Dear people of McDonald’s…
I’m sorry if whilst you were queuing for your food, or trying to serve customers you saw me peeling a screaming Tommy off the counter.
I’m sorry if whilst you were busy eating your food you saw me go rushing past with a screaming banshee tucked over my shoulder. Believe me it was a lot more uncomfortable for me, that screaming was right in my ear.
You see the problem was we have a routine when we got to McDonald’s and today that routine broke down. When Tommy finishes his Happy Meal he has an ice cream afterwards, he ALWAYS has an ice cream afterwards! Yes it’s a treat, but for him it’s more than that. Not only is it tasty, but an ice cream is a real sensory experience for Tommy. On top of that it’s part of one of the many routines that helps Tommy cope, process and understand the world around him.
So when he’d sat through his meal, and actually stayed sitting the whole way through with no protest (largely because he knows an ice cream is coming next) we made our way to the counter for the next part of the routine to be fulfilled.
Only today the ice cream machine was broken, and trying to explain that to a non-verbal, routine driven, anxious autistic child is quite a challenge. You see he doesn’t quite understand me telling him “the machines broken, don’t worry we’ll go somewhere else and get an ice cream” Believe me I tried to get this through to him
So when you told me the machine wasn’t working that’s why my face dropped like it was the end of the world. That’s why when we tried to leave Tommy clung to anything he could, refusing to leave until he got his ice cream that he was expecting.
That’s why he screamed as loud as he could (I know it’s loud, I hear it a lot) and that’s why I scooped him up and dragged him out of there.
So it wasn’t a spoilt, misbehaving kid you saw today, it was an autistic child, struggling to understand why what he thought was definitely going to happen, what always happens when we go to this place, just didn’t. Think before you judge ❤️
** Luckily for Tommy, and for me, there was a garage close by where we could get some ice cream and the crisis was resolved. Even luckier is the fact he’s still small enough to be carried out of there, otherwise is no idea what we’d have done 😊