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Reactions to child’s tantrum anger, inspires family at Olive Garden in Eau Claire

Eau Claire (WQOW)- A kid has a tantrum in public – we’ve all been there.

If you’re not the parent or guardian trying to soothe your child, you’ve seen and heard the kicking and screaming.

Kids with disabilities, or on the autism spectrum, can be more prone to epic tantrums, especially in new situations, or when they’re just overwhelmed by what’s going on around them.

That’s exactly what happened to a family in Eau Claire’s Olive Garden over the weekend, to the point where one patron even told them they should leave.

“Libby is our only child. My husband and I adopted her when she was seven-months-old. She is the light of our life,” Megan Redfield said.

Libby Redfield looks like a typical six-year-old, but has more challenges than most kids her age.

“She was born blind and also has some other issues that have caused her to have a lot of sensory struggles in her life,” Redfield said.

Libby’s mom Megan said her daughter can be easily confused by sounds of what’s going on around her.

She also suspects Libby may be on the autism spectrum.

“When she was a toddler and she didn’t have the skills to really express her frustration or her confusion, most of that came out in just screaming,” Redfield said.

These tantrums are why the Redfields don’t eat out very much, in fact only three-to-four times a year.

“It’s important for her to learn how to deal with real-life situations and kind of learn how to cope,” Redfield said.

One of those rare occasions was Friday, when they decided to stop by Olive Garden in Eau Claire on their way to visit family.

Megan said 45 minutes into their meal Libby started to really get frustrated.

“The couple seated next to us hadn’t been there probably more than 5-to-10 minutes and Libby had really escalated by that point so she was quite loud, quite dramatic and they just couldn’t take it and were frustrated, and the gentleman kind of busted out that we should leave,” Redfield said.

Megan said, upset, she defended Libby, and explained her situation to the man who lashed out.

Thankfully she had support from Olive Garden staff, and other patrons, including a special ed teacher who was within ear shot.

“People were lining up to give hugs and express support,” Redfield said.

Megan posted the story on Facebook, to inspire others with similar struggles.

“This really is a beautiful situation now in my memory, and it’s good it has reached so many other people who needed to hear that who also have kids who struggle in public,” Redfield said. “I’ve had so many messages and it’s turned into a beautiful thing rather than a sad encounter.”


Shannon Satterlee

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