From Fight to Flight; How I lost a school discrimination battle, and almost lost myself

I’m going to share with you the story of how I lost a battle I never thought someone like me could lose, and how it almost ruined me in the process. It’s hard to share because I’m still living the fall-out, and the experience has left me very fragile, but I’m hoping that sharing this will help me move past it.

Free use image

Free use image

I’d heard many stories from friends about schools discriminating against their disabled children, and the consequences for their child, including the disruptive (and expensive) experience of changing schools. I thought – through some magical, naïve thinking – that this wouldn’t happen to me. How could it, I thought: I have a law degree, so I know my rights and how to fight for them; I was on the board of my children’s school, so I had relationships and insights that was meant to make it easier to approach and deal with these matters, I was in a position that even gave me some input on how the school should deal with children who have special needs; I was a strong woman, a dedicated mother, a great communicator. How could I fail.

None of that made a damn bit of difference at the end of the day though. If a school – and more specifically, a principal – doesn’t want your kids at that school, you will find yourself in endless fights, and eventually facing that final decision: keep fighting – with all the hardships and exhaustion that brings – or leave to find another school – with all the exhaustion and hardship that brings too. Either way, you lose, your children suffer, and you might come out of the experience a shadow of who you were when it all began.

It all began when my sons’ school got a new principal at the end of last year. Never doubt the power and influence that a single person can have on an entire school culture; understanding this point was what would help me eventually choose a better replacement school for my boys, but we’ll get to that part of the tale in another post.

The school’s new principal decided she’d take-over the over-sight for special needs provision in the school. This didn’t worry me at all to begin with; she spoke the language of meaningful inclusion, I thought this could be what the school needed to become excellent and iconic in its treatment of their special students – integrating them as true equals within the school in every way. But instead of becoming a gate-way to better communication and better use of special education resources within the school, she became a barrier; it was like someone had slammed the door in my face and no matter what I did, no matter how hard I struggled to re-open the gate, it was locked tight. I went from feeling wanted and appreciated within the school for the insights I could provide for helping families like mine and our special kids, to feeling like I was distinctly unwanted, a nuisance, a pestering precense they wanted to make go away.

At first I thought maybe that was just me; maybe they didn’t really feel that way towards me at all, maybe I was misreading the situation. But matters went from bad to worse in a very short amount of time. I watched my older son’s supports lessen, and information on those supports and why they were lessening was kept from me – like some sort of secret I no longer had any right to access. When I’d ask for a meeting to discuss his supports, I’d get no reply. When I followed up another week later politely seeking a response to my original email, I was rudely and aggressively told off for doing so; even though I was asking about my older son’s supports, I was told that my younger son had heaps of resources spent on him and that the staff was spending a lot of time having to deal with me. Me. Me who couldn’t get any answers or help; me who was asking about the older son but was being attacked about my younger one as if that was a relevant response. Me, who spent hours every week for the past two years contributing my own free time (what little of it there ever is) to helping run the school as a board member. I was now categorised as a nuisance.

At one stage I’d brought up the idea of whether my older son might be suited to a different classroom because communication and supports were not going well in his current classroom, and that possibility was abruptly shot down too – I was told he was in the right room for him. My views as his mother, seemed worth nothing. I felt like I was being treated as an outsider daring to make enquiries about someone I had no relationship with, rather than as a mother seeking information about her own son.

Still, things got so much worse.

Finally a meeting was set up to discuss what was going on with my youngest son, who was a new entrant at the school. He was only being allowed to stay at school for 2.5 hours each day. He was not enjoying school, he constantly tried to escape a classroom he expressly found boring. He’d get distressed when it was time to go to school, and when he’d get home after his half-days at school he would cling to me like never before. He’d become quite anxious, unhappy, and insecure. School – or rather, this school – was making him upset, and teaching him nothing (except to hate school). In fact, he hated it so much he once ran all the way home during school time, at a time when he was explicitly meant to be watched by a teacher aide. He crossed a busy road (pure luck he wasn’t hit by a truck) to get home to me. The school’s response? To perhaps make the classroom more enjoyable or engaging for him, or to close the doors of the classroom so he’d stop running out of class, or to discuss options with me and seek my insight or help? Nope. Their response – specifically the principal’s response – was to openly say in front of others at this meeting that my son was not going to be allowed to stay at school unless he had an aide with him at all times, and that the very maximum aide hours they would be able to get was three hours a day. The intial plan to extend his hours at school after the first three weeks, was completely abandoned, without asking my views on how to make such an extension work.

