Had a bad experience at an Autistic event today

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skibum
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21 Apr 2018, 7:00 pm

I belong to a meet up group in my town for adult Autistics. Today we had a great meetup. We got to go to the movies for free. I was really excited about the movie, A Wrinkle In Time, and I really loved the movie. But I had a huge problem when I was there. I carefully picked my seat according to my Autistic particularities and no one was sitting next to me or behind me. Now every single person at this meet up had to either be Autistic or be the immediate family members of the Autistic person. So pretty much at least a third to half of the people there were Autistic and anyone else was an immediate family member. So about a half hour after I sat down, a guy and his Autistic son sat behind me. No one else at all was in their row. But the dad sat behind the empty chair next to me and the Autistic son, who was a young adult, sat in the aisle seat directly behind me. During the movie the son kept kicking my seat and sometimes so hard that it actually jolted my whole body and actually hurt me. The first two times I turned around and asked him to stop and the dad told him to calm down. But then he kept kicking my seat and it became unbearable. In the middle of the movie I had to get up and find another seat.

The thing that I cannot get over with this is that the dad never once at all apologized to me. I get it that his kid might be "low functioning" and that he had to do whatever he had to do but there were plenty of empty seats that he could have sat behind. And it almost seemed to me that the dad felt that his kid was entitled to hurt other people or kick their seats because he is Autistic and that there was no need for him to apologize on behalf of his kid. That made me so angry because I am just as Autistic as his kid is or anyone else in that room. And I am sure that if someone had been kicking his kid's seat, he would have been upset. But it really makes me angry when parents of these kids think that because their kids are Autistic, they should be allowed to do whatever they want and that everyone else has to just understand and be ok with it. And I don't understand why they did not just sit behind an empty row so that the kid could kick an empty seat. At one point he even had both of his feet on the headrest. I was so glad that I had already moved. But I was sitting there long before they got there, I don't think I should have been the one who had to move. I am really pissed at this and it made the experience terrible for me and took away from my enjoyment of the movie.


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B19
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21 Apr 2018, 7:14 pm

I know how annoying that can be, though it was on a long distance flight that I experienced the kicking into the back of my seat. I asked the seat-kicking older child to desist, though he continued until his parent told him to stop. The flight was full, so there was nowhere else they or I could move to. However he did eventually stop and the parent took action to keep him distracted with other activity, which I much appreciated. I don't remember any child ever kicking seats decades ago, or perhaps it happened and I didn't know it at the time. The bar has lowered on what is acceptable behaviour since I was young, no child then would have got away with kicking a seat more than once... times have changed.



Anthracite_Impreza
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21 Apr 2018, 7:33 pm

Ugh, I'm sorry your day was ruined today. I belong to an autistic adult group too and I have been made to feel extremely uncomfortable by some people who think they have a chance with me, and don't or take ages to quit (I'm usually the only female-appearing person in the group so I get singled out). One guy actually had to get kicked out (not only for that, but that didn't help). Autism or no autism, the people in my group are cognisant enough to know what "I'm not interested" means, or their carers should be paying attention.


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skibum
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21 Apr 2018, 7:48 pm

Yeah, Autism is never an excuse for bad behavior. I don't care how "low functioning" someone might be. If the "child" cannot control himself, it is the parent's or caretaker's duty to redirect or to physically move him so that he does not hurt other people. I know for a fact that when I was I kid, that kind of thing would not have been tolerated at all. I am actually having some work done on my spine and the force at which he was kicking my seat could have re injured my spine. And for the dad to not even think to apologize really said a lot about the kind of person he is.


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21 Apr 2018, 8:09 pm

Sorry this kid ruined your event, ski.

I agree completely, autism is not an excuse for bad behavior, and if the autistic person is too low functioning to get it, then it's the responsibility of the carer. The father should have removed his son, sat elsewhere.

Maybe he didn't apologize because he was of the opinion that autistic people should excuse that kind of behavior?
I remember a member here mentioning in a thread that a lower functioning person's behavior had made them uncomfortable because it invaded their privacy and the carer had just seemed to assume that them both having autism meant the person should be okay with it.

That is a very poor way of dealing with it, and not helpful to anyone.



B19 wrote:
I don't remember any child ever kicking seats decades ago, or perhaps it happened and I didn't know it at the time. The bar has lowered on what is acceptable behaviour since I was young, no child then would have got away with kicking a seat more than once... times have changed.
Kids have definitely kicked seats since the 80's when I was a kid. I didn't do so myself but I've had the misfortune of sitting in front of such kids or observed kids doing it. Sometimes they've been stopped by teachers/parents, other times not. It definitely seems like things are seen as acceptable today that IMO isn't and never were. That kind of acceptance has gone way too far.


