Frantic Screaming and Meltdowns in Public Places Mary December 9, 2014 Stories I’ve come to realize that as parents and caregivers, we all assume that it’s OK to take our autistic child/children to every place like a normal family would with their children. Well, I found out that this is certainly not the case. I’m a huge fan of basketball, and I love to attend games, whether it be high school or pro. I learned very quickly that sound and noise plays a big factor with Justin’s emotional state. I not only found out that loud noise was a problem, but the large crowd was a problem as well. Whenever we would attend a basketball game, Justin would hold his ears and head down like he wanted to get out. I would think, “Oh, I’m not leaving! This is my favorite sport!” Justin, on the other hand, did not want to stay and eventually won that battle. Attending basketball games was not the only issue with noise, crowds, etc. My favorite store – as it may be for some of you – is Target, but the moment we would walk into the doors, Justin knew because he was familiar with the smell. The crying, screaming, and jumping up and down would start. So, after numerous visits to the store and going through the same scenarios, I decided that trips to the store was too much stress for him… and me. Some might think I was isolating and secluding Justin. Maybe. It might even seem heartbreaking. As a mother, I couldn’t continue to do what obviously caused him enough stress to scream frantically. Today, I can look back over these experiences with him in the large crowded, noisy places and smile. This was his way of letting me know,” Mom, I do not want to be here.” It took me a while to finally understand that Justin is a typical little boy that does not like to shop :-).