Sometimes, it’s the simplest gestures which go the furthest way. A Maltese mother took to Facebook this week to prove just this.
In a post on popular online forum The Salott, the woman explained how it all started when she took her daughter, who has autism, to a cafeteria in Pembroke. “Since she had chips, her happiness levels were the equivalent of ‘OMG we are going to Disney!” the woman said.
It was at this point that the young girl starting ‘stimming’, or self-stimulating. This is a very common behaviour in people with autism, and is basically a repetitive body movement which can manifest itself in various ways, including rocking, flapping or pacing. Seeing this, a little boy who was standing next to the girl couldn’t help but look at her.
“I didn’t notice as I don’t mind it when kids look at her,” the woman explained. “They are just curious – it’s when adults glare that I get annoyed”. When the boy’s mother told him to stop staring, the boy inadvertently remarked that the girl was perhaps being uncommonly noisy.
“She told him she has something called autism, and that everyone expresses themselves differently, we are all different,” the girl’s mother said.
“I should have said thank you, there and then, not for stopping him staring, but for explaining it so simply, but I was worried about embarrassing her. So instead I’ll do it here – thank you for explaining to your kids, in such a simple, clear way – it’ll help the next generation to be even more understanding.”
The post, which posted on Halloween afternoon, quickly gained a lot of traction, amassing nearly 1,000 likes in the first 24 hours. People commended both the actions of the little boy’s mother, and the words of the gratitude of the girl’s mother.
“Kudos to this mother,” one person said. “Her son will learn we are all our own person and nothing wrong in that!”
Another mother had her own, similarly heartwarming story to share.
“A lady was wonderful yesterday too. My son had a few seconds of meltdown during trick or treating, and he wanted to enter her house. All she kept saying was ‘Don’t worry, don’t worry’. Thanks to her too”.
“A bit more of this, and our kids will have a much easier future,” one person added.