Autism Watch: 2007

You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide

Posted on: September 28, 2010

From school issues, that is, to be specific.

We love the school system here — some odd rules (like their interpretation of the NCLB act, which causes some serious attendance issues) but the educations the kids are getting are above what they were getting in California. People don’t sweat the small stuff, and the classes are small enough, as is the total school population, to allow for personalized help and admin that gets to know each kid.

But…and you knew a but was coming…I don’t know of a child with autism who doesn’t face some type of school issue, so I guess our bliss had to end sometime. And last week, it did.

It began with BB sharing stories on his daily ride home about small occurrences at school that weren’t handled like he thought they should be. We tried to talk him through them all, and give him tips on handling them, including not making a big deal out of everything. Then came the big day. Awards day.

Let me preface a bit: I hate awards day. Awards in theory are nice, but I can’t think of a ceremony that actually went by without an issue in all BB’s years of school. See, every school BB’s ever gone to has a Student of the Month or some other award that is basically a popularity contest where the class votes, or the teacher chooses. Even in a small class, there aren’t enough months in the school year to ensure all children get it, so you have children left out every year. And then you have some, like my little autistic sweetheart, who has never once gotten it so years go by without him getting it. Nor does he get the ‘good citizen’ type of award. By virtue of his disability alone, he’s already off the list for consideration. You can’t get that award if you suffer space issues at your desk or talk too loud because you, well, just talk too loud, or because the noise gets to your ears so you have to cover them from time to time. He picks up on it, he knows it, he’s tracking it and now he’s truly bothered by it, so I dread when they go to hand out those awards and his face falls. Again.

This year, first awards ceremony of the year, and of course he doesn’t get perfect attendance. He doesn’t get the great kid or good citizen. Sigh. Then honor roll comes around, an award he’s gotten every single opportunity, and he’s very proud of it. I get my camera ready (after all, by this point, I was sitting there for an hour solely to see him get this) and his name wasn’t called. They end the ceremony, and I have a child quickly melting down. His fists are balled up, and he’s rubbing one eye so hard it’s red all over that side of his face. He’s shaking. He’s pissed. No other way to put it. And I was quickly following, but because I’m not autistic, I was able to control my upset and focus on calming him. I leave a very unhappy child and get to the car before I lose it when on the phone with the husband, who is equally pissed. Great, three pissed people and no resolution, so I march back in. Have a talk with the principal. Cry a little, get embarrassed but realize that at least he sees how very important this is to us. Leave with the knowledge he’s on top of the situation, he’s working with the nurse (where my son’s now lying down with a headache) and I head home to wait for the phonecall he promises…and it comes not too long after. It was relieving, but what we did learn is that his grade had dropped in one topic and no one told us. Wow, gotta love that great communication that should have taken place. Another situation where they really don’t get how important this is to him, and how extremely proud he is of this longstanding award.

He comes home later, with another upsetting but too long to write about story that happened. The husband stepped in this time, and as of this morning, I think we’ve gotten that resolved, but it’s going to take a lot of close watching by us to be sure that he really isn’t pulled away in a corner at a lone desk or disbelieved again, allowing someone to bully him only because the other person doesn’t have autism so she wouldn’t lie. Sigh. Again. I was ready to just homeschool that afternoon, but I know that for now, it’s still not a good idea.

Just another day, right? We’re off-track now for a few weeks, and he’s really enjoying the relaxing and sleeping in. Problem is, he won’t sleep until way late at night, and he’s up on/off throughout the night. He actually even asked to nap yesterday, after we took a field trip to celebrate my birthday, but he opted not to do it in the end. I need to get that straightened out or he’s going to have a tough time after he gets back to school!

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