Today I got to see this in real time.
It’s a long video but for Dylan its an eventful one.
To summarise. Dylan joined the queue, you can see him distracted by the sound of a crying baby within the shopping centre. It’s a sound in the distance at first but you can see Dylan squirming and although he remembers to look forward to concentrate on the movement of the queue he keeps looking out to see the source of the noise.
At 00.42 Dylan leaves the queue to come to our table, his increasing anxiety is palpable but we gently encourage him back to the queue. Maybe he should have his ear defenders with him but they are such a barrier to others communicating with him we tend to leave them off on these occasions (despite the fact he can seem to hear fine with them on!)
At 02.38 off camera Dad and I gesture to Dylan to move forward in the queue as a member of the public walks straight into the gap between Dylan and the person in front of him, she genuinely missed seeing that he was waiting. Dad and I are continually throwing Dylan positive support of thumbs up and big smiles to reassure.
The situation intensifies on the arrival of two gorgeous but slightly tired/ hungry toddlers in a double pushchair. At this point Dad and I are considering pulling Dylan out of the queue. Dylan has always been anxious around smaller people. It’s the noise and unpredictability which rattles him. He begins to hold his ears in anticipation of the noise as the children grizzle and babble next to him.
By this point Dylan is already being served so he ploughs on. This time he orders cake and a milkshake; he hasn’t made a double order before and these are totally new items that are open for interpretation.
He might be asked about drink size or number of cakes.
Additional items we haven’t planned or prepared for.
To sit from a distance and watch it pan out is nail-biting.
By now Dylan has been queuing/ordering for over 7 minutes. The waitress has got his cake but missed that there was a second item on the request. She speaks to Dylan using a beautiful range of gestures, positive reinforcement and gentle suggestions for a drink. Dylan agrees to hot chocolate.
Dylan’s seen this waitress a couple of times and she knows he doesn’t want marshmallows but offers them anyway giving him an opportunity to communicate this to her. Despite the strain on Dylan to function within the increasingly stressful environment he holds it together and communicates with her beautifully.
There’s an element at the end of the video when it gets too much and Dylan gently removes himself and comes to the table for a bit of a breather.
No pushing or running.
It’s too much but he knows he can come away for a bit.
After this at the end of the video Dylan returns to the counter to get his tray and I rush over to assist him. Dad and I have visions of there being a child shriek or a clatter of plates to startle Dylan and he’ll drop his tray of hot drink in an effort to cover his ears. Tray safely transported to table and Dylan’s as pleased as punch.
He’s done so well and it’s still early days.
So so proud 🙂