Yesterday I was in the grocery store waiting for my husband by the exit when a little boy, anxious to help his mommy, ran ahead to push a door open for her. Unfortunately, he chose the emergency exit door, which, in fairness to the child, from his height, looked like a regular door. Immediately a shrill piercing alarm began to sound and I did a slow pan across the front of the store looking for the manager who I was sure would be running with his jangling keys in hand to remedy the situation.
I stopped mid pan at a little boy who was standing with his dad. He was sobbing, burying his head into his dad’s leg, trying to alternately press one ear and then the other against dad so he could stop the noise. I instantly knew he had Asperger’s. His chest was heaving in an out and the terror on his face was painful to see. His dad picked him up, spoke comforting words that everything was OK and took him outside away from the noise. My husband came and we headed outside as well.
The father was talking the little boy through it, telling him what had happened and constantly reassuring him he was safe. He spoke calmly and quietly and gently maintained physical contact with the boy at all times. He was encouraging him to stand on his own and he was leading him through processing it all. Continue reading