Post # 1
I don’t really have anyone I can talk about this with. It’s probably not really that big of a deal, and maybe I was the one in the wrong, but I want to get it off my chest in hopes I’ll at least stop thinking about it.
He is 7 years old and a very cute little boy, but he is considered to be on the low end of moderate functioning autism spectrum (PDD-NOS). He can walk, is toliet trained (occassional accidents though), and has some limited speech ability. He is sensitive to noise, lights, and a lot of people, but usually will do pretty well in public as long as he’s not stressed out.
Anyway, my husband and I took our stepson(he’s my husband’s ex wife’s son, not biologically my husband’s) and our son (12 months) to the mall to trick or treat. Stepson had been trick or treating before with his mom, so we felt like it would be an okay activity for him. I managed to work with him to do a multi-part prompt. Which means he would say “trick or treat” and when handed the candy or sticker he would say “thank you.” I thought this was really good because multi-part directions can be really difficult for him and other children (maybe adults too) with his level.
So things were going well, we’d all go up together, the baby was of course most of the focus of people, which was fine since SS doesn’t need a ton of attention from strangers. He was doing well with his talking/prompts. Until we got to this one store. I stepped back to take a picture of the baby getting candy and all of a sudden my SS was really upset. The woman was refusing to give him candy because he didn’t say “please.” So I quickly intervened and said that he was autistic and I knew you couldn’t tell by looking at him (I said it in a neutral voice). She was like “oh I didn’t know..” and gave him the candy and he said thank you, but was still upset. As we walked away I could hear her whisper something to her coworker about how she shouldn’t have to deal with stuff like that (I couldn’t hear exactly what she said). I feel frustrated for the poor kid… he didn’t know he was doing anything “wrong” as I didn’t prompt him to say please, maybe I should have… I don’t know. And I feel frustrated with my husband because I feel like he should advocate better for him.
Any words of advice? Or feel free to tell me to stop being so sensitive lol. I’m pregnant and I wonder if part of why I am dwelling is because I’ve got the Mama bear instinct going on lol.
Post # 3
I think you are being a little sensitive. You will run into all kinds of situations like this. People are rude and don’t understand autism. I think if you let on that what these people say affect you, it will affect him even more.
Post # 4
I can see how that would be frusturating, but unfortunately i think this is something you are going to have to deal with a lot more than just this one time. People are much more accepting of disabilities now than they used to be, but it doesn’t mean everyone will be. A lot of people just don’t get it, especially when it’s not a disability that is visible (ie- Downs or child being in a wheelchair)
I would concentrate on the positives (he responded well to the prompts, didn’t throw a tantrum when it didn’t go as expected, was able to function in a hectic environment) rather than the negatives (a close minded, mean lady who doesn’t understand his struggles made a snide comment to a coworker).
Do your best to keep those negative people out of his life, but you can’t completely protect him from that (as much as you’d like to, I’m sure!) And it was good of you not to cause a scene by saying something to her about her rude remark because that could have just set him off.
Sounds to me like you’re a great step-mom to this little boy. He’s lucky to have 2 moms that clearly care about him 🙂
Post # 5
Kudos to you for sticking up for him. I think that she just doesn’t have any experience with autistic kiddos, and didn’t intend to be rude about it. I think her comment may have come out of frustration? Like, “every kid isn’t a special snowflake who gets special treatment” mentality?
I think you did the right thing by explaining the situation and allowing him to continue to follow his verbal prompts. It’s great that he was able to deal with the hiccup without a major meltdown 🙂
Post # 6
@Schatzie821: Im surprised people are sticking up for this woman. I get that she probably didn’t know but really? my son says ‘trick or treat’ gets his candy and says thanks! and that’s that. You typically don’t say “trick or treat please!” I could see in other situations when asking for somethinig you normally will say please. But really? for trick or treat? that’s kind of ridiculous.
Post # 7
@stardustintheeyes: yeah, I thought that was weird too. I don’t think I ever once said please or heard it from trick or treaters.
Post # 8
I agree, who the heck says “please” during Trick or Treating? I understand that it’s a generally accepted etiquette during other requests, but Trick or Treat? Geeze. I’d expect children to say “Thank you”. That woman is absurd. I also don’t think it’s her place to teach random children manners.
