evening preparation for shopping on
I settle my son down and gently talk him through the routine for the following day. I start with key words, SHOPPING, MUMMY, CAR, MORNING,
as this makes it much easier for him to understand. Gradually I introduce every shop we need to visit, what we will be purchasing, and where we will be eating. I explain this as many times as possible, and hope that by the morning parts of the routine will have sunk in.
Get dressed, have breakfast, remind my son of the day`s routine, cross my fingers and off we go.
I try to park as close to the first shop as possible, as visual clues help enormously. After driving round for a while unable to find an approiate parking space, i make the decision to park in the multi-storey. We park up and my son heads straight for the lifts. We spend the next 10 minutes riding up and down in the lifts, my child jumping, flapping and squealing with delight ) this is a common trait of autism). Conscious of people staring and the odd comment that gets passed my way, i find myself explaining that my child is autistic and his behaviour is okay with me.
First stop catalogue shop; only due to revised parking we now have to head in the opposite direction. This means we have to pass my sons favourite fast food restaurant, i try to explain to my son "shopping then dinner" whilst playing tug of war at the same time- I LOSE; my child heads straight for the front of the queue pulling me forward as he goes.
Anxious to see what toy he will get with his meal he runs around from one table to another, checking out what the other children are playing with.
I see an assistant and ask her if we can please have a toy so that i can get my child back in the queue.
"YOU WILL GET A TOY WITH YOUR MEAL"
"Yes i know, but my child is autistic and does not understand the concept of queuing", she looks at my child curiously , then fetches a toy. This keeps him occupied while we wait for our meal.
Skipping in time to my sons favourite rhyme we arrive outside of the catalogue shop.
My child stops in his tracks, holds his hands tightly over his ears and starts humming a drowning noise whilst rocking back and forth, a small child is enjoying a ride on the electric car outside the entrance, but this noise seems to be causing my son great distress and discomfort, (many autistic people are sensitive to noise, certain tones, pitches or sheer volume can trigger this reaction). The ride finishes and he is now happy to go inside.
We spend a while looking at the catalogue, and my son seems happy to wait while i fill out the order slip. In an instant he runs, through the door towards the main road( he was distracted by the sound of the traffic, which he associates with fast spinning objects), I catch my son, and my breath, and we head back into the store.
We wait in the queue to pay for our goods, my son struggling constantly by now to break free. I pay for my goods and notice the queue for the collection point is even longer than the first one. Not wanting to cause my child any more distress i head for the customer service counter.By the time i have explained my situation, which obviously wasn't`t understood, my goods finally arrive. I somehow manage to carry my child, collect my goods and leave the store.
Town is getting busier now and we still have a long way to go. I keep a tight hold at all times as my son has no sense of danger. He becomes distressed and refuses to walk any further. I try to tempt him onwards but by now he is lying on the floor refusing to go anywhere. The only way i can bring him out of this is to get down to his level and try to comfort him. He struggles and lashes out but i hold him close and soothe him .I hear a comment from behind, "if he were my child i would give him a smack"
children do not choose to be autistic and they certainly should not be punished
20 minutes later the tantrum passes and we try to continue.