‘The Kids Aren’t Alright’
An autism story by ‘Heather’
My first-born child is autistic, but it took many years to learn this. I didn’t know he was different until he was four years old. Now, at the age of twelve, life is just so hard for him – not that it has ever been great for him. The other kids are so mean to him.
In February, he tried to kill himself. We now have a team of really helpful people, which is great. But school is still a big problem. He just got punished for hitting a kid who was hitting hurting someone. My son thought he was doing the right thing; he thought he was saving the kid who was getting hurt. It’s something he has wished so many times for himself when harm was being done to him.
The Vice Principal has given him two days of out-of-school suspension. I’m not saying my son was right in what he did – but he does not understand why he is being treated this way when the kid he hit did not get in trouble for hitting the person my son thought he was helping. Now, because of this, he cannot go on the school field trip to Gillett Stadium, and I can never afford to get him there myself. I am very upset with his school and the way they have taken care of this matter.
A Note from the Editor:
I am very sorry to hear about this. Unfortunately, this is an all-too-common occurrence. Children are forever being misunderstood by their schools, even in this day and age. My son was suspended just as yours has been, but when he was only five, and it was purely because of his anger outbursts as a result of what they now think is either autism or ADHD, combined with OCD / anxiety. I can’t tell you how hard I had to fight to get everyone involved to understand that our son is not a bad or naughty child, and that he doesn’t even know what he’s doing when he has those fits. We have been trying to get support for him for three years.
I also personally recall how hard it was for me in school due to my own diagnoses (which were not, in fact, diagnosed until adulthood, so I had no defensive ammunition against the way I was sometimes treated). All I can say is: thank you for sharing your story, because the only way anything will ever change is if we keep bringing these things to the public’s attention, and work toward educating people about the challenges our children face.
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