I was truly devastated; I had longed for the day that my youngest son would attend school full time – as he is legally entitled (and even required) to do. I wanted to be able to go get a job for myself so our family could get an adequate income instead of all four of us relying on the one income as we have now for years. More importantly though, I wanted my youngest son to have the chance to grow in his independence, to have a school teach him what he needs to know, to have him learn. I wanted so many simple things other families are allowed to take for granted, and it was all taken away from me at that meeting.

I was told too that my youngest son had to learn to be “part of the pack,” that he had to learn that “teacher was boss.” My request for an individualised approach for him was shot down without discussion since they said it would make him think he was allowed to do things differently than other kids and he had to learn to be one of them. I wish I was exaggerating, I wish this wasn’t as bad as it really was, but I have all of this recorded in verbatim meeting minutes and in emails – all there in black and white. In fact, it was so offensive in its black and white written version, that a Ministry of Education person carefully re-wrote the meeting report to remove the hurtful (and even illegal) remarks and requirements. I have both versions of the meeting records, and the difference between the real and the sanitised versions is stark.

I was also told at this meeting, again in front of the others attending, that other parents didn’t want their kids in my youngest son’s class. My son, my gentle, fun-loving, never hurt-a-fly son – a bright young boy with suspected mild autism, and so a bit different and a little challenging, but hardly a problem-child. Why the principal felt it was necessary to share this news about other parents not liking him, in front of me and the others present, remains a cruel mystery to me to this day. It had absolutely nothing to do with the purpose of the meeting, we were all there to discuss how best to help my son, not to talk about what other parents – with no relationship or connection to his well-being – thought about him.

I was so angry by this point – so outraged at their attitude towards my kids and me – that I was in tears. The people at the meeting mistook my tears for sadness, they tried to comfort me – they claimed to be worried about my stress levels, but all my stress at this time was not caused by my lovely kids, it was all caused by having to deal with these short-sighted, barrier-creating, anti-diversity, adults, whose job was meant to be looking after and teaching my children.

In that final week of my children being at this school, I was spending every day in tears. I had frequent occasions when my heart would suddenly speed up and seem to skip a few beats, to the effect that at times I almost fainted. I was experiencing panic attacks each day, and during the night too. I lost hours of sleep every night. My IBS gut symptoms had almost disappeared in the months prior after two years of interventions, but all of that progress was lost as my symptoms came rushing back with a vengeance during this time of extreme stress.

I felt powerless, frustrated, distressed. I was the unwanted mother, with the unwanted children that a school was trying to push out, and they were going to win, because what option did I really have anymore? I was desperately worried about my children’s well-being at a school where last year my eldest had an incident when he was not supervised when he was meant to be and ended up getting seven stitches to his head, and this year the younger son had run across a road during the school day when he was supposedly supervised too. I felt the school was not looking after my kids adequately, wasn’t teaching either of them well, and was blaming my children for the school’s failures to care for and teach them both. I’d tried to help the school to understand how to best care for my children, but in not listening to me or valuing my experience and insights, they’d created situations where things were increasingly going wrong and they continued to not look at their own systems and how they could and should have been improved to everyone’s benefit.

Things were spiralling away from my ability to fix them, and each day my children continued to attend that school felt like a lost day of learning, and a potential danger to them.

I had a choice. Fight, or flight. Fight the system, fight the people, fight to keep my children somewhere they weren’t even wanted even though they had every right to be there. Or find them a new school, take a chance that there might be somewhere they will actually be wanted, be taught, be safe. What happened next – the search for a new school, and how we would make that eventual and incredibly important decision – is the subject of another post.

