Thanks to our great support network we were able to do a quick turnaround and prevent the likely loss of a career for someone who recently reached out to us for help. We were so grateful for all the forces that combined and allowed us to be our mission of “a lifeline of support.”
M. had been “in love” with a young person they met over ten years ago. While they never had an in-person dating relationship, a heart was captured and imagination took over. Sending poems, emails, texts, flowers, candy, and more, can be lovely gestures when welcomed, but wound up being scary and threatening to the love interest who did not welcome them. Finally, a protective order was filed in an out of state court. The first order covered 24 hours, the second, two weeks, and three business days following our first call with the accused, the court would hear and see evidence to produce a two-year Protective Order which would have cost our new client their job.
Hearing someone so distraught, tearful, hopeless, and being baffled by this turn of events kicked us into high gear. This college educated professional was stuck in emotions and had no idea what to do, nor if they needed to appear in court despite simple court paperwork clearly stating they needed to attend in person. There was no plan, no lawyer, no defense strategy, and only three days plus a weekend to work with. Fortunately, this person immediately reached out to and signed up with both referrals we provided, one being a defense attorney licensed in the state of the proceedings, and the other, a therapist who provides services for those in the justice system. We owe a debt of gratitude to board trustee Tiffany Sizemore who provided the out of state referral, and to Shawn McGill who immediately took the call and offered his professional help.
The judge heard both sides of the case in great detail on the day of proceedings, taking autism into consideration but not focusing on it. And much to the surprise of most involved, including the defendant’s attorney, the judge did not place our client under a Protective Order because he did not hear criminal intent nor malice, and believed the testimony that they were moving on permanently and would never contact the plaintiff again.
We talked that night after it was all over, and I asked a question I have often thought about. “What rules did you follow that you learned growing up as a kid that may have led to trouble in this situation?” And right off the bat the answer was “Follow your heart. And if you work hard enough, you can achieve anything!”
Now, that last one is not true for any one of us! And while we routinely use phrases like these, they can lead some to overly apply them very literally and not know when to change course. Positivity is sometimes helpful but it can become toxic. So please consider the individual when you use encouraging words. We were lucky in timing and that we know the best network of helpers, but this was such a close brush with disaster that the client wanted us to teach with this story. In their own words spoken the night after things cleared up, “I just want to give presents to everybody who helped me. And I am a first grader in terms of dating – I was in love with a mirage! I ‘m definitely going to do the counseling too. But overall I want to tell this story and help make sure this never happens to anyone else, ever again!”
Join 13th Hour Entertainment and Autism Connection of PA for a casual night out at Tonidale Pub in Robinson Township. Our friends at A Magical Fundraiser are hosting “A Magical Connection”, benefitting the region’s autism community, and you can get involved in some very important ways!
Contributions raised will fund: help for families seeking resources, development of inclusive, sensory friendly areas across Pennsylvania, first responder training, virtual and in-person workshops, school homeroom and assembly talks about hidden differences, educator and administrative training, justice system reform, and so much more.
Mindwarp Show featuring Mentalist/Magician Steve Haberman with the vocal talents of Tracy Lynn
Disc Jockey and Dancing by Nite Life DJz
Basket Raffle and 50/50 drawing
If you have questions about this event, feel free to call Tracy Lynn at 13th Hour Entertainment, (412) 926-3472 or email her at [email protected].
The Empowered Voices Leadership Group is comprised of self advocates
who are interested in meeting new people, sharing their
stories, and developing self-advocacy and leadership skills. Members of
the group plan the meeting agendas, speakers, and outreach activities.
The group meets on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of every month via
Google Meets from 6pm to 8pm ET. Topics include Person-Centered
Planning, Self-Advocacy Skills, and Public Speaking.
This week’s topic is Healthy Eating.
Google Meets Joining Information:
Video call link: https://meet.google.com/iuu-miaf-wio
Or dial: (US) +1 304-908-9025 PIN: 199 210 961 #
For more information contact Melissa Skiffen at [email protected]
or visit www.achieva.info
This is really important is usually that last passing thought I remember about the very important thing I was holding before my memory goes stark white. The phenomenon of blanking out after placing an important item (amusement park tickets in the upcoming scenario) isn’t uncommon. I mean, they even make memes about it.
So when Autism Connection received an email from a parent in the aftermath of absentmindedness, we completely understood.
“We were an hour into our drive to Idlewild when I realized I left the tickets at home. Major mom fail. Any chance there are etickets on file?”
They’re print only but show them the receipt in this email and let them know what happened. I can relate to this 100 percent because it’s something I’ve done countless times. I’ll give Idlewild a call in the meantime. Also, they can call me if you run into any issues trying to get in.
I’ll also try to find the numbers on your tickets, too.”
We called Idlewild and got a disappointing response at first—They need barcodes, not ticket numbers or receipts. The barcode is the ticket in. Very important. The Idlewild employee was patient in listening to me plead our case, and we tossed solutions at the problem, including having the family email the barcodes after they return home. We were left with “I’m not sure what we can do. I’ll talk to the front office, but we’re really busy.”
We left Autism Connection’s contact information in hopes for a quick call back. In the meantime, we reached out to the family rapidly approaching Idlewild.
“Idlewild said they need the barcodes, so they don’t think they can do anything on their end. I’m waiting for her to call me back. Sorry about the delay. She said the park is very busy right now. Hoping to hear back asap.
If you have them scanned on your phone, they can get the barcodes. If not, we’re hoping they make an exception today.”
We didn’t get a call back from Idlewild, but we did get an email.
So many different things to stress about…headphones, snacks, water…that it’s easy for things slip my mind. (Many things) added to my distractions…
…They did let us in, and the exit pass to help with the lines was also a lifesaver.
We had a great day and a successful family outing minus my mom fail.
Thank you for the discounted tickets and making a call. Certainly, give them a shout out for being so flexible and understanding.”
Happy ending, yes, but one aspect of the situation, a phrase, continues to gnaw on my thoughts.
“We had a great day and a successful family outing minus my mom fail.”
To the Parent from Autism Connection:
You didn’t fail. You had a human moment; a completely understandable human moment, and you had the presence of mind to reach out to people who truly want to help.
That is the most important thing.