Not just the chicken that are legends

 Busy day for Reilly today means busy day for mammy but we’ve met some legends on the way.  

First there was the fabulous young lady working in Cramlington Sainsburys who kept my shopping while Reilly ran across filling up cups in the cafe and attempting to pour old ladies teas.  When I went back to thank her she said its ok I’m autistic too.  She was brilliant and we had a chat about how she’d had great support growing up and how well she was doing.

I then did a bus trip to Newcastle, fab bus driver on the X9 at 15.00 who knew Reilly – no sooner were we off we were back on another on the X8 at 15.30 in the next stand with an equally brill driver  😂 I needed some kwells by the time I got back to our stop.  No tuts from the queue either when he pushed straight to the front and up the stairs. Result. Bonus point was that I got to sit down for an hour in transit. 

Next stop was Annitsford McDonalds, now I spend more time in here than I like to admit.  Reilly is guaranteed to eat here  which is rare, sometimes he goes behind the counter as he’s obsessed with the McFlurry machine luckily we have a friend Rebecca that works there who is fab with him.  Today the Shift Manager came to my rescue, Ashleigh.  I was super flustered ordering his meal he was trying to spin the cookie cabinet and being generally impatient we know he doesn’t do queues.  I have to try keep one hand on him to stop him escaping or running into the kitchen as well as the usual stuff. 
Ashleigh gave Reilly a cookie and a toy to keep him occupied and told us to go sit down and she would bring over our stuff when it was ready.  Turns out Ashleigh has an autistic sister and knows exactly the kind of pressure you’re under just trying a simple trip to McDonald’s.  We chatted about awareness, how it was for autistic children years ago, Reillys blog and difficulties that parents face and it made me feel so much more relaxed for future visits.  

A bit of understanding goes a long way, things that you probably won’t give a second thought to and do naturally without the need for a back up plan, everyday things I mean have you ever been out with your ASD child without a wingman and needed the toilet. A child who is sensitive to sound, smell etc. No way never happening,  be like trying to shove my size 8 feet into a size 2 shoe getting them in the cubicle alone. Then there’s the keeping one foot on the door to stop escapes, (if it’s more than a leg stretch away you’re screwed) amid ear drum shattering screams.  It’s not the best. Understanding from staff make these visits so much easier. That’s part of the reason we set up Alphabetically Autistic we want to educate big business in how important it is to view autism through the Parent and Childs eyes. How they can make a difference. 

Finally we’ve been to the park en route home where I met a lovely couple with their autistic nephew, it’s so important to educate our NT kids while they are young to be accepting of autism and not be afraid of stimming or shrieking.  Just accept there are differences, they are all kids and all have the right to play without the stares. Top marks to Evie, Amber and Ellie for doing just that today. 

Right where’s my bed….. 


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Christine Stephenson

Really busy mam who runs her own charity, has 3 sons and learning about autism every day. Contact me at

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