What I learnt this year, through those horrible weeks, was this: No one is immune to facing this sort of discrimination against their kids – no matter your education, or how much time you volunteer to help out, how much you learn or share or care or sacrifice, no matter who you are or what your standing in a school or a community, you can end up in this situation. A situation that is tolerated far too often, as if it’s just the way things are and will always be. It shouldn’t be and doesn’t have to be this way, the hardship created by this should matter to everyone who cares about children, education, and having a society worth living in. The way things are now is in no one’s best interests, this needs to change.

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45 Responses to From Fight to Flight; How I lost a school discrimination battle, and almost lost myself

  1. Lots and lots of love to you and your boys!

    I was also fooled into assuming such things would never happen to me. Watching my mom fight school after school after school after school for my brothers and their rights should have encouraged me to prepare, but instead I just assumed it was all my mom’s fault. After all, she wanted too much. She was insistent and consistent, seemingly inflexible when it came to how my brothers should be treated. My mom was also autistic, so she often clashed socially.

    I figured it would be easy for me and my sons because I’m sweet and quiet and willing to help out at the schools and become friends with teachers and other parents.

    I figured wrong. And I’m so sad to admit that it took me waaaaayyyyy longer than you to learn it.

    I gave into the schools and let my sons lose, in order to prove that my mom was at fault. In order to prove that it was easier for me. It hurts me to remember….

    You are brave and beautiful and strong and so loving. Your family is lucky to have you, and so is the autism community. Thank-you so much for sharing this with us. I needed to hear it right now as I step back and try to help my seventeen year old son find his place amid a system that has no room for his uniqueness.

    Huge hugs to you!!!!
    ~Tsara

    • Oh Tsara, your comment brought tears to my eye. It’s so sad that so many of us go through the same journeys, but it does help to know we’re not alone – that it’s not “just us” caught up in these hurtful experiences. Thank you, as ever, for sharing your own story, your comments are always insightful and appreciated. xxx

  2. aotearoaange says:

    So sorry you had to go through this. It seems such a familiar tale for so many of our families. Look after yourself. Hugs

  3. vontoast says:

    So sorry to hear that you have had a bad experience in the school system. I hope that writing and sharing this post with us has given you some form of closure in thinking about the hideous treatment that you and your family received. And yes one person can make a difference. Usually for the better. Your voice is being heard. I look forward to hearing about the new school. Hope it is an improvement.

    • Thanks vontoast. I can tell you that the new school has proved just how much in error the old school was about my children, I do look forward to sharing that story soon as a more positive ending to what we’ve been through this year. Thank you for your encouragement and support.

  4. Your experience is so familiar to me. I have been a special education teacher for the past 15 years. When one of my own children needed some supports, she didn’t qualify! I had an advocate with me, and sat across the table from people with whom I still work closely. My oldest child is now 27, and the youngest is 6. I knew that public school work would be frustrating, but I felt called to be part of the solution…it needs to change from the inside out….I have spent my career advocating for inclusive classrooms as well as a change in mindset about children who live with disabilities. I have found MANY compassionate teachers, but also many who still embrace exclusion and prejudice. It can be exhausting living life as an advocate, but as you know, the kids are worth it all!💛 Show them how it’s done….loving the diversity!

    • I love that there are people like you advocating and looking out for our families from the inside, thank you so much for being part of the solution. Wishing you all the best with your own family too 🙂

  5. I understand the stress and anger and panic you described. I went through that last year, different circumstances but similar end – a new school where my son would feel safe, welcomed, valued, and where I wouldn’t have to fight so hard. Part of my stress during that time was that I knew the flight response was only going to make it harder for kids behind mine to get what they needed. I know the law, I know I am “supposed” to fight for him, for all of them. But it was killing me and the stress became unbearable. I hope your new school works for your children, I understand what a tough decision it was. They all deserve better.

