Friday, February 3, 2006

One Benefit of Creating a Community for Your Complex Child

We have talked about creating a community in several posts herein and in some of my speaking events. See She Isn’t Typical She’s Trisha for more detail.

I like to think of it as creating a small community within the larger community. Your child gets a chance to know those he meets regularly and they know him better than if you frequented several establishments of the same type. When there are problems he is accepted where he might be kicked out if they didn’t know how he is normally.

A good example of this happened Wednesday at Gordy’s Truck Stop, a restaurant in our little town of LaPine, Oregon.

We avoid going out when he is agitated and more likely to have behavior problems. Additionally, we have an as needed medication that can be used if we have to go out. It works pretty well to take the edge off when needed. However, Tuesday he was in a calm mood so we didn’t use anything and felt totally safe to take him to an early dinner.

Billy Ray chokes easily and when it does occasionally it can agitate him. He has from time to time thrown himself on the floor but he has never exhibited the out of control behavior in public that he does at home.

Wednesday he had a minor choking incident at Gordy’s and got irritated but not agitated. We aren’t really sure if that set him off or what it was. He started hitting me and got up knocking all the things off an empty table next to us, knocked over the chairs then threw himself on the floor. It took a while to get him out of the restaurant and made quite a scene.

I was humiliated by this experience, sure that he would be barred from Gordy’s forever. After we got him to the car, my husband stayed with him and I went back to apologize. The waitress was concerned that they had done something “because he is always so good”. She said that he is absolutely welcome to come back.

I called the owner the following morning to apologize again and he was just as understanding and accepting.

This acceptance even in such difficult times comes when the folks in the community relationships you have created know your child. They know that this is not the norm so are less likely to reject him if he has a bad time.

Until tomorrow,
Peggy Lou Morgan

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