Recently while out shopping at a local store, I noticed a group of developmentally delayed teenagers and young adults. They had an adult with them, and because I have been raising two teenagers for the past eight years, I know how programs take them out into the public, and teach them about prices of items and how to learn about money by purchasing items.
It can be pretty stressful for them just buying a couple of items and dealing with a lot of people who are in the store. What we do without much thought is a big undertaking for the developmentally delayed. As I was going through the check-out, I noticed the group was one aisle over from me. One of the young men had become confused and was very upset and very loud. As the adult was trying to comfort and settle him down, adults in the store, including checkers, began to laugh at him. As they did, he became even more upset.
I have a daily routine of trying to take the kids to the store, where adults and not children make remarks and stare at my kids. My youngest daughter has two little boys who have autism. Just going to the grocery store or out to eat is very stressful, not only on her, but also on my grandsons, ages 5 and 7. We are all mentally handicapped in one way or another. My 7-year-old grandson says just because I’m having a meltdown at the store, do not blame my dad and mom. They are doing the best they can. He also says don’t assume that a person who is screaming or humming is a spoiled brat. You only see that person for a few minutes and you know nothing about them.
I cannot tell you how many adults have made mean and unjust comments to my daughter. Most days she leaves a store in tears. I would maybe expect a child to laugh or point at someone who is different, but not an adult. If your parents brought you up right, then you know better. If we don’t teach our children anything else, teach them to treat others as we would want to be treated.