Good for you for sticking up for your stepson. Not everyone understands autism, so I feel you handled the situation well by informing her.
Post # 9
@MissTatas: I know I never said it when I went trick or treating as a kid. My son sure doesn’t say it either. Plus it just rubs me the wrong way when strangers demand that kind of thing from other peoples kids in such a forceful way. like denying them candy while trick or treating until they say please, idk, it just doesn’t sit well with me. I would also be curious to know if she was demanding a please from every kid that came up. Either way, saying please isn’t typically part of the trick or treat thing as far as I know. Or maybe i’m just rude lol My son says please and thank and has great manners in general so he’s not just s a rude kid, and he never says it while trick or treating.
Post # 10
@Schatzie821: your acting like a normal mother would. protective of the child, yes he isnt yours but he is. But on the other hand, im not sure of his functions(dont know a nicer way to say that sorry) but autistic or not he has to grow up and learn new things so maybe throwing him a curve ball like that may help? I worked at a daycare with a few autistic children and the parents all agreed that doing something the child wansnt use to would affect the child and he would “have a break down” i the child setting we would all do the same thing every day but one day i would change story time to play time and go out side so everything was always different so he would not fall into the same routine it was frustrating for about a month because he was use to the other teacher (before me) doing everything every day the same… after about a month or two he would get excited and ask for a particular event ie.”is it story time today, is it time to go out and play” i know all children need a structured day to day but i thought beacuse of how he was i thought well life is full of ups and downs and if he cant get use to it now…when?? children can deal with a lot and lean a lot so why not try now… good luck!
Post # 11
@Soon_To_Be_Mrs_: that’s kind of what I just wrote in my response to misstatas. She’s a stranger to this kid and to me she was really over stepping her boundaries. I notice all the time when kids don’t have manners but I don’t walk around correcting them all! And this is a perfect example of why. I can’t know why a kid is the way they are. Sure sometimes it’s just a bratty kid that has no manners, sometimes it’s that the parents havent enforced such things which isn’t the childs fault, or maybe it’s a situation like this that I wouldn’t be able to pick up on. It’s just not my place. So I definitely feel weird about what that lady did
Post # 12
Thanks everyone for your thoughts! It did help a lot just to write it out. It’s definitely not the first (probably 15th or so) time something like this has happened. I think I get mostly upset because I feel like my husband should advocate for him better, but he just doesn’t seem to pay attention the way I do I guess? He told me it’s one of those guy things… whatever that means LOL. I’m going to let this go and prepare for the next thing that comes up. Really appreciate people taking time to read my vent. Now… does anyone have any cookies?
Post # 13
I would report her to the store. I’m mad too over this and for the record not pregnant lol. Not so much the fact that she was forcing him to say please but her comment afterwards. She shouldn’t have to “deal” with this??? What on earth does she think that poor child struggles with daily? once the situation was explained she shouldve never been making a snarky comment
Post # 14
Unfortunately, similar situations are going to pop up along the way, so I’d try if I were you to not take them to heart too much. I think it’s pretty odd she expected him to say please though. I’m the manners police, but I don’t think trick or treat warrants a please at any point. Thank you, yes of course, but please? That woman sucks! Not to mention, why is she giving your kid a lesson in manners? I’d never request a stranger’s child to say please or thank you to me. I’d just judge the parents after for not making their child say it!
Post # 15
@Schatzie821: I don’t think you’re being sensitive.. I’d want to wring her neck! “I shouldn’t have to deal with this” is just absolutely rude and uncalled for. He’s a child facing something he never asked for. I kind of wish your SS hoofed her right in the shin.
Post # 16
Yeah, that would be frustrating.
She probably felt bad too, and her comment might not have been in a negative way. Just more that she shouldn’t be expected to read minds or determine that a 7 year old isn’t capable of saying please.
I remember seeing one kid when I was a young teen trick or treating. He was older, wasn’t dressed up and was going around with his mom. People were giving him a hard time and I remember thinking he should have had a costume. Looking back at it now, I wouldn’t be surprised if he had autism or something like that.
It will be something I take into consideration this year before asking the older kids to sing or something!