    • You’re exactly on the mark there stayquirky – I felt those exact same tensions about fighting on to create change for other families, I even felt like I was letting other families down by moving my children to another school and stepping down from the school board (which is part of the rest of the story). But as you say, the stress was unbearable, I simply couldn’t deal with that anymore, day after day, with no end in sight. At some point you need to look after yourself and your own kids as your top priority, even though it create regrets and doubt. None of this is easy. Thank you for commenting and sharing your understanding.

  6. Kim Lavoie says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this. I hope you are settled into a much better place. I remember when we had to transition schools and at first I was quite mad about it, but four years later I now see it as the best move we ever made to give up on the fight and focus on the transition. The circumstances were not as drastic as you describe, so I can only sympathize, but I wanted you to know that sometimes these changes can work out to be for the best of everyone.

  7. Mel says:

    Sorry to hear your lovely bids have had to go through that. I never got the pleasure to teacher aide your younger child but was lucky to be one for your older child. I think of you all often and remember you all fondly. Would love to catch up with you again soon.

    • Me too Mel! I’m so sorry for my slow response to your (and others’) comments here, it has been such a busy time for us and I’ve been distracted and all too tired. I hope we can catch up again soon too, and always wishing your own lovely family all the best as well xxx

  8. fnvandok says:

    Oh oh oh. I feel your pain and I feel your anger. How often will we have to endure this ‘There, there, she’s just his mother’ pat on the head by people who ought to know better? And it’s Always the mother who has to deal with this sh*t. I wish you strength. Thank you for sharing your story so eloquently.

  9. l8in says:

    Reblogged this on L8in.

  10. Having been through something very similar at primary, where I was at the time very lucky to find another school, I can totally empathise with your situation. Unfortunately now that my child is at secondary level we are having the same thing over again. The state of special educational needs provision in this country is an absolute disgrace. Hope you soon recover and that your son’s have now found a school that is addressing their needs.

  11. Kim Rust says:

    Your story touched my heart – I could see myself having the same assumptions – I am sweet, approachable, a counselor, I speak “the language” of these things, and am willing to help and volunteer. We are in an amazing preschool right now, but I fear what kindergarten will bring in 18 months for our son. I can’t believe the way you were spoken to. I really hope you can find an amazing new school for your boys – they need to be safe and thrive! Sometimes I am tempted to open my own, like the parents on Parenthood. Who knows what the future will bring. I wish you the best of luck, and you have all of my sympathy.

  12. Annette Edmondson says:

    Yes yes and yes. Oh yes. Hell yes. And a bit more yes. 3 years of this sh*t – I tolerated and it nearly broke me. Some comments I’ve had over the last 4 years:

    He ‘didn’t need any support at school at all – he was ‘fine’, he can’t possibly be autistic or dyslexic. No we don’t see any of that behaviour at school. It must be your parenting. Try parenting classes. No we can’t do that recommendation by an Ed Psych, as we don’t have the time or the staff. I know when he’s struggling, and he’s not. He’s just one of 30 we can’t spend all our time on him.. He knows that already because I told him. He is no different to any other child. All children do that.
    etc etc etc.

    This child now is diagnosed with PDA, (an ASD) Tourettes, Sensory Processing Disorder, Dyslexia and scored 97th percentile for ADHD. The only thing that has saved us has been a change of Head and Senco at the school. Things are very slowly improving.

  13. vidya says:

    I seriously feel you should have mentioned the school name and area where it is located also why did you not take any serious legal action against the school ?? I still feel u should file a legal case against the school. And do not lose hope I’m sure being a lawyer u will be able to show the school your stand. Instead of changing schools ideal choice would be to opt for private tutions for ur kids … Mainly so that they can stay focused without any stress and most importantly .. U shud file a case and win it such that your kids are called back by the school and given the attention they so much do deserve … U never know wat the new school would hold for them and believe me this stressful aspect of life is not worth their stress at all.. I’m sure your sons are beautiful kids and definitely deserve the best …

