Letter from the Editor: Is it time for us to show more tolerance?

Coping with conditions like autism and Asperger's can be difficult for children
Coping with conditions like autism and Asperger's can be difficult for children

The story which surfaced this week about the woman with Asperger’s who was thrown out of the cinema for laughing too much prompted a lot of debate.

And I have to admit that, on a personal level, it led to a lot of soul-searching.

My heart went out to the children who lost out on a special treat through no fault of their own

As a parent of a child with learning difficulties, I go out of my way to ensure no-one is affected by his occasional public outbursts.

If we’re in a restaurant, I’ll take him for a walk to quieten him down while more than once a trip to the shops as been aborted due to his behaviour.

And, if we were at the cinema, I’d have him whisked out the door long before any staff felt the need to eject us.

But am I wrong?

During a radio debate, there was a call for society in general to be more tolerant of people’s differences even in circumstances where it might affect their enjoyment of a movie, meal or other social event.

As chance would have it, that night I watched a documentary about a family with two children with Asperger’s. They were on their first trip abroad and had to leave a restaurant and settle for pizza in their hotel room when the youngsters’ utterings drew looks of disapproval from other tables.

My heart went out to the children who lost out on a special treat through no fault of their own.

And that got me started thinking how many times Calum has missed out because I’ve been worried about other people’s reactions.

Maybe it’s time I developed a thicker skin and let any looks or comments wash over me.