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Woman in sainsburys with autistic son....

(190 Posts)
Pinot4me Sun 17-Aug-14 13:45:57

I joined a queue in sainsburys earlier today. There was a woman with a baby in a buggy (probably about 2 yrs old) and a boy of about 7/8. The boy was really agitated and playing up and the mum asked me if I would mind queuing at a different till as her son was autistic and was having a really bad day and he hated having people behind him (or crowding him). Tbh, I didn't mind moving at all as I could see she was struggling, so went to the till on the next aisle. The same thing kept happening as it's a big, busy sainsburys and, for obvious reasons, the queue she was in was the shortest. She politely asked everyone who joined he queue to move away. There were 2 people in front of her...I just can't believe that nobody let her go in front of them...she was really struggling and the boy was getting more and more distressed. I've never come across anything like this before...the cashier could see what was happening. Should she have offered help? It made me realise that we take he simplest things for granted. Surely someone should have offered to let her go through first? I definitely would have done if I had been in front of her...would you?

MyGastIsFlabbered Sun 17-Aug-14 13:50:58

Surely the easiest thing would have been the cashier putting a 'lane closing' sign on the belt & then removing it once they'd gone?

Pinot4me Sun 17-Aug-14 13:53:05

We'll, yes, exactly. Everyone (including the cashier) just 'looked the other way' I felt really sorry for her.

ThinkIveBeenHacked Sun 17-Aug-14 13:53:05

I think asking you to move back would have been of more use to her than moving away completely - that way no-one else would have had to have been asled the same thing.

I cant for one second begin to imagine how I would cope being her, so maybe my suggestion is not the best. Id probably shop online as much as possible but understabdably this doesnt work when you quickly need the basics.

It would have been great if someone could have let her go ahead bt surely swapping the stuff over on the belt would have been more faffy and stress her son out more.

Other than call another staffmember to open another belt im not to sure what the cashier could have done.

Guitargirl Sun 17-Aug-14 13:53:48

How would letting her go first have helped if her son didn't like people queuing behind him?

saintlyjimjams Sun 17-Aug-14 13:54:22

People never offer to let you go in front. I have had ds1 beating his head on the floor before & people don't let you jump the queue.

The worst though was when ds1 was about 5. We used to go to an always empty playground and he had a fixed routine. Three swings on the tyre, slide down the slide and quick bounce on the wobbly animals, then that ticked off he'd mosey around the park. One day we arrived just as a small girl arrived, she got to the tyre swing about 5 seconds before him so I held him back. At that age he couldn't wait at all so was soon crying and shouting, then on the floor trying to hit his head. I tried to get him out of the park but couldn't move him. Girls' mother was giving me the evils the whole time, at one stage the little girl got off the tyre and the mother said 'you stay on there" and put her back on. Eventually she got off, screaming instantly stopped, ds1 had his 3 second swing, completed the circuit and meltdown was over.

It doesn't get any better when they're older either.

saintlyjimjams Sun 17-Aug-14 13:58:45

the thing with letting someone go in front is that they can get out easily.

The other day when shopping ds1 who had been very happy suddenly without warning became very unhappy, he was sobbing. The thing is he can go from sobbing to beating the crap out of me in seconds - & he's mch bigger than me now, so I was pretty keen to get him back to the car (a public beating is very humiliating) - his loss of control is anxiety related, in the car/at home he has time & space to calm himself - not really possible in Sainsbury's.

So yes if I saw someone in my sort of situation behind me I would offer to let them go in front & offer to help them pack.

saintlyjimjams Sun 17-Aug-14 13:58:58

sorrry I mean get out faster

KnittedJimmyChoos Sun 17-Aug-14 14:00:16

* at one stage the little girl got off the tyre and the mother said 'you stay on there" and put her back on

did you say your son was autistic? she may have thought he was being a brat.

Yes its awful but I imagine many people are simply not aware there could be other reasons for the problems.

Pinot4me Sun 17-Aug-14 14:00:19

Yes, that's a point guitar girl - I just think there were people everywhere and the lad was upset so the sooner she got served and got out of there the better.

KnittedJimmyChoos Sun 17-Aug-14 14:00:56

pinot yes thats really sad esp as she was telling people what the issue was.

saintlyjimjams Sun 17-Aug-14 14:03:10

I'm sure she did think he was being a brat. Although personally I wouldn't leave any child screaming or hitting their head on concrete just to have a swing.

There also seems to be some idea that when your child is having an autistic meltdown you have time to tell everyone near you about their condition. You don't. When he blows I am trying to ensure that I am not hurt and nor is he (I don't usually manage on the me front though)

Legoaddict Sun 17-Aug-14 14:03:24

I've worked in a supermarket and had a regular customer like this. I just used to put the 'lane closing' sign up. It's a shame nobody did anything sad

WeirdCatLady Sun 17-Aug-14 14:05:23

But surely the woman could have just asked the person in front if she could go first? If people don't ask for the help they need then how are the rest of us to know what to do? There is no way for me to know if a child is having an autistic meltdown or if they are simply being a brat. If it's a meltdown and there is something I can do to help then I will, but i wouldn't automatically offer anything because I have no way of knowing what to do.

saintlyjimjams Sun 17-Aug-14 14:05:50

I just think there were people everywhere and the lad was upset so the sooner she got served and got out of there the better

Yes exactly. Last time I had to get out of Sainsbury's fast I knew I had limited time before all hell broke loose. Someone offering for us to go first would have been very welcome & would have made a difference.

