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Mom Receives Nasty Note About Autistic Son's Behavior in Supermarket

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Brittany Miller’s son, Granderson, loves fire alarms. The 6-year-old on the autism spectrum knows everything there is to know about fire alarms, from the model of the alarm down to the noise it makes. During a routine trip to the local supermarket in North Muskegon, Michigan, Granderson did what he does best, showing off his knowledge of the grocery store’s alarms. Unfortunately, his enthusiasm drew in some unwanted attention.

“At the supermarket that day he wasn’t being as loud as he is at home, but he was beeping consistently and flapping every time he saw a new fire alarm,” Miller said. “He would point to each one and tell me the brand, make, and model number that each fire alarm was and then he would imitate the noise it made. He would make the beeping noise until he saw another one and he did this the entire time.”

Miller considered her trip to the store a success until she found a nasty note in one of her shopping bags. Miller shared the note, which reads “Buy that kid a muzzle!!”

“He wasn’t screaming, crying, or throwing a fit, he was simply making noise to drowned out the noise around him,” Miller wrote on Facebook. “It’s a coping mechanism and it’s his “stim” (stimming is self regulating behavior most prevalent in children with autism). I’ve learned to tune it out and while I fully realize other people haven’t, by telling him NOT to do it is ripping away his safety net and stripping him of his ability to cope.”

While the note upset Miller, she said she doesn’t hate the person who left it in her bag. “After the hurt and anger subsided, I then felt sorry for that stranger that walks around every day feeling so angry and disgruntled with their own life that they feel the need to judge somebody else’s,” Miller told The Mighty.

After reading the note, she crumpled it in her hand, in case the person who left the note was watching to see her reaction. Miller then smiled at her son, who was still making fire alarm noises, and walked out of the store with her head held high.

Her advice to the person who left the note behind: if you see behavior you don’t like, ask don’t judge. “If that person would have approached me or my son and questioned his fire alarm noises, or even just made a statement about it, my son would have been the first one to greet them with a smile because he is thrilled to death when someone actually wants to talk to him about fire alarms!”

Originally published: March 29, 2023
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