disaster! So he needs a lot of watching over and assistance. My Aunt Bonnie is married and stays at home with him. My uncle works as a mechanic and can take him in with him if he really needs too. But a fragile x person is a mechanics shop is a recipe for disaster . My aunt also has a daughter who is in her 50′s who assists with him as well. But she has her own family and works so the burden mainly lies with my aunt.
Before I had Matty, my aunt had a situation that made me realize just how tough it was for her to care for my cousin. My aunt had gotten a speeding ticket. With taking care of her son she had totally spaced it off. Well, she got pulled over for speeding one day trying to get her son to an appointment. By this time she had a warrant out for her arrest for unpaid fines. Her daughter came and picked up her son and Bonnie was taken to jail overnight.
I know. Horrible right!
Well, apparently not to my aunt. The next day when they went to release Bonnie she refused to leave! The sheriff told her that she had to go. They couldn’t hold her any longer, the fine was taken care of, and she should go home to her family. My aunt, obviously stubborn, sat down on the bench and told him, “No.” The sheriff was shocked. I mean, seriously, how many people refuse to leave jail!
My aunt told him, “You have no idea how hard things are for me back home. I didn’t until last night. Sitting in this jail has been the most relaxing and quiet day of my entire life. All I’m asking for is one more night. Just one to relax and regroup before I go back and tackle it again.”
Obviously, the sheriff couldn’t grant her wish and my uncle came and picked her up. Last I had heard my cousin was on 2 or 3 waiting lists for group homes that my aunt had approved of. She loves him very much and is very picky about where he will live out his days.
This story signified two things to me. One, that fragile x, or any development disability, may seem easy on the outside but living it is no piece of cake. And the second thing, respite is definitely necessary. My aunt never had respite services for her son. I hope she does know. Getting a break is so crucial. Could you imagine going to work one day and not getting a break for the next 20 years…not even to go pee!!
Though we don’t get actual respite services we do get a break. Matty goes with his paternal grandparents every other weekend. Rachel goes with her dad on those same weekends. So we get two days where we can focus on ourselves. And by the time the weekend wraps up we are re-energized and ready to tackle two more weeks. If you aren’t getting respite please find a way. Don’t go to jail to get it