Published: 00:01, 08 May 2014 |
A Dover mother is upset and angry after she claims her autistic son was discriminated against in a restaurant by another customer.
Sarah Jane Allen, of Maison Dieu Place, visited the Dovorian Restaurant, in Priory Place with her 10-year-old son, Cameron, who finds it difficult to adapt to new surroundings.
Miss Allen said: “He has certain ‘stims’ that help him to cope in stressful situations.
“In the restaurant he began his bouncing, and making his noises. We live with this every day but I am aware that some people may be annoyed by a loud child.
“I was just about to ask him if he would like to go outside for a while so his ‘stims’ did not upset the other customers.”
Miss Allen claims that another customer who was sitting at a nearby table then told the boy to “sit down and shut up”.
She said the customer also asked why the 10-year-old had to jump around, and why he couldn’t sit down like a “normal person”.
Miss Allen said: “I sat in disbelief as I calmly asked if he was speaking to my son, who at this point was terrified, close to tears and had a look of utter confusion on his face.
“When faced with a situation which he finds challenging he will often become violent, start shouting and cannot control his responses.
“He often doesn’t understand what behaviour is expected of him and we have to verbalise what is acceptable.”
“I have been left feeling angry, upset and taken aback that in the 21st century people can still be so narrow-minded and prejudiced" - Sarah Jane Allen
“My very distressed autistic child was by this point unable to cope any more, and knowing that we were heading for a total meltdown I suggested we leave and eat lunch elsewhere.
“I have been left feeling angry, upset and taken aback that in the 21st century people can still be so narrow-minded and prejudiced.”
Kerry Macari, who co-owns the restaurant with husband Silvio, said: “We have worked in this business for years, and we have never really had a situation like that before.
“The customer just thought that the boy was being naughty. He was just getting a little bit annoyed and he was eating his dinner. He did apologise straight away.”
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