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21 Apr 2018, 8:14 pm

skibum wrote:
Yeah, Autism is never an excuse for bad behavior. I don't care how "low functioning" someone might be. If the "child" cannot control himself, it is the parent's or caretaker's duty to redirect or to physically move him so that he does not hurt other people. I know for a fact that when I was I kid, that kind of thing would not have been tolerated at all. I am actually having some work done on my spine and the force at which he was kicking my seat could have re injured my spine. And for the dad to not even think to apologize really said a lot about the kind of person he is.

If they'd been kicking me while I had my broken ankle I'm not sure I'd be able to stop myself shouting; you showed great restraint there.


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skibum
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21 Apr 2018, 8:21 pm

Thank you Skil. I agree with you that it is very possible that some parents think that because we are all Autistic we should be ok with anything and everything. But I think there is a huge line between what is acceptable and what is not. One of the Autistic people in the theater was nonverbal and he did have some vocal stims during the movie. Even though it was annoying, I was okay with that because he was only doing it when you could tell that he was really enjoying some of the graphics in the movie. That is very different than if he had been loudly vocalizing the entire time and overtaking the whole movie and theater. And even though his vocal stimming was actually painful for me, I was not going to make a fuss about him squealing every now and then. But it is totally not right for parents to think that it is ok for their child to actually directly physically hurt other people. I wonder how he would have responded if someone had been kicking his kid's chair.


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21 Apr 2018, 8:22 pm

Anthracite_Impreza wrote:
skibum wrote:
Yeah, Autism is never an excuse for bad behavior. I don't care how "low functioning" someone might be. If the "child" cannot control himself, it is the parent's or caretaker's duty to redirect or to physically move him so that he does not hurt other people. I know for a fact that when I was I kid, that kind of thing would not have been tolerated at all. I am actually having some work done on my spine and the force at which he was kicking my seat could have re injured my spine. And for the dad to not even think to apologize really said a lot about the kind of person he is.

If they'd been kicking me while I had my broken ankle I'm not sure I'd be able to stop myself shouting; you showed great restraint there.
Oh, I was tempted. It was so hard not to make a scene. I wanted to confront him him in the parking lot afterwards too but they left before I had time. If there had not been plenty of empty seats and if I had not been able to move, I would have lost it.


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21 Apr 2018, 8:27 pm

skibum wrote:
Oh, I was tempted. It was so hard not to make a scene. I wanted to confront him him in the parking lot afterwards too but they left before I had time. If there had not been plenty of empty seats and if I had not been able to move, I would have lost it.

You could ask management at your group to have a word? Then if they do it again they've already been officially told.


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21 Apr 2018, 8:44 pm

That kind of behavior is really annoying. It doesn't matter if the person doing it is autistic or not.



skibum
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21 Apr 2018, 8:44 pm

Anthracite_Impreza wrote:
skibum wrote:
Oh, I was tempted. It was so hard not to make a scene. I wanted to confront him him in the parking lot afterwards too but they left before I had time. If there had not been plenty of empty seats and if I had not been able to move, I would have lost it.

You could ask management at your group to have a word? Then if they do it again they've already been officially told.
Great idea. I will definitely bring it up. Thank you


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21 Apr 2018, 8:52 pm

skibum wrote:
Great idea. I will definitely bring it up. Thank you

Glad to have helped; hopefully you can now focus on the positives of the film you were watching c:


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21 Apr 2018, 11:38 pm

I usually have this problem in public places, not with autistics but with people with small children. A whole cinema or bus or restaurant can have lots of available seats to choose from, but, lo and behold, the parents will choose the seats right behind/next to me and expect me to put up with it. It does get frustrating.


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22 Apr 2018, 8:59 am

I don’t think it was because his kid was autistic, I think it was just because it was his kid. I think some parents are inconsiderate these days and let their kids run riot, even if they’re well behaved kids. My sister’s children listen to me if I ask them to stop banging chairs loudly or acting naughty in another way. It really doesn’t take much, just a slightly stern, “No” or “Don’t do that please”. It’s the parents, not the children. Parents seem to think they are angels but again, it isn’t the children’s fault, it’s the parents being selfish.

There is also this thing in East London and Essex where there are lots of empty seats around in public transport and people will sit right behind you or often next to you. BirdInFlight experienced the same thing. I think it’s a local thing here. Why people do it, I have no idea.



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22 Apr 2018, 9:13 am

It's an instinct or trait for many, mostly NTs, to group together. The fact that one person has chosen to occupy a new area means that it must be good over there and should now be 'colonised'.