I have to share my most recent Target experience. I was with brothers Chase and Jonathan. We were getting ready to check out at Target after having spent a good thirty minutes staring at the baby play gyms. The boys helped me pick one out for Olivia. Anyways, I could hear this boy carrying on and on. He was crying hysterically...really loud too. Of course I purposefully chose the checkout line he was in so that I could psychologically assess the situation. People must think I'm a total weirdo. I mean who does that?? Most people would do all they could to avoid the line with the screaming child but not me. I fearlessly seak out the screamers just to analyze the situation including both the child and the caregiver(s). OK, so back to the story.
We get in line behind the boy who was crying hysterically. Chase and Jonathan were, of course, staring blatantly. It's funny how kids do that. They have no qualms about giving a good stare down. Mouth wide open and all. So that was Chase and Jonathan. The little boy was a cute little guy...probably about 5 years old and he was sitting in the front of the cart. He was crying and going on and on about Thomas the tank engine. He was with, I'm assuming, his mom and dad. They were both very calm and went about their business getting checked out and loading the bags into the cart while the child continued crying and carrying on about Thomas. They didn't address his behavior at all until the father quietly said to him, "remember what we talked about?" and the little boy said, while crying, "it's dooonnneee." Then the father said "you have to be good and then we can go see Grandma and Grandpa." The boy sniffled a couple of times and started to calm down but then started crying and carrying on again talking about Thomas.
Let me tell you exactly what caused me to determine this boy had autism.
1. His crying and carrying on was a little over the top for a boy his age.
2. He was very fixated on this Thomas train and could not get over it.
3. The parents were both very calm (as if this has happened many-a-time) and handled their child much different then if the child was just throwing "a brat fit."
4. The boy looked like a typically developing child.
Moral of the story. Before you judge a screaming child as being a spoiled brat or having parents who don't know how to parent, stop and think there may be more to the picture then what you see. Especially because so many children on the autism spectrum look like typically developing children.
Thank you for listening and now I will step off my soapbox.