Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Thought-provoking Shopping Experience

I went to TJ Maxx in search of new puzzles for Matthew and clothes for me. While there, I noticed a teenage girl sitting on the floor in the shoe department playing with the laces and mumbling to herself. She was wearing a badge on a string around her neck so I thought she was an employee and that her behavior was a bit unusual but I moved on to the toy section. There I saw 2 other "odd" individuals - one was staring at the baby toys and the other was touching the board books...again, both had badges and I thought, "wow, TJ Maxx has several special employees working here...good for them, but I think there might be some productivity issues". Then, while I was looking at the shirts, a woman came up to me and asked if the shirt I found was on clearance...yada yada. She was very friendly and I stood behind her at check-out. I noticed she was wearing a badge which said Fairfax County Public Schools. On my way out of the store, I saw the 3 teenagers plus 3 others boarding a school bus with that lady. Then it all made sense...she was the guide and they were the special needs students out on a field trip. Maybe it had something to do with a "life skills" class but why was there only 1 adult and why was she shopping for herself while the rest of the kids (they looked like they were about 16 years old) were sitting on the floor or staring at the baby toys? What if one of the kids ran out the door into the street or broke something in the housewares department and hurt themselves? What exactly did they learn during this exercise...that you go to the store to play with shoe laces?

It made me wonder, is this the kind of field trip Matthew will go on in the future? Will someone look after him and teach him something that will be useful in the real world? I need to start teaching him "life skills" ASAP!


Casdok said...

I see this sort of thing going onto. It is a big concern.

And thank you for your mamoth comment!! Yes why cant we all just get along?

GFCF Mommy said...

I read your comment on casdok's blog and I feel exactly the same way as you. I wrote a post on my blog right after the first Jenny M. interview on Oprah called "Give Peace a Chance" that was about the parent wars you describe. I still feel the same way.

I really think we really need to all learn to get along too. We need to realize everyone's experience is unique and no one person or group can speak for all of us.

I was saddened by your post about your TJ Maxx experience and unfortunately, not surprised. It is very thought provoking for those of us with young children.

Thomas Dzomba said...

Hi Cyndi.

You can thank gfcf Mommy for letting me find you!

I went over to Casdok's blog and found your comment. I agree about the differing factions and, like Katherine, I still see it too.

The TJ Maxx episode is, unfortunately, quite typical. I am willing to bet the parents have no clue as to what the schools are doing with their children. It reinforces the idea that my daughter will never be without an individual aide during her school tenure, and that we will do all we can to make sure she doesn't have experience like this.

I am looking forward to exploring your blog and I hope you will come over and visit me sometime.


GFCF Mommy said...

Cyndi, Thomas and I started a little game for Autism Awareness month. Stop by his place or mine and see if you would like to join in!


Nissa Quill said...


Love your blog, too. Thank God for aware parents like you. As a teacher I see students who have Aspbergers and the parents pretend they are normal- the frustration, fear, and self-loathing that builds up is terrible. Imagine being 13 and not realizing that you are processing differently than your peers. I have a student who is not getting the help he needs, but mom and dad don't want to hear what we say.... so he thinks all the kids hate him. In reality he just doesn't understand how they see the world, and vice versa. One girl was trying to help him the other day because he missed some directions and he attacked her verbally. It's sad. I have seen kids in the same situation as him whose parents work with them- they learn through hard work the social cues and are able to better navigate those social waters. Awareness is so key.

kristi said...

This saddens me as well.