My son, Kyan, has autism.
This is the first time I am publicly announcing this statement. He is incredible and my motivation for life.
One weekend last month, in our usual supermarket, #marksandspencer, Kyan, aged 5, sits in the trolley, as always. This visit was going to be slightly different as I needed to purchase clothing before grocery. So I had to negotiate this change with Kyan ahead of time (change can be unsettling or trigger a meltdown). When I went to pay, the #mands assistant made what she probably thought was an innocent comment – “That’s a big baby in the trolley”. My mind flashed through a response, “well, since he was little he struggled greatly going to the supermarket, the sounds, colours, lighting, smells and noise levels were all triggers for him, the only way I could ease him was by placing him in the trolley. He now associates the trolley with the supermarket and it gives him comfort. But you wouldn’t know this because his “disability” is hidden”. Instead I replied “yes, that’s a big baby” as I was in shock that this high customer facing company, still seem to display a lack in diversity training.
I started Aubilities, for organisations like #mands (part of the Value 500), to raise awareness and build acceptance.