5madthings Sun 17-Aug-14 14:06:25

knitted maybe the lady at the park did just thunk saintlys little boy 'was a bear's but even if he wad behaving badly, he was a child!! She on the other hand was an adult and acting like a complete prick to keep her own child on the swing when she wanted to get off.

Op in that situation I would ask what I could do to help, but ad I often have the madthings with me I would be limited.

It's a shame the cashier didn't put the closed sign up but I expect they aren't allowed to either?

HamEggChipsandBeans Sun 17-Aug-14 14:06:54

I totally disagree, I think the onus should be on her trying to teach her ASD son that this is "how things are" in a supermarket. You find the food, you buy the food type of thing.

I have two children with severe ASD and you have to teach them how to deal with normal day to day life. They can't be independent and function as adults if you don't.

It is a case of slowly, slowly and repeat, repeat with ASD. So before shopping, these are our meals for the week, so this is our shopping list. You go to the supermarket, you find the food, you move around the shop with other people, you queue and then you pay. You then take the items home and then you cook and there is your meal. Yes it takes years, yes it takes patience but the outcome is so much better.

You show that things you need become things you have to do as that is normal life. Teaching them that everyone gives you leeway just because you ask for it is totally wrong in my book. It is also wrong of her to mention or discuss the ASD in front of people, that would be excrutiating for him.

Others may totally disagree with me of course, but this approach has worked for me.

saintlyjimjams Sun 17-Aug-14 14:08:14

Well my son is 15 now, so I assume it's fairly obvious that he;s not having a toddler tantrum (nor can he talk).

I would just tend to offer if I saw a very upset child - I don't much care whether they have a diagnosis or not - if they're being bratty the parents can then explain, say thanks and stay where they are (or sometimes if they're being autistic & learning to wait).

BringMeSunshine2014 Sun 17-Aug-14 14:08:16

Of course I'd have let her go first - but honestly, the easiest solution in this situation would have been to have put up the 'closed' sign. Poor woman and poor boy - life can be so bloody trying and so much more so for some people sad

Saintly - no matter how many times you tell that story, it still chokes me up and I still want to slap that bloody woman. It is very hard when they get bigger and stronger than you x

5madthings Sun 17-Aug-14 14:08:34

And as for having to give an explanation, fgs I don't need nor want an explanation, if I as an adult can see someone is having a hard time then the compassionate thing to do is to help if I can. Just you know for humanities sake, to be nice!

bottlecat Sun 17-Aug-14 14:09:06

People in front should have offered to let the mother go first and the cashier could have asked the supervisor if she could close her till.
I'm glad people moved way from behind when asked though.

hazeyjane Sun 17-Aug-14 14:11:21

Saintly, we had a similar thing happen in a park on holiday. A couple had their children on the swings, and ds was getting upset (he had been waiting a long time, and he only goes on the swings) god knows why, but the mother was determined that they would both stay on the swings, to the extent that the older girl wanted to get off (she couldn't even fit in the baby swing) and the dad said that maybe it was time they finished, and the mother just seemed determined to keep them on! It was wierd!

I would have liked to think that someone in the queue would have just let the mum hop in front, but people have an odd way of digging their heels in.

magoria Sun 17-Aug-14 14:11:39

If you have an entire trolley full on a conveyor belt it would take ages to take it off and put someone else's on. Was it not better for them just to get through asap?

I frequently let people with a basket go ahead when I am unpacking the trolley.

saintlyjimjams Sun 17-Aug-14 14:12:37

My son will never be independent though ham. He'll require 24 hour care for the rest of his life.

And he has learned to wait. What he hasn't learned to deal with is extraordinary all encompassing sudden anxiety. And when that happens I get beaten up quite badly. Forcing him to wait during a panic attack doesn't actually teach him anything (except maybe make it harder for him to enter the shop again - he gets very upset when he hits me, so going back can trigger the anxiety again & we're stuck). I just end up bruised. If he's being noisy but happy if a bit impatient I would say no thanks to anyone offering for us to jump the queue - if I'm about to get belted I'll jump the queue and get out thanks!

HamEggChipsandBeans Sun 17-Aug-14 14:13:37

I think sometimes parents forget that ASD can include a lot of control over the parents.

The park visit with so many goes on this and that piece of equipment? That parent has normalised that child's approach. So that child thinks it is acceptable. You cannot accept that. It gives the completely wrong message.

You have to teach them to be flexible and spontaneous in public. Yes it extremely difficult and you have to persevere but it is so worth it. That little bit of flexibility and spontaneity you teach them now equates to an adult ASD sufferer being able think for themselves "on the way home I need bread and milk, or petrol etc.,"....

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