A Neurologically Atypical Display Of Understanding

, , , , , | Hopeless | July 22, 2017

My boys are three and eight and both have autism. My eight-year-old has ADHD and my three-year-old has ADD and severe speech delays.

After checking out at the meat counter of a small meat shop near our house I try to move to the main check out section. My eight-year-old is trying to run around the shop with our groceries and is struggling to stay next to me. My three-year-old launches himself out of the stroller and tries to race around the shop while screaming. I manage to get them both under control for a few minutes but our stroller gets stuck and the groceries spill all over.

A kind worker comes around from the meat counter and starts to chat with the boys while helping me pick up everything. Once the stroller is unstuck he asks if we want help to our car or the door. He manages to help keep my boys occupied and doesn’t bat an eye when they are acting out from what is deemed normal. He made us feel normal and welcomed. We always go there once a week for our meat and many small things we need because we are welcomed, and it’s a shop that my boys are careful in without me needing to hold them tightly against me.

It’s a wonderful feeling when people treat non-neurotypical kids the way they would treat neurotypical kids.

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Everyone Is Winning

, , , , | Hopeless | July 2, 2017

(The hotel I work at is located a block away from the local arena and has both a pool and a games room. Since none of the other hotels in the area have either, we are very popular with sports teams, specifically children’s hockey teams. I’m working the front desk one night when we’ve checked in two competing hockey teams, all children around nine and ten years old who all seem to know each other. While the parents are all hanging out in the lounge, most of the kids are either in the games room or the pool. I happen to notice on the security feed that there is a group of about eight boys playing on the second floor in the hallway, passing around little rubbers balls with mini plastic hockey sticks. I head upstairs to let them know we can’t have this.)

Me: “Hey, boys, I hate to ruin your fun but I can’t have you playing up here. Other people are getting ready for bed and it might disturb them. How about you join your friends in the games room?”

(All the boys immediately stop playing and hang their heads, beginning a chorus of “I’m sorry.” One little boy comes to the front of the group.)

Boy #1: “Excuse me, ma’am? Can we play this game in the games room? Or is there another place we can go play?”

Me: “Well, I do have an empty conference room on the first floor next to where your parents are. If you promise to behave you can play in there.”

(They all thank me and follow me downstairs. There are tables in the room and they ask if they can move them aside and I say yes. I come to check on them a few minutes later and they have folded the tables up and have arranged the room into a mini hockey rink and are playing nicely so I smile and let them be. A few minutes later, a small boy of about seven or eight comes up to the front desk.)

Boy #2: “Excuse me, ma’am, are there some kids in that room?” *he points to the conference room*

Me: “Yes, there are some boys playing in there.”

Boy #2: “Okay, thanks!”

(He runs to the room and comes back a few seconds later.)

Boy #2: “Excuse me, can you please call up to room 212 and tell my mom that [Brother] and I are playing downstairs and we’ll be back at 9.30?”

Me: “Absolutely!”

(He runs back happily and I call his room and talk to his mom. She laughs and thanks me but asks me to remind the boys that their curfew is 9:00. I go tell the boys and they shout a thank you and give me a big smile. Over the next hour or so several parents come by to check on the kids and ask if they are behaving themselves. I tell them the story of how I found them upstairs and how well behaved and polite they have been. Meanwhile many other kids from the games room and pool are coming by and politely asking for change for the vending machines, directions to the restrooms, extra pillows, etc. and always saying excuse me, please, and thank you. Several other kids go in to join the boys playing in the conference room. Finally the door to the conference room opens and all these little boys come parading past the front desk holding their hockey sticks and rubber balls.)

Boy #1: “Excuse me, ma’am, we just wanted to say thank you and let you know we cleaned up the room. Have a good night!”

(They each say “thank you” and “good night” as they walk by and I thank them each. I then go to the conference room to clean it and find they did in fact clean the room and put the tables and chairs back almost exactly as it had been and even picked up their candy wrappers and drinks and put them in the garbage and neatly tied up the bag. As I’m straightening up the last few details a few of the parents come up to me.)

Parent #1: “Hey, I hope they boys weren’t too much trouble. I know they were a bit noisy.”

Parent #2: “We’ll pay for any damage they caused.”

Me: “Actually, I have to say that these have been the sweetest, most well behaved bunch of kids I have ever had in here. I have been working here for years and have seen probably hundreds of teams and these are by far my favorite bunch. I have had full grown adults who gave me more trouble than they did. I really hope you all become regulars. We would love to see you back!”

Parent #1: “Well, thank you so much! They can be pretty rowdy, don’t let them fool ya, but I’m so happy to hear they’ve been good.”

Parent #3: “I am so proud of our boys right now, our MEN, I guess I should say!”

(A few days after they checked, our my manager received an email from the group leader, telling her how much the boys enjoyed their stay and how nice the lady at the front desk had been to them all. They thanked us profusely for everything, told us they had each left a glowing review of our hotel online, and promised to make this their regular spot each year that they came back. I personally look forward to having them. They made my night!)

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Rock-A-Bye Banana

, , , , | Hopeless | June 7, 2017

(I am disabled and on benefits. One day I go to the local Disability Resource Center to get a form that will let me camp for free at Provincial Parks campsites. Sitting behind me are three children, ranging in age from approximately one through eight. At one point, the eldest starts singing ‘Hush Little Baby’ to her youngest sibling.)

Girl: “And if that diamond ring gets broke, Mama’s gonna buy you… umm…” *she pauses for a moment, trying to remember the next line* “… a banana!”

(It was just too cute. I couldn’t help myself and burst out laughing. I smiled at her and a minute later she began singing again. I was also treated to a rendition of ‘Miss Molly’ and ‘Rock-a-bye Baby’.)

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Snow Denying That They’re Awesome

, , , , , | Hopeless | May 27, 2017

(I’m delivery driving and it has been snowing all day. I’m out delivering to a neighborhood that has not been plowed.)

Me: *to customer* “Thanks, have a good evening!”

Customer: “You, too!”

(I start to drive away but about a foot down the street I’m stuck. The snow is up to my knees and I don’t have a shovel. I’m considering trying to dig myself out with my hands when two heads pop out of the snow in a neighboring yard.)

Boy: “Hey, miss, are you stuck?”

Me: *trying to laugh, embarrassed* “Yeah, I think so. It’s okay, though.”

Boy: “We can help!”

(These two little boys couldn’t have been older than six, but with two giant shovels they not only pushed the snow out from my car, but ran ahead the street until I got to a road I could drive on! Your parents raised you right, little guys, and I hope karma comes back with something awesome for you!)

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Well, Snap!

, , , | Learning | May 23, 2017

(I teach a preschool class with four-year-olds. On the way in from the playground, one girl is excited to talk about her sister.)

Girl: “Miss, guess what? My sister knows how to snap. She showed me.”

Me: “Wow, that’s so cool.”

Boy: “Oh, yeah? Well, my sister knows how to Snapchat!”

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