Almost a Fiasco

Last week, I was out having lunch with my thirty-eight year old son, Brandon.  We were at a self-serve restaurant inside a market.  We split up and I went to get the food and Brandon went to get the napkins and silverware.  When I came back, I saw Brandon standing in front of the silverware dispenser.  He kept pressing the red arrow that pointed to the handle that one would push to get out a utensil.   As I walked towards him I saw him try to pull off the top of the machine and when he could not get the top off he moved to the machine right next to it and tried to pull the top off that one too.

I ran quickly as I could see he was getting anxious.  He just wanted to get his utensils like everyone else and was unable to accomplish that task. I saw a cashier run over towards him and she began to yell, “What do you think you are doing?” I knew from a distance it did appear that he was deliberately trying to break these dispenser machines and could cause a health hazard, but of course that was not the case.  I explained to the cashier what was happening and I showed Brandon how to use the machine.  It took him a moment, because he was still focused and stuck on the arrow.  I showed him once again and he got it.  He appeared relieved. 

I told him that happens to me too.  I said sometimes when I am out traveling on business and I go to a new airport, especially if I am tired I too have trouble with vending machines and how to use them.  I could see once I shared my story in a kind tone he was then able to let go of his frustration.  When he understood I had issues with vending machines he then knew he was not the only one. 

My son, Brandon lives alone and has done so for the past fourteen years.  He has had to learn a lot on his own to be able to stay out there in the “real world”.  But what I love most about my son is that he continues to learn and move on and he does not live in the past.  He has no baggage from yesterday.  He begins each day anew.  Yes, my autistic son continues to teach me and my job is to be ready for the lesson.   

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Amalia Starr
Mother to an independent autistic adult son, Motivational Speaker, Author, and Creator of Autism Independence Project. Book Amalia to speak, call 800-939-1046.
Amalia Starr

Amalia Starr

Mother to an independent autistic adult son, Motivational Speaker, Author, and Creator of Autism Independence Project. Book Amalia to speak, call 800-939-1046.

0 thoughts on “Almost a Fiasco

  • August 24, 2011 at 9:53 am
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    I’ve heard a few of these stories where someone automatically jumps to the conclusion that an indivdual with autism is purposely trying to “do wrong” (of course it is not automatically clear that a person has autism).  Another story I heard was an person seeing a sign that says “Free Cookies” and since “cookies” was in plural, assumed that meant she could take ALL the cookies.  She got the “What do you think you are doing?!?” too.  Autism can teach us all to be a aware that most people are usually doing the best they can, not trying to steal things or screw things up.  They don’t even have to have autism, I’ve seen people lay on the horn at elderly drivers who sometimes drive more cautiously than others for good reason. The message I’d hope people might get is to press the pause button on their reaction, give each other the benefit of the doubt 1st.  A lesson we parents of individuals on the spectrum have learned over and over again

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  • August 23, 2011 at 5:15 pm
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    If the dispenser says “press here” and you’re really supposed to press somewhere “over there”, you’d think they would make their language a little more clear.  Things like that can be ever-so disconcerting when one is unaccustomed to the environment.  The slightest of unintended misdirection can leave a person totally floundering.

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