    • No, I should not have mentioned the school name. I write anonymously to protect both my sons’ identities, they deserve that privacy, your suggestion would completely undercut it. Also, I am not a lawyer. I have a law degree, that does not make me a lawyer. As to what my educational options are with my children, I assure you I considered many and did not make my decision lightly – of course I considered homeschooling them, but I will tell you that “private tuition” was not an appropriate or relevant response to the situation – the issue is not their ability to learn, it was the environment in which they were meant to be taught, private tuition doesn’t fix that if they are simply left in such an environment. As to bringing a legal case against them, did you miss the part about me almost being destroyed? You think I had the energy, the time, the-anything to cope with bringing legal action against the school in the state I was in? I may bring legal action in the future, but right now I have to look after my kids (and my own well-being), bringing legal action is a lengthy process that would not have fixed anything as quickly and directly as I could myself by acting as a mother. What I did about my legal options, and what has happened since, is for another post.

  14. Autism Mom says:

    I am sorry that you had to experience this. You are so correct that the principal as the leader sets the tone, and the nightmare you describe frequently comes with appallingly terrible leaders like the one you describe. I am glad that you found the strength to make the decision you did.

  15. Melulater says:

    That’s a horrific experience. As a teacher it gives me pause to reflect on my own experiences with special needs children and their families.
    But I agree with you that a change in principal can have a huge effect on the culture of a school. Sometimes it has a fabulous effect. Other times it can be devastating. I have experienced a principal who has alienated staff and parents. The sad thing about this particular school was that parents had no choices about where else they could send their children, and now their children are unhappy within the school and the principal has stymied opportunities for these students. She even drove a five year old out of the school because she didn’t want to deal with his particular set of behaviors constructively or cooperatively.
    You have made the best decisions for your children. Thank you for sharing your story so we can learn from it.

  16. jbolsover says:

    I am on a learning journey with a child in my class who has Aspergers Syndrome. I am charting his progress on Special Educational Needs NZ. I’m doing this with his Mum’s permission so that we can chart his progress and changes, but also to give practical tips and suggestions for how we can be an inclusive classroom/school. I’m so sorry that you had to experience this, I genuinely think that this is indicative of a lack of knowledge and understanding. It would be interesting to know what the other school has done differently. – Jayne

    • Thanks Jayne. I look forward to sharing that second part of the story, unfortunately it’s not a small story and it’s still evolving, so it maybe a little while before I’m ready to share what happened next, I’ll get there though! 🙂

  17. Sheree says:

    where do i begin, firstly a huge hug, smile and curtsy to all thee strong mamas and anyone advocating for children with special needs. To you mama for sharing a very strong, powerful and deeply personal piece of your life. i felt so many emotions in one being recaptured, as every word you spoke of was ringing the horrible bells of once was past only a few years ago. 2012 was my crippling year, and so many truths, but this principal was not new and still remains. What i find upsetting is we are meant to be living in a time where we respect human rights, and the rights of special needs and disabilities, i was only beginning my new journey as an mature adult student and i am yet to turn 33 doing my B.A and majoring in education. It made t hard because on the one hand i believe in the health and well-being of my children and many others and of course their education. Its a sicking feeling every time i read some wonderful mamas passion, dedication, unconditional love and fighting for the very rights of their children to be crushed because of a fecal minded few who tend to hold the power inn their hands and dont give a second thought to the crushing and demoralizing lifelong consequences that have set. I finish my Post-Grad next year, at them moment my papers i have selected have particularly in relation to special needs, curriculum and policy and social diversity. I want to be in a position to fight for our children’s rights, and found being a mama of 5 one son with ADHD and ASD and and another son with ADHD they are my core strength, as i to have found being a parent and being a part of the school system in other ways means nothing, but being a part of it within the system itself i am going to at some point push my very own position of power for the right and just reason. thr school my kids attend is wonderful and fortunate to have them and are advocates for all children, they to see my value and are helping and assisting me in my studies to help so many overcome the injustices to what is meant to be a truly inclusive school culture. Hats off to you strong mamas out there.

