Bystanders were horrified. But my son has autism, and I was desperate.

Whitney Ellenby


What I did to help my 5-year-old autistic son overcome his intense fear of indoor spaces might not have been right or even safe. Doctors didn’t recommend it. The people who witnessed it were appalled, understandably. I don’t suggest this for others.

I could have been more patient with conventional methods, but I wasn’t. I am not certified in restraining children, though doctors say anyone attempting what I did should be. They would also recommend a much slower approach.

I am writing this because I hope to educate people about the burden families face when their autistic children have tantrums in public spaces, so next time you witness such a struggle you don’t immediately resort to blaming the parents. I’m also reaching out to fellow parents in pain to remind them to cast off shame, because I believe nothing is more important than getting your autistic children out into the world.

It was a desperate time. Nothing else had worked for Zack — flashcards, photos, play therapy. gradual exposure to feared indoor spaces. That is how, very much against his will, I ended up physically dragging Zack into Verizon Center (now Capital One Arena) one day 10 years ago to see his favorite character, Elmo, perform as part of a “Sesame Street Live!” show.

Continue reading here


Related Articles


Autism and meltdowns to miracles

Meltdowns are something almost every parent of an autistic child is familiar with and although we all know tha ..

read more

How schools can be more inclusive

Among the first few challenges that parents of differently-abled kids face is that of finding a school that is ..

read more

My happy 10-year-old boy, and our struggles

I have a 10 year old happy boy. I love him so much and want for him the best that life can offer. I realized ..

read more

Our Support Community


Join our free support community and connect with thousands of other families and individuals touched by ASD. Find out what’s working for others, coping strategies, and life guides from others living what you’re going through now. Click here to join for free!

Resources in Your Area

Looking for autism resources nearby? Check our listings for professionals and services that might help.

Post your services | Help out in general

Events


Alert Program® Online Course
Albuquerque, NM - United States
Jun-19-2018 - 12:01 am
“If your body is like a car engine, sometimes it runs on high, sometimes it runs on low, and sometimes it runs just right.” When teachers, parents or therapists use t ..
Go to Event site

view all events