First, thanks to Maddie over at Whitterer On Autism for the Mwah! Award. She’s long been one of the best ‘autistic parent’ bloggers on the Web. Her turn of phrase is outstanding… and she doesn’t give herself nearly enough credit for her ability to blog. She’s great. If you haven’t read her stuff, you need to click here
Second, she passed me this hyperlink about this special little boy right here in Georgia. Great little news story.
Third, I saw one of those fears I have about my special needs child realized yesterday.
I’ve blogged before about my fears of neuro-typicals who don’t understand what our/these kids, families, etc…are up against. Most, if not all we’ve met to date, have been understanding and accepting at certain levels. That said, as far as I know (or Kim and the teachers have told me) we’ve not just run across an aggressive or mean kid that bucks this lucky trend for us.
Yesterday, I took the kids to a new ‘high-end’ McDonalds that recently opened by us to eat and play in the play area (this is a really, really nice store, I tell you). The kids were eating, among many others, watching the TV with Cartoon Network on it, and playing in the play area. I wasn’t particularly paying attention to this one little girl, or boy (I’d say, 6-7 yr. olds). But I was once I heard the blood curtling scream, and saw the blood.
The boy was standing over the girl, he had a look of ‘I’m in trouble’ on his face. Here’s the quick and the dirty: apparently they were tussling over a Happy Meal toy. They didn’t know each other. So, he reached up, grabbed the implanted hearing aid on her ear/head, and pulled. Pulled her down the ground. And pulled it out.
Now, these things have to be built to have a release mechanism if situations such of this occur accidentally or on purpose. So I’m sure this happened. But she also landed on that part of her head. And she had open wounds in two areas…right around the implant, and she also cut her head higher.
Everyone reacted as you expect them to. The manager wouldn’t let the dad and boy at fault leave until the police showed up, everyone helping the girl, and a few moms giving the boy an absolute tounge lashing. His Dad just made a few calls and sat down…I’m sure completely embarrassed and petrified.
Paramedics show, the girl freaks out. She’s screaming because she has seen her hearing aid out of her head, and she’s seen a ton of blood. She’s asking her Mom, who is holding ice against her head (and her daughter as absolutely close to her as possible as only a Mom can do) and she’s asking if, “she’s going to die?”. Of course the Mom is literally screaming at her, “LOOK AT ME! NO YOU ARE NOT!” But it really didn’t do any good, the girl was scared to death, and of course, she couldn’t hear (apparently, there must be issues with her other ear, or the device was broken, etc…).
About five paramedics stitch up her head immediately (from the non implant cut, and by the way, kudos to the McDonalds folks, they closed off an area of the store just for this poor girl) and then cut the hair around the implant…because, as you can guess, they were taking her to the hospital for immediate surgery on it.
Maya was a bit freaked out (lots of kids asking questions ‘why’, ‘how come’, etc…) and we parents huddled around and tried to figure it out. (Dad showed up, collected the things, said thanks, and was off then to follow the Mom/girl to the hospital).
Demetrius, well, sadly…or luckily….being in his own bubble is at play here in this situation. He didn’t really care to pay attention – because Tom and Jerry was on the TV and he had chicken nuggets and french fries. So he just kind of looked over a couple of times, and went back to eating and watching TV.
The aggressive boy? Well dad and boy went off in a police car. Don’t know where, or what happened (I spoke to my dad briefly, his thought was that most likely they took them to just scare the boy and get him ‘booked’ for some counseling of some sort, I’m sure…not to mention in case lawsuits ensure, etc….makes sense to me).
So here is what we garnered from another Mom kind of watching when it all happened. The boy left his lunch toy on a particular table as he took his shoes off to go play. The girl picked it up. He wanted it back. She ignored him. He pulled her down from her chair by her hearing aide and took the toy. We all basically agreed – with all the background noise in an indoor play area, and her disability, she probably didn’t hear him ask for his toy back. Then child’s aggressive action ensued.
Needless to say, not one of you needs me to expound on what I fear might happen to Demetrius (or your child) in a similar situation. In fact, Demetrius, I fear, is in an even more tenuous situation because he doesn’t have any sort of implant, or brace…he just would be a kid ignoring another kid….no markers of any sort to say that something is ‘different’ about him. If this boy would do this to her without thinking it through, as is typical of children this age…. well, you know what I was thinking.
During this :15-:20 period, parents came and went (those not as close to the action as I was with some other parents & kids)…but they all got caught up on the trauma pretty quickly…but one Mom who came in and was listening to the story intently asked the obvious Mom question as how it would relate to her two kids in the play area: “There isn’t any blood in the climbing area or on the slide, is there?” We answered no, and she wanted to know where it had ‘been’…by the tables, not the play area, which had long been cleaned up by the McDonalds staff. Second follow up question by this Mom: “Did they use cleaner to wipe up the blood off the floor, or just water?” Because, you know, her kids would be running around without shoes.
Moms just think different than dads, no doubt. Am I wrong to want to tell her to take a ‘chill pill’ in this moment? Probably.
So, about :15 later we leave (I wanted the kids to play a bit after that) and of course, as luck has it, the new mini-van won’t start. Starter broke. Maya breaks out in tears, “Daddy, I’m scared! I want Mommy.” Mommy comes, gets the kids…and I go off with the AAA tow truck to the dealership to have the starter, and a few other things fixed (they are all under warranty, thank goodness).
I wonder if those hearing aides are too?
What a couple of hours.
And something that certainly makes me worry, just a bit, more about the boy and other special needs kids. As if I didn’t really worry enough about this kind of stuff now….to see it happen in front of you with another, only ‘wakes you up’ to these very ugly, but very real, potentail situations.