  18. Kalika says:

    I have experienced so much of what you wrote you could of actually been writing about the struggles, discrimination and experiences I had in 2013 and 2014 which lead to my son being off school for 6 months last year and eventually being excluded through no fault of his. In the end I got legal advise and I vowed I would fight to the bitter end. My son is now at another school where he is happy, accepted and understood and I can not speak highly enough of the staff who are wonderful and support me fully. I have not given up my fight to make staff at his old school accountable for how they treated my son and if I can stop this happening to just one other child I have achieved a win.

  19. Sue Kingham says:

    I totally relate to what you are saying. This is not a one off occurrence. It happens in numerous schools.

  20. Sema Cemal says:

    I can absolutely relate to your story and admire you so much for fighting the way you did and acknowledging the insurmountable problems trying to change a toxic culture within schools. I’ve had similar problems but after 7 years fighting the system and at considerable expense (financially and emotionally – emotionally I’ve still not recovered!!!) my son is in a good school but I’m going grey and feel so drained. Like you, I felt I needed to write about my battle with educators and it really helped me to move forward (I wrote about my story and have been blogging since on semacemal.wordpress.com thanks to a wonderful friend who encouraged me to do this). I hope it gives you relief and some closure on what is such an awful ordeal if you’re trying to get your child/childrens’ needs met. Thank you for sharing your story x

  21. Kiri says:

    Thank you for sharing this. It is a situation that seems to occur with more than half the familes with children on the spectrum that I know of. I have been thinking about what needs to change and how those changes can be implemented.

    I think there needs to be more awareness, amoung both the public and the education sector in NZ, of how people with ASD can succeed. I have the impression that government bureaucrats and school officials have simply written off children with ASD as hopeless cases that ought to be “managed,” i.e. and kept out of the way of mainstream students. We need to hear more about the success stories — cases where children with challenges have been happily integrated into the school system.

    This will mean giving schools the resources they need to help their students. I’m not just talking about teacher’s aides, but Behaviour Analysts, Speech Therapists, Ocupational Therapists, etc. These people need to be on site at least part-time in order to provide meaningful consultation. Part of the problem is that schools do not have access to the expertise that can help them to offer the best response to the myraid of issues that ASD children present with.

    • Sheree says:

      I completely agree Kiri 100%, this too would alleviate much stress and time on teachers as they would have to take charge and help assist in proving and implementing necessary structures onsite and effect immediately rather than having to wait went timing etc. is right

  22. wife of jack says:

    It should not be so hard… it really should not. Shocking how a change in leadership can undo so much goodwill and hardwork. I wonder what the teachers who had worked with your oldest son previously to include and help him thought of all this carry on with your younger son and the blackout of communication. What a waste of so many hours building trust and expertise. Teachers don’t like their work to be undermined, the Principal has done just that. Your older son was a work in progress, some of his teachers might have liked to continue the journey with him to bigger things. By being so difficult with your youngest son, both of them are thrown under the bus. Do you think it was because your youngest had a more vague diagsosis, nothing concrete so why should they bother? I wonder how many other children and parents are suffering under this leadership?

    OR…. is ONE family only entitled to ONE special needs child in this system? You are being greedy for asking for extra recources you are not entitled too. Surely it must be your parenting, no body can possibly be that unlucky to have two tricky kids. One school cannot possibly cope with such a recource gobbling family. Cynical I guess but you are entirely forgiven if you have become so.

    Stay strong, cry if you need to. Cry as much as you like. You have done the only thing you really could do, and your sons will get a good education, I am sure of it.

  23. KeAnne says:

    Oh, this is all-too familiar to the experience we had at the private pre-k my son attended last year. And I agree completely how one person dictates the culture, and it was our principal too. We fought for him to return for kindergarten and won, but we ultimately decided it wasn’t worth it for him to be in an unsupportive school that clearly didn’t want him there. I am so sorry you and your family had to go through this.

