Raising an Autistic child is very challenging. It's even more challenging when I have to take my 13 year old Autistic son out in public. We have to deal with stares and wondering how people will treat him. I've been working hard to prepare my son to live close to a normal life as possible. Getting him to go out in public without having a melt down or sensory overload. Every week his dad and I take him to the store as a routine so he can overcome his fear of anxiety that builds up before leaving home. Everything was going great until a routine visit to a local grocery store called Save A Lot located on Teutonia Ave inside the SilverMill Mall. Milwaukee, WI.
As I was preparing to leave (bagging my groceries), I was startled by the Security guard because I heard him tell my son that he couldn't leave the store until he check underneath my son's shirt. I turned around and say, "excuse me, are you talking to my son"? He responded " your son cant leave without me checking to see what's under his shirt". At this time the Security guard is blocking the door so we can't leave. I explained to him that my son is Autistic and doesn't understand what you're saying. My son Deontay just stared at him like Autistic children do when they don't quite understand things.
The store was very crowded and everyone was looking. My son starts saying, "Mom I don't want to raise my shirt up, my bag is full ( colostomy bag). He was humiliated and so was I. The security guard didn't have the decency to pull us aside or anything. He was very aggressive with us. Save A Lot's store manager came from the back and said that they would still need to check under my son's shirt.
I frequent this establishment often and most of the time everyone is friendly. After all the embarrassment, I lifted my son's shirt up to show that the Security guard was mistaken on what he thought he saw. No apologies were offered, no compensation, nothing. Just shocked faces.
I contacted the head of Save A Lot and the owner of the DPA security company and I asked them to have their staff trained in handling people who have Autism. I also asked that they make a donation for Autism to Steppin 4 Autism and a public apology. Again, no response.
Everyday my son mentions the incident that took place and now he doesn't want to go in any store, he's scared of security guards . Everything we worked so hard in getting our child to overcome has been diminished in less than thirty minutes . Im writing the media, sending videos , making a difference .
Founder of Steppin 4 Autism