A mum who was faced with stares from strangers at ASDA while she was trying calm her autistic son, saying it was like they were ‘gawping at a monkey in the zoo’.
Jade Basnett, a mum-of-three from Cheshire, took to the Facebook group Pride in the Port to share her discontent with shoppers at ASDA, after the way some behaved while her autistic son was having a meltdown.
Writing a post about her experience, the mum said she was busy trying to hold her six-year-old to prevent him from hurting himself or others, while people walked past and stared at him.
‘I hope all of you coming in and out of Asda today had a good look watching my 6 year old autistic son having a melt down outside Asda. I had to hold him down to stop him hurting people around him but more so himself as he was banging his head off the floor!’ she said.
Jade went on to say that attitudes like this are the reason it’s often hard for autistic children to go out and do normal things, as people staring only makes them more anxious.
‘Next time before you think oh I’m gonna stand here and watch think about the consequences that can have for the child, it was like you was all gawping at a monkey in the zoo!’, she wrote.
The mum, who added that this was her son’s third ever trip to ASDA and that they were there to buy him a lunchbox, explained: ‘He has no control of it, and by you all standing staring it makes his anxiety shoot through the roof and harder for him to come out of his melt down! You are the people that make it hard for him to go out and be able to do normal things like go to Asda.’
Jade Basnett updated her cover photo.
Her message has been met with sympathy, with many parents using the comments section to share similar experiences, saying they too have had difficult situations with their autistic children made harder because of strangers staring.
One said: ‘My 11 year old daughter has autism and ADHD among a list of other difficulties too and the majority of people just don’t understand and are too quick to judge. They don’t realise the struggles our children face on a daily basis and how hard the things we find simple can be for them. A meltdown is hard enough to deal with without people staring and pointing which makes it 10 times worse. I’ve been in that situation myself so know exactly how you feel.’
A second wrote: ‘This has made me cry. I experience this daily with my four year old ASD diagnosed son. it just makes me feel horrendous, and happened to me yesterday in silly Billy’s with an elderly couple. Keep strong..blank out everyone around you and keep doing what your doing.’
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In an interview with the Liverpool Echo, Jade said her son can have up to six meltdowns a day, which can last 40 minutes each.
She also provided advice for anyone who sees someone struggle with a kid having a meltdown on how they can help: ‘If they feel like they could offer any support, even if it was just keeping the child covered for people not to stare or telling people to walk on that would be great.’