I walked over to Tim Horton's this afternoon. This is a daily occurrence; it takes about 15 minutes to get there, I have a mocha and read my current novel, and then I walk home (or, today, to the library). It's a good walk, I go quickly, and I get in my cardio for the day.
I went too late in the afternoon today, though; I'm still experimenting with when is good - this location is pretty busy, and I sometimes have trouble finding a place to sit. So I ordered my drink and looked around for somewhere to sit.
The 4yo girl was blonde and very cute. She was sitting in a high chair at a table with her mother and (I assume) grandmother. I took the table next to them, and the child and I exchanged looks. I smiled, since I'm friendly and like children, and she smiled back. Then she started turning quickly and gasping at me, so I responded appropriately to her overtures; apparently this was the way to go, as she started tipping her head back to look at me upside-down. I responded by turning my head so we were both upside-down.
This did not go unnoticed by the adults in the child's life. I was informed that this little pixie is "actually very shy." (Not the first time that a child behaves toward me as if I were an old friend right from the start!) Her mother told her to ask me my name. She did so, and we embarked upon a 15-minute friendship. The child's voice was very quiet, and I had to lean in close to hear her when she spoke to me. It didn't help that I kept getting distracted by her adults' conversation.
It sounded like the little girl's older brother was having trouble at school. There were changes being made to how he was being dealt with. When he tantrums, he is put into a time out room (adjacent to the classroom), and the class is now being vacated because he makes so much noise that the others in the class can't get any work done, anyway. Classic situation for an autistic child, don't you think?
I held my tongue, though I desperately wanted to ask them if there'd been a Functional Behaviour Assessment done, and if the triggers for these meltdowns had been identified. It sounds to me like the boy's school is reacting instead of being proactive.
But I said nothing, because I am a stranger - not just to this little family, but to the city. There is no reason for anyone to listen to me.