SAD: Screaming About Discrimination

The Olde Salty restaurant in Carolina Beach, North Carolina has announced a new policy: No screaming children allowed.

One might think it would go without saying for almost any public place. And owner Brenda Armes says that the policy has attracted more customers than it’s repelled.
A few parents and others don’t like it, and even claim it’s illegal. You see, autistic children are more likely to scream and even go into meltdowns, so (by this line of reasoning) a policy banning screaming in effect discriminates against the disabled.
Yes, autistic children may scream, for example, due to a sensory overload that’s no fault of their own. And people should understand and not jump to conclusions about children necessarily just having temper tantrums, or say that autistic children shouldn’t be brought out in public. 

Does that mean that any issue causing problems for others has to be someone’s fault before an establishment may take action? Suppose someone loudly coughs and sneezes many times in a restaurant. Of course it’s probably not her fault she’s sick. So the management has to stand by while she disturbs everyone and maybe infects some people?
Of course not. The original idea of combating discrimination is that people can’t treat others differently based on illegitimate criteria. For example, if a black person wants to eat at a restaurant, the management can’t bar him based on a dislike of black people, because someone’s being black does not harm the business or any individual.
However, screaming in a public place definitely disturbs others and harms the business, and management has every right to eject screamers. Even if they include some autistic children who don’t mean to scream and are suffering meltdowns, not pulling ordinary temper tantrums.
We need to help autistic children learn to minimize and finally eliminate their meltdowns, not demand that everyone else put up with disturbances.
What do you think?

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Jeffrey Deutsch
I have Asperger Syndrome (AS) and give inspirational talks, consult with organizations and train people on how to recognize and work well with people on the spectrum and coach individuals on and off the spectrum.
Jeffrey Deutsch

Jeffrey Deutsch

I have Asperger Syndrome (AS) and give inspirational talks, consult with organizations and train people on how to recognize and work well with people on the spectrum and coach individuals on and off the spectrum.

0 thoughts on “SAD: Screaming About Discrimination

  • September 19, 2010 at 11:48 am
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    When I go out to have a nice dinner at an upscale restaurant I do not want to hear a screaming child disabled or not. Just as I don’t want to see an adult that has had a few two many drinks and is becoming loud and annoying to everyone else there. If I was at a restaurant that is more of a family type of restaurant then this would be expected (the child not the intoxicated adult!)

    I feel most parents will agree that they would like to have a grown up night without their children and not to be bothered by someone elses child acting up. I have no problem with children, but if your in a public place please do the decent thing and take the child outside or to the restroom to try and calm the child down.

    Reply
  • September 18, 2010 at 5:19 pm
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    I know the feeling of having to drag your kid into a decent place to eat instead of going to a drive through. You may feel like “Why should children be kept in the closet? How else are they going to learn how to act respectable in public?” but I know I dont want to have a screaming kid in my ears. Im not just gonna bring my 22 month old if she is gonna want to get up and run around after 30 minutes. So she will be destined to start screaming if she doesnt get what she wants… because she is a toddler. Other places I’ll know she will be good and charming. It all depends on the mood of the child and how you raised them. Those parents “know” and can read their children… the “Oh they rarely do this” is a joke. I just know that family dinners could wait until your child can totally behave. I guess to be safe, you could ban all children under a certain age but that would cause problems. But to tell you the truth, that will take out the screaming problem.

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  • September 17, 2010 at 6:59 pm
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    I agree, I think its probably fair enough.

    By the sounds of it, it might not be the kind of restaurant you would take your child to regardless.

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  • September 17, 2010 at 6:58 pm
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    I agree, I think its probably fair enough.

    By the sounds of it, it might not be the kind of restaurant you would take your child to regardless.

    Reply
  • September 16, 2010 at 10:45 pm
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    I guess it depends on what kind of restaurant it is. If you go to a restaurant like Chuck E Cheese you have to expect that there will be screaming kids.  When it’s a “kid joint” I don’t think you should discriminate.  If it’s a place that kids really have no business being in the first place, I think it’s fair to say “if you bring them, they had better be well behaved.” There are many parents that have gone to every painful effort to help their autistic children learn to minimize their meltdowns.  If they have to deal with everything including the overwhelming costs and a significant change in lifestyle then I think the rest of society can deal with the disruption of a meal in a place that you can expect will be serving kids. 

    Reply
  • September 16, 2010 at 6:13 pm
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    Someone has posted the same thing the other day I believe. And I said that it was Discriminating. But as I read the comments, I started to understand the reasons why.

    Many people would like an enjoyable meal and certain resturants are not meant for kids. If its one of those fancy, romantic resturants meant for couples and only couples to go to…Why would someone else bring a child into a resturant that is meant for adults?

    If you want to bring a child to a resturant, why not bring them to resturants thats are meant for both family and kids…

    Reply
  • September 16, 2010 at 3:22 pm
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    I whole heartedly agree. If I go out to a restaurant where I wouldn’t normally take my own kids, I am anticipating a relaxing and enjoyable experience, undisturbed by screaming kids. It sucks to have the rare meal out without my own kids to deal with ruined by some other kid screaming. I understand the autistic meltdowns. I even understand the NT temper tantrums that happen on occasion… I have kids of my own, and I have had meltdowns myself, so I get it. I’ve had to leave a restaurant with my kids before. I try to take them to more family friendly places where it is slightly more expected for kids to be there… and they have crayons and such to keep them occupied. If I’m going out to a place that generally doesn’t cater to kids/families, I either don’t take the kids, or I explain the rules to them and expect them to be followed… if they’re not, I take the offender outside to calm down…

    There have been times where the process of dragging the kid out has caused more of a scene than simply dealing with it at the table… actually, that was at church…. My daughter (who is NOT autistic) threw such a fit in church that I had to literally drag her out to calm her down. She is too heavy to carry and sat down on the floor, refusing to move. She was nine years old at the time, and comes up to my chin, weighs almost 80lbs. I am 5’3″ and have some back and shoulder problems, so I can’t carry her. I got her under the arms and dragged her, kicking and screaming out into the bathroom. Talk about embarrassing. Needless to say, the remainder of the afternoon was spent in her room, priviledges were revoked for quite a while, and she has never done it again.

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