‘To be answered and understood is all he wants.’: Mom shares sweet story of employee willing to understand special needs son

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Communication has always been hard for Riley.

He is so social, but his speech holds him back a lot.

Lately, his favorite thing to do is to introduce himself to people when he meets them.

It normally goes along the lines of ‘My name is Riley, and I am 8 years old.’

People can find it quite hard to understand him, which can be quite frustrating for Riley, but each time he meets a new person, he tries again.

His speech is getting clearer every day, and he really is so determined to be understood.

Yesterday, we decided to go out for dinner and to the cinema, Riley’s favorite type of evening out!

He loves the cinema, and chips make everything better!

He chose Nando’s in Mahon Point Shopping Centre for food, and Sonic 2 was on the cards for the cinema!

I had a very excited little boy!

While we were walking to our table, Riley started his introductions to our waitress.

‘My name is Riley, I am 8 years old, and I am getting chips.’

He had the biggest smile on his face, one we love to see.

But it got even bigger when he heard, ‘Hi, Riley, my name is Rosie, and I am 18 years old.’

To which he replied, ‘Hello, Rosie.’

A boy with autism reading a menu at a restaurant
Courtesy of Nicole Duggan

To some people this is a tiny feat, something which we all take for granted: being answered, being acknowledged.

But to Riley it made his day, he decided there and then Rosie was his friend!

To be answered and understood is all he wants!

He ate his chips with a smile on his face.

Took everything around him.

And made sure to say, ‘Bye, Rosie,’ as we left.

Speech is something we all take for granted.

The conversation is something we all take part in without any thought.

But for a child like Riley, who has a severe speech disorder as well as autism, this is something that he struggles with daily.

This interaction was amazing to watch, and one which I, as his mom, am delighted I got to witness!

With understanding and acceptance, he can be whatever he wants to be.

With kindness from others, my little boy can do whatever he sets his mind to.

With the right people, he can do anything; the sky is his limit.

We just need to give him the time and patience that he deserves to understand him!

Thank you, Rosie.

Yesterday you gained a new friend and made this little guy the happiest boy in the world!

And the chips were pretty good too.”

A nonverbal autistic boy eating fries at a restaurant
Courtesy of Nicole Duggan

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Nicole Duggan of Cork, Ireland. Follow her on Facebook here and Instagram here. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more stories from Nicole:

‘Will I have friends soon, mom?’ Since December, my son has been isolated because he is Autistic.’: Mom speaks out about education for Autistic son, ‘He doesn’t deserve less’

‘If something happens, how will he tell me?’ He shouldn’t be ignored. It feels like I’ve failed him.’: Mom of nonverbal, autistic son says ‘it is our job to listen’

‘I really empathize with you for having a child with special needs.’ A line so innocent, but it cuts like a knife.’: Mom of son with autism urges ‘please do not pity us’

‘Riley is now 6 years old. He still does not speak. I always thought words were what mattered.’: Mom to son with autism says ‘I was lucky to be in his world, I just didn’t know it yet’

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