Due to my whole family being ill with the stomach flu, I chose to rerun a post, hope you like it.:

Everyday we all go about our business in the world, some days we go to the store, the library and a coffee shop. Some days there are no errands to do so we get a day at home. Really, for so many people there is no second thought given. But in my world, in my day to day life, so much thought is given to every venture out into public.

I am sure we can all remember a time when we slipped on a wet spot on the floor or forgot to button a shirt the correct way. And I am sure we can remember how we felt when a few more eyes were on us than we were used to. It is a cringe worthy moment for sure. Throughout our life with Elizabeth, we, she and our family, have been on the receiving end of those stares, and wondering glances. We weren’t able to escape the looks and stares, unless we chose to stay home all the time. Which would not have been possible or healthy.

Due to Elizabeth’s two conditions, we had to help her learn the proper way of acting in public. We had to help her learn the subtle nuances of social interactions. It was and is very hard work. Some one once commented to me while we were in church that it was so great of us to take her with us. I was somewhat surprised and shocked because it never occured to us NOT to take her with us. Not to take her into the world.

Why did we do it? Because she deserved a chance to learn and live and learn.

We had to take her into the world. Well we did and it was hard, very hard. A child with so many sensory issues like Elizabeth has has made her cry so much that I could never guess how an outing might turn out. But there were the times after she started therapy for SPD, that the trip to the library was a success or the trip to the store was without tears. I think my advice to someone who is just starting on their journey or to someone who has a child with any special needs is to set the bar kind of low at first. I remember needing about 1500 things at the store but getting the basics only. It was quicker, Elizabeth could do well for that time frame and when we were done we all felt so successful and that great feeling just lifts you up to do it again. To shedule too much is to just ask for a bad experience and for some reason those are harder to forget and tend to overshadow the next attempts at an outing.

I may need to add here that you cannot blame yourself when an outing goes badly, it is nearly impossible to try to anticipate all the variables your child may encounter. I know I used to try to control the outing,like who talked to Elizabeth, who touched her and then out of the blue something would occur that I had not thought of…like the time the packer at a grocery store pushed our cart out as I am sure he had done a gazillion times without thought but in our case I was not watching him and with my hand still on her, he began to manuever the cart to go to our car.Well of course, Elizabeth began screaming and I was left to patch up the problem, get her out of the cart and try to get her in a car seat….so I offer out to those who struggle…just do your best but be kind to yourself because no one knows what you live except you, so take a moment and try not to be too hard on yourself.

Things cannot be perfect, but you are doing your best for your child.



  1. I love this post because I, like you, get so nervous when I take my son, Matthew, in public. He has SPD and apraxia (was recently diagnosed w/ autism, though I’m not totally convinced that is the cause of his delays) and every outing is an adventure! I have received more than one unkind comment, observed more than a few critical stares, and constantly struggle to find the balance between advocating for understanding in an intolerant world and just protecting Matthew from all of it. I came across your article just today and plan to connect with you…excited to learn from your journey. Ours has more than just begun, but I feel like I am still in the infancy phase because of all I have to learn.

    • Hi Julie, Thanks for the comment, Yes the whole public thing gets very overwhelming sometimes. I love what you said about trying to advocate for understanding, that in and of itself would be a full time job! I look forward to hearing from you and would be happy to share more about our journey. Thanks again.

Leave a Reply