Son with HFA going into the women's bathroom with mom

Siobhan - posted on 01/20/2010 ( 3 moms have responded )

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I have a nine year old with HFA. He is very big for his age so people may think he is an average 11 or 12 year old boy. When we travel and have to stop at rest stops, I try to find a family bathroom but those are usually locked. So I have to take him into the womens restroom with me. I take him in the stall with me. He is scared of automatic flushing toilets and would wet his pants rather than go without me covering the sensor so it won't flush. He is also scared of certain types of hand dryers. I have had several women comment on him going into the women's restroom. Since I am single, we rarely ever travel with a man who can take him into the mens restroom. If we are in a small local place that isn't crowded, I have him go into the mens restroom himself but there have been times when something has gone wrong. One time they had turbo hand dryers that were extremely loud so he hid in the stall afraid to walk by the hand dryers to get out the door. I had to go in there and get him out after waiting for a while and then sending a stranger in to find out what was going on. Should I be taking him into the bathroom with me? What are my other options? What should I say to negative comments? Suggestions?

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Krisie - posted on 02/18/2010

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Hello I have a 9 year old boy the HFA and the bathroom are challenging but you know as a Mom your job is to take care of your child and if he needs helps he should go with you. I makes me upset when people react that way...do they really think someone would bring an older boy into the ladies rest room unless they had too. That is people just not knowing. As a mother I am sure you get tired of explaining to other people but as you know we will probably for the rest of their life or until they do. People are starting to learn more and more about HFA so most people will understand. So just next time if anyone looks at you different say he needs my help and that is all. :) I hope that help and hang in there.

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I once asked a woman about her son in the ladies room and she screamed at me. Please don't do that! I would just say, "My child is disabled and cannot use the restroom alone."

Annette - posted on 02/10/2010

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I have a 15 year old that has Autism and ADHD. When he was little I used to take him with me so I wouldn't loose him. We are all so scared of someone taking our kids!! My opinion is that you should do what is comfortable for you and especially for him. If someone gives you a look or a comment, then just let them know that he has Austism. People are starting to understand, more and more about this diagnosis. I used to wonder if I should tell people that he had Austism, because he "looks" so "normal", if there is such a word! LOL But, the bigger and older he gets, I don't care if people know. In fact I make it a point to tell them so they will understand him if something happens, such as being scared in the bathroom. More often, than not, people are the most caring I have seen in a long time. What other option do you have, except to trust a stranger. Believe me, that is not easy! I don't trust many people with him, especially because of his diagnosis. I say, keep doing what you are doing! Deal with the situations as they come. I had a friend once that had a son with autism and would have outbursts and tantrums at the store. They got so bad that people would stop and stare. She had a daughter also. They made these cards up that said, "Don't stare at my brother, he has autism and he is okay." When the daughter would see people staring, she would either tell them or hand them the card to let them know. I know it is hard, but keep up the good work! I can't tell you it will get easier, cause mine is very frustrating most of the time. You just "grow into it". Good Luck!!

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