By Dr. Rachel R. Romeo: For Complete Post, Click Here…
It can be easy to write off these individuals as different and not interested, but that’s certainly not the case,’ she said. ‘Everyone has something to tell you. Everyone has a story.’
Rachel Romeo was about to begin the second leg of her long flight home after a conference in Helsinki, Finland, when a flight attendant approached her with a warning. She would be seated next to a 10-year-old boy with behavioral issues, they said, and as the flight was fully booked, there was no way they could move her to another seat. Little did they know, Romeo—a speech-language pathologist (SLP)—would end up changing the lives of the young boy and his father during the eight-hour journey. The story of their chance encounter also touched the hearts of many online after Romeo described the events of the long flight in a Twitter thread.
As soon as Romeo took her seat, the child’s father preemptively apologized on behalf of his son—who he said has autism—as he warned her that it was likely to be a difficult journey. “I just had such an affirming experience. On my 8 [hour international] flight back from a conference, I sat next to a father/son. In broken English, the father began to apologize/warn me that his ~10 yr-old son had severe nonverbal autism and that this would [likely] be a difficult journey,” she tweeted.
Romeo told the man not to worry as she was used to supporting children with various needs due to her line of work and took out a speech that she had planned to write on the flight. “Challenging behaviors began even before take-off: screaming, hitting me, and grabbing for my things. The father repeatedly apologized, but did little else,” she tweeted. “I asked him how his son preferred to communicate. He didn’t seem to understand. Perhaps this was a language barrier, but I think instead the child had very little experience with communication therapy. I put away the talk I was working on & asked if I could try. He nodded.”