I remember walking into a restaurant and looking for ‘that family’. You know the one. The one with the loud children that looks like it would have disturbed my dining experience. And then I’ve asked to be sat away from them please. I look into the same restaurant today and still ask to be seated away from all the other diners… but now it’s because I am ‘that family’.
No one can tell by simply looking at us, that two of our three kids are autistic and the eldest also has ADHD. I ask to sat in a corner or in a booth, but inevitably as restaurants can get busy, someone may end up sitting near us. And they may have an experience just like the ones I used to avoid. And I’d like to say to them and perhaps to you, in advance, ‘I’m sorry.’
I’m not sorry that my kids are playing on a loud iPad. But I am sorry that it may be loud and distracting for you. My kids do this as a way to keep themselves and their bodies calm and settled. It helps them sit better and feel less anxious. We are working on helping them reduce its volume, tolerate wearing headphones and listen to us when we ask them to turn it down.
I’m not sorry that my son has ADHD and can’t stop moving. But I am sorry that his moving about in his seat means you’ve had to hear another piece of cutlery drop to the floor… because it’s been knocked off the table… again. Tapping, fidgeting and playing with the cutlery helps him stay calm and focused. Sometimes he needs to take medication to help, and it sometimes just doesn’t work.
I’m not sorry that my eldest son is able to talk. But I am sorry that because he is loud it may disturb conversations. Our eldest son cannot tell that he is speaking at a volume that is totally inappropriate for the setting. Sometimes in an effort to get words out, he has to shout it. But we are working on it. Slowly he is able to hear us when we speak to him and he is able to focus for longer periods so can work a lower volume more often. But he’s still loud a lot of the time. Our other son is…