Autism Watch: 2007

Zoo Sunglasses? Hit. Zoo Field Trip? Not so much.

Posted on: March 10, 2010

Today BB went back to school..for the day..to attend a field trip. To the zoo. Lots of kids on a crowded bus on L.A. freeways. Yeah, I know, I’d have second thoughts, too. I didn’t chaperone — being in neverending escrow changes your availability and I stayed home. Working. Fun stuff.

I dropped him off at school and approached…<deep breath>…the mom who won’t let her son play with BB very often. The mom who supposedly said  BB is “trouble,” and who isn’t happy with his behaviors. I’m leaving in two weeks, why not, right? You’re right, why not. I explained about BB, talked about how much he loves her son, how important their friendship is, and why I wanted her to realize that he wasn’t a brat. He’s my son, and he has autism.

Ten minutes later, I’ve learned that while she already knows he has autism (thank you, big mouth neighbor who needs gossip fodder..karma will bite you someday), she basically defended her son and didn’t affirm to me that she’d teach her son anything. “Oh, I know autism, my step-brother’s child has it and is the same as BB.” Are you more flexible with your step-nephew?

I left school glad that I’d faced the lady, but sad that it didn’t really change anything. Then I came home to go to work, and lost the whole day with escrow issues, work meetings, and stuff with the rest of the family.

He came home..after a call that he was back early and could be picked up..and he wasn’t happy. “The field trip sucked, Mom.” Sigh. He couldn’t see animals due to kids in the way. He was punched and picked on. Verifiable? No, because I’m sure if he was punched and someone saw it, they’d have stopped it..but in his mind, the day sucked. I’m sad. A zoo trip, for a child, should never suck.

And the zoo sunglasses? They okay’d us sending money if the kids wanted to buy something in the gift shop. I know from firsthand experience, it’s a nightmare coordinating that for the teachers/aides/chaperones, but why not, we gave him $11. Why $11? Not $10? For $11, he could purchase a $9.99 item and have money for tax. I told him before he left for school, “the most expensive thing you can get is $9.99.” So he did, $9.99 sunglasses. And they rock. He looks like the doll that he is…a cool doll, but a doll nonetheless.

He’d wanted to go back to school his last week here. Now? I don’t think so. I’m sad for him, but to see him so happy here at home, I’m okay with that. I watched the new show, “Parenthood” on NBC, and was encouraged to see them portray a verbal child with autism so accuratelyl. I cried. My husband cried. And I cried again. Thank God for a DVR, we could pause while drying our eyes. Thank you, NBC and the producers/directors of “Parenthood” for being oh so realistic. It hits home…and we will watch week after week after week.

Autism sucks. Our children, they don’t suck. Find their gifts and play with them, get involved in their world. Oh how I wish every doctor and professional advised us parents of that.

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