Every parent has had that mortifying moment in the grocery store or shopping mall in which his or her child has a meltdown. It happens to all parents whether or not their child has a disability. However, it is a more regularly occurring event for many parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
After an exhausting day of work, you pick your child up from his or her ungodly expensive therapy session and swing by the grocery store so you can throw something together and hope your child will eat it. Then, it happens. “Seriously?”, you think “But we were doing so well….”. You know what the behavior protocol says to do and you remember your Behavior Analyst saying that it was important to follow through every time. So, you follow through. You know you’re doing the right thing. You know this will pay off later.
Then…. the looks start. From other parents and non-parents. They look at you with those eyes that say “Why can’t you discipline your child?” or “If I were that child’s parent, I would do X Y Z”. As you think about the advice from your Behavior Analyst, you think “Where in the behavior protocol does it tell me what to do in response to their behavior? Because…I’d like to give them a piece of my mind”. But then you realize that they just don’t understand. No one has educated them about managing challenging behavior and children with disabilities (Okay. Maybe not right away – but perhaps you come to that realization later in the evening!).
Although we can’t make your day any easier, we can at least provide you with a tool for dealing with the stares and glares of onlookers (or perhaps even the kind smile). The card below says: “THANK YOU FOR BEING PATIENT WITH MY CHILD’S BEHAVIOR TODAY. WE ARE FOLLOWING A BEHAVIOR TREATMENT PLAN TO MANAGE THIS BEHAVIOR”. The card then directs readers to a webpage where they can educate themselves about Autism, Developmental Disabilities, and Applied Behavior Analysis.
The webpage is called “Please Understand” which can also be found here. The webpage explains that you (the parent) are working on managing your child’s behavior. It asks for a bit of patience from the community in this endeavor. The webpage also includes links to articles and information on Autism Spectrum Disorder and Applied Behavior Analysis.
Below is a PDF of the “Please Understand Cards”. Feel free to print off a few and use as needed! You can print the cards double sided so that the QR code is on the back. This allows users to scan the QR code directly from their phone in order to access the informational webpage which can also be found here.