Every parent endures a public fit from a toddler. It’s a rite of passage, and though no fun, it’s generally accepted by all but a few curmudgeonly onlookers.
Fast forward a few years to a disregulated 10 year old, and it’s a whole different ballgame. If it feels like you’re in the spotlight when your 2 year old flops on the floor screaming, when it’s a 10 year old it feels like a fireworks display in Time Square. When you have a child on the autism spectrum or with sensory challenges, you’re all too familiar with the public meltdown.
We had one of those less-than-optimal outings yesterday. The stars all misaligned and we had a necessary outing on a severely disregulated day. I expected odd looks and rude comments, but instead received kindness and dignity from several people, and I want them to know that I noticed, that it matters.
To the phlebotomist who showed kindness and acceptance beyond professionalism, I want you to know that I noticed.
To the doctor whose reassuring words calmed our anxiety about Ben’s disregulation, I want you to know that I noticed.
To the receptionist who registered us all together and minimized transitions, even though you didn’t have to, I want you to know that I noticed.
To my teenaged daughter who could just as easily have been mortified, but instead showed dignity and aplomb, I want you to know that I noticed.
Small acts of kindness are the air and water of special needs families. They make a difference. We notice.