  24. Pingback: What happens to marginalised kids on the spectrum? | Teaching the Teacher

  25. C's Best Friend says:

    Thank you so much for writing about your experience. Whilst reading it I couldn’t help but feel “This is our story”. The discrimination is so hard to deal with and we too lost a lengthy battle to get support for our 6 yr old (Scotland) so we removed him to Home Educate in May 2014. Even the Independent Adjudication was controlled by our Education authority, not the way its meant to work but there are so many things that are underhand and are difficult to prove. They made us feel like trouble makers and I will never forgive them. Home Education is not something we ever considered doing but hes happy, we however try hard to move on but the pain is still there. We’re trying to raise our experience through as many channels as we can to create change but my biggest worry is his future in this world that is blighted with ignorance. Mostly I pick myself up and carry on but its hard to relate to even family and friends that don’t really understand the hurt its caused. Glad I found your blog and I’m looking forward to reading more xx

  26. Jan says:

    Thank you for sharing about the way your sons were treated in the school system. I read Oughtisms because I am on the high end of the spectrum as an adult. Letters like yours make me wish that there was something I could do as an adult with aspergers, in helping other children similar to myself. I am facing very silent discrimination as an adult in a very small rural community. I was not born in this area; I moved here, and wished that I had not.

    My grandmother had always warned me to “keep the diagnosis to myself” after she told me when I was twenty. My grandmother was an english teacher and one of the early pioneers who worked with children like me in Texas. It is thanks to her that I can write fairly well. Ignorance here is very rampant. It is unfortunate that I confided in someone I believed to be a friend, about my aspergers diagnosis. Word spread and now gossip is rampant here. In a small store, I was approached by a stranger. This person, best as I can tell, was scoping me out or testing me to see if I was dangerous? It took me a while to think this odd thing over. And then I saw this same man’s picture in our local paper. His grandson is autistic. He was comparing me to his grandson, likely hearing about me as an adult, as though all of us are absolutely the same. This hurt me very badly because I have worked very hard to earn two degrees and many certifications. I have two grandchildren. I’ve been made to feel “less than” ever since word spread. Everyone has their own ideas about autism and aspergers. The paper I once wrote for as a columnist printed a letter about how rude people with auspergers are, mentioning how one boy with aspergers threw himself on the floor in a tantrum. But I am 54. I am almost afraid of these people and their ignorance and how they “checked on me” in some strange way I have no name for.

    I thought the world was more accepting than it was. I truly wish I had gone on the net sooner to find out how others like me were fairing in communities and school systems (and for me) the work place, before I had confided in any one.

    If any of you get any ideas ever about how I could help your children by talking to someone in a higher position, I am willing to do this.

  27. Donna Ann says:

    I cried after reading all of this, as this was my life, until I had no choice but to remove my boys from school, for all of our well beings.I found the last school both went to were trying to put my oldest son in a residential school, because they (like all the other schools) thought he was badly behaved and didn’t have his diagnoses that he has. I also can’t revel too much as my husband makes a living from schools. But the things we were told my son was doing, was beyond belief, it was like a movie. I pulled him out and he is still out, but he has no friends and is socially isolated. I blame myself as he should be in school, but he was isolated at school and treated like a wild animal, so it was horrible for him, he knew what was happening and would ask me why no one likes me. I would cry myself to sleep with such pain in my heart. My second son is starting over at another school as I don’t want him to feel so isolated and lonely as my older boy. But he hates it, he is suffering anxiety, from bully attacks on him from two different schools. I tear myself apart, I feel I don’t know what is the right thing to do any more, for my boys. I feel so fragile some days, as I love them so much and I want them to be able to live their lives like other boys do, but know they can’t. The mums and dads that can just send kids to school at 9am go to work or what ever and pick them up again at 3pm and have no dramas are so lucky. I would love that. I got sick of people saying to me, “all children have the right to an education” and I would reply yes I knew that, (but like the lady said) if a principle didn’t want your child, they could get rid of them and make your life a misery.

  28. S. Neal says:

    Thank you! I swear this is so similar to everything that I have been going through! I may not be crazy after all! I know the “professionals” at my son’s school hate me. It is frustrating to decide if I should just give up. I am trying to make that very decision right now.

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