Autism and the Kindness and Unkindness of Strangers: Part 5 of 5

Today’s video is the final installment in a series of blogs that looks at the kind and sometimes unkind encounters that parents of children with autism sometimes face. Today we’d like to thank Suzanne D’Atri, a parent of a child with autism, for sharing her story about the kindness of a stranger who helped during her son’s meltdown on a plane.

After filming and hearing their stories, I noted themes emerging. How about you?

Did you notice how parents apologized for what they perceived as their fault for not planning more or better for every eventuality that might occur with their child? For having to quickly respond when the call was made to board the plane. For not taking the iPad away sooner when preparing for take-off.

Did you hear their internal quandary about whether and how to let others know their child has autism? What do I say? Will it make it better or worse? Will they even know what autism is?”

Did you feel their embarrassment and distress during the melt-down or when the police arrived? And then their relief when their child settled down, someone seemed to “get it”, or they made it out of the grocery store?

I know I found myself nodding my head and saying out loud, “My dear fellow parents: Yes! Been there and felt that!”

We hope by sharing these, we increase awareness about our kids and their challenges, and therefore our challenges in so many everyday routines. Do you have a story of your experience with your child in public that you’d like to share with us? Help us help others to “get it” and perhaps more parents will be on the receiving end of a random act of kindness.

Check out the other stories in this series:

Part 1 of Series

Part 2 of Series

Part 3 of Series

Part 4 of Series