Tuesday, May 31, 2022


At the MRT gantry today, Calder was too fast to tap his card. The lady before him was stalled because there was something wrong with hers. But Calder didn't notice and tapped his card. The gantry gate opened. The lady was still examining her card. Guess what Calder did? In that narrow space, he managed to circumvent her and crossed the gantry, his bowling trolley in tow. I was at the adjacent gantry and heard the lady exclaimed "Damn rude!" 

What would you do if you're me?

As I was crossing the gantry, I explained to the lady: "Sorry, he has autism - he doesn't understand." She didn't look at me. I stopped Calder from striding off as is his habit, and tried apologizing again. This time, she waved me off (still not looking at me). 

When she had left, I highlighted to Calder not to tap his card so fast in future. 

As I recalled this incident, I wondered if I could have done anything differently. 

Should I have asked Calder to apologize to her?

Is it right to expect Calder to apologize before explaining to him what he did wrongly?

If I have to explain to Calder before getting him to apologize, wouldn't the wait be too embarrassing for the lady? 

What I do know is that whoever does the apologizing, it must come across as sincere. The lady was not wrong to be upset at Calder's behavior. She wouldn't know that Calder has special needs. Even if the special needs is apparent, it is not fair to expect everyone to be able to control their irritation enough to respond graciously on the spot. 

How do caregivers respond in such situations? We speak for our children. But humbly, not indignantly. We must never take the standpoint that it's us against them. The public is not our enemy but our potential best friends. Because we want our children to be accepted and loved, not merely tolerated.