Watching the third episode of the new Netflix show “Atypical” I was taken aback first by the mother not wanting to take her son to the mall because he had an issue there the last time they went and secondly, once there, actually pointing out all of the noises that I imagine would have normally bothered him but were clearly not bothering him (as he was on a mission) at the time. It was as if she was disappointed that he was not having an issue with any of it.
There are plenty of things that I do like about this show. The mother is not one of them.
DC is not anywhere close to as independent as Sam is so I can not relate to all of it, but I do think that the literal thinking Sam displays and the way a word might get stuck in his head so much so that he has to repeat it over and over are spot on in relation to DC.
As much as I do not like or agree with the mother’s actions, it did give me pause. Am I so overly sensitive about DC and his surroundings that I may possibly be causing a problem just because I think there is going to be a problem? Am I so sure about how he will react in a situation that I am actually causing him to act that way? I do not think that I do. We go many places and put him into many situations and I think that most of the time, we go thinking (hoping) there will NOT be a problem. But who knows? It is certainly something to think about and keep in the back of my mind.
I WAS a bit surprised by his mother calling ahead to a clothing store to let them know that her son needed a quiet environment, no loud music, no crowds and low lights in order to try on clothes in the fitting room.
I was surprised because it would never occur to me to do that. Parents in a different situation than DC and I, may do that and I am not saying that it is right or wrong – it just would not have occurred to me at all.
I have said quite a few times in earlier posts that I do not necessarily look for accommodations for DC. I want him to try first. This does not mean that if the trying does not work out, or I can see that practice is not going to make it easier, I will not look for a better way or an accommodation – I just do not begin that way. Again, that is just me. That is what I am used to. Accommodations were not available or even thought of when DC was growing up so we either did it the way everyone else had to or we would not be able to do it at all.
I will say that like public restrooms and the complete lack of enough “family” restrooms, fitting rooms are a huge cause of stress for me and DC.
Fortunately most of the time I do not have to have DC try on clothes. There have been times when he had either gained or lost weight and I was not sure what size to purchase that he has had to use the fitting room.
He does not like to “try on” clothes at home to begin with, so trying things on in a store does not make him happy. Then we have to contend with the fitting rooms that are rooms with long hallways of stalls where I can not see him once he goes in. I can not see who might be in there with him either.
The first time I had to send him into a fitting room as described above, he was just going in to high school. I was fortunate that there was a room available right in eye-shot of the main door.
I sent him in with four pair of pants and gave him as many instructions as I could. I wanted him to come out WITH THE PANTS ON so I could see if they fit. The first thing he did was come out in his underwear to hand me the pants he was wearing. I hurried him back in and told him to hang his pants up in the room so he could put them back on when he was finished trying on the rest. He tried the on and came out to show me the rest without incident. Then he came out dressed and carrying all of the pants. It was then that I noticed another flaw in my instructions – he had pulled every single tag off all of the pants.
I have to cut all tags out of his clothes at home so why had it not occurred to me that he would pull all of the price tags and size tags out of the clothes before he put them on? I don’t know, but it did not.
Our next adventure in the fitting room was 3 or 4 years ago when he needed a new suit. Again he was able to use a stall in eye-shot of the door. Remembering the lessons learned from that first time, I gave him his instructions before he went in and continued to remind him by calling all of the instructions into the room as he was changing. The customer shopping around near the fitting room found the whole exchange quite amusing – not in a malicious way though; in a “been there – done that” kind of way. Other than being unhappy about having to try on clothes, DC did much better that time.
By far, one of the hardest fitting room experiences was about a year and a half ago when my step-father passed away. It was not DC who needed something to wear (the suit still fits), it was me. I had gained weight and really just alternated between the 3 or 4 pairs of pants that fit me, quite uncomfortably – for work (I would not buy more because buying a bigger size would be admitting defeat). None of these were dressy enough for a funeral so I had no choice. The wake was that night so I only had that day to find something. I had to take DC with me. Not really knowing my size, I knew I would have to try on a lot of pants and in a few different sizes in order to find one item, just one that would fit and that I did not completely hate.
I found the fitting room and – sigh…. it was room with a long a hallway with many many stalls. I was not sure what to do. There was a bench right outside and I sat DC down and told him not to move. I knew he would not go anywhere, but I did not know what he would do if someone came up and asked him why he was sitting outside the ladies dressing room or if someone asked him to move or if someone asked him anything at all. I told him to call me if anyone talked to him. I went in, yelling to him with each step I took. I did not even make it into one of the stalls when I decided I could not do it.
I came back out and decided that I would just have to buy everything and hope there was something there that fit. If there wasn’t, I was done for because there would not be a lot of time to come back and buy a bunch more just to try on. If there was something that fit, I would just have to return the rest another day.
As we were walking towards the front to pay, we happened upon an alcove with a big round couch in the middle and separate fitting rooms all the way around. Better still, the doors did not go all the way up and I could look over the top! DC sat on the couch and I was able to try on everything while still being able to see him and talk to him from less than 5 feet away.
This kind of set up worked out perfectly and would have been just as helpful if DC were the one doing the “trying on”.
“Family fitting rooms” and more of this type of set up would go a long way in helping to take some of the stress out of shopping and trying on clothes for us and our children………
The store with this Fitting Room set up is Kohl’s, I do not know if all of their stores are set up this way but I thought that they deserved a mention.