Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Hammer's Gonna' Fall....

It has been a VERY bad week for my 6th grader with autism. Three days out of school suspension, a not so great day his first day back and more emails and phone conversations with school staff than I care to recall (the ones I LIKE talking to know who they are, so don't be offended!) By this morning my last nerve was frayed, my patience had run dry and I was far beyond frustrated - I swore that if he had another bad day today, I was checking myself into the Rubber Ramada for an extended stay. (God bless the teacher's aide who quickly got my 5 yr old in meltdown mode out of the car and into school this morning. She saved my sanity and possibly his psyche...)

Those of you who know me know that I am a firm supporter of consequences for bad choices, whether those choices are made by one of my neurotypical kiddos or my ASD kiddos. There are consequences at home for poor choices made at school. My children don't get a pass because they have autism.

That being said, DON'T expect my support when you are an ignorant, uninformed blockhead. I've traveled the road of teachers and administrators who would rather label my child as 'emotionally disturbed' than put the effort into teaching my child who has an autism spectrum disorder, and I won't go there again. I am a stronger mother and advocate than I was 3 years ago. I WILL NOT allow educators who are too lazy or inept to follow IEP and BIP goals to run roughshod over him. And I most certainly WILL NOT allow my child's autism diagnosis to be disregarded by educators who have far less knowledge of ASD's and how to work with children on the spectrum than the clinicians, specialists and doctors who diagnosed him.

Ladies and gentleman, THE HAMMER'S GONNA FALL. There will be NO MORE "diagnosis" made by educators who spend maybe 5 hours a week with my son. Do you seriously believe that you are qualified to say that his behavioral issues are manipulative, and not a manifestation of ASD symptoms and characteristics?! NEWS FLASH - If you were qualified to make that kind of judgement call we'd call you doctor or specialist.

Tonight I'm going to give you a free lesson in vocabulary and ASD characteristics. You'll want to take notes, even memorize this information, because this is the last time I'm going to explain it to you. Believe me when I tell you without an ounce of hesitation that you DO NOT want to start a battle with me and YOU WILL do what is best for my child, implementing all of the IEP directives, BIP plans and proven behavioral strategies provided to you by staff that is trained and knowledgeable about working with ASD students.

Requirements for successful manipulation - According to Simon, successful psychological manipulation primarily involves:

1.manipulator concealing aggressive intentions and behaviors.

2.manipulator knowing the psychological vulnerabilities of the victim to determine what tactics are likely to be the most effective.

3.manipulator having a sufficient level of ruthlessness to have no qualms about causing harm to the victim if necessary.

Consequently the manipulation is likely to be covert

First, my child doesn't have the ability to recognize psychological vulnerabilities in a person. He can't even accurately read facial expressions and tone of voice many times! Yes, my child can be aggressive; his aggression is triggered by his inability to self regulate when overstimulated, his inability to rapid recall coping strategies and his inability to accurately put what he is feeling into words at times. I wish you could trade places with him for one day - maybe then you would understand how seeing the world in only rigid, black and white terms causes extreme anxiety. There are no shades of gray for him, there is right and wrong, there is no middle ground. He lives in a world of specifics, a world where comfort and peace come only when he can be sure of every tiny facet of the rule. The unexpected is frightening and overwhelming, it throws him into a state of anxiety and irritation. See how this differs from being manipulative?

My child has autism. He knows it, I know it, and now you know it, too. Given the proper support and guidance, my child is a wonderful addition to your classroom - and I am a wonderful partner in his education. Refuse to listen to the specialists and implement the strategies they recommend, and I will be your biggest nightmare. This mama bear doesn't back down anymore....


  1. Take it to the mattresses! IK you have my favorite attorney's number. ;) We need to find every parent of every child that has gotten run over by this district and take action as a group! We will be much more effective that way!! We'll talk soon!

  2. In all honesty, last year was an incredible year for him and this year has definitely had good points, too. I just become really, really frustrated when people believe he's "manipulative". Can he mince words when he's trying to stay out of trouble? Sure - all my kids do and I think every child does at some point. But he is not manipulating situations and teachers for personal gain. Trust me, the child knows he can't fool me and certain specialists - we call him on it immediately ;)

    He's no saint, by any means, but he's a great kid who has a lot of trouble navigating social interactions and just life sometimes. "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" is my new mantra.

  3. You go girl! That's one reason we pulled Adam out of Bburg schools - and he only has ADHD! Some of them just don't get it. You are an awesome mom and your kids only advocate. I am so impressed!!


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