We spent a lot of our summer testing & stressing for public school. They asked, so I thought well my boys are doing SOOOO WELL. They can do this. I mean millions of other children survive public school. Of course I feared it. I figured, what the hell. If it doesn’t work. I will pull them out. I wanted them to do more then just well. I wanted them to love it. I didn’t want to be right. I prayed like hell that I would be wrong. Yeh… that didn’t happen.
It started with bullying. I knew that would happen. If you have read my awful parenting advice, I have taught my kids to fight back and to take a stand. So when Gabe was getting picked on. His response was. “Mom, I think the boy has Aspergers too. He is different once he takes his meds. I think he just doesn’t know how to make friends.” Sooooo sweet right? I’m a special needs mom… it hit me, I can’t be angry at a kid who doesn’t get it. I mean Gabriel is down right terrible when he has a meltdown. Ok.. so I cool down. I did go to school. I did start crying. Not because someone hurt Gabe, but because I feared that Gabriel wasn’t going to be able to keep it together. He’s worked so hard with all his therapy to have a some 4th grader make him unravel. And you know what happened? Gabe did. By December I was seeing that side of Gabe I hadn’t seen in a long time. I mean yeh I’d see this behavior but it wasn’t daily.. maybe once a month and now we were dealing with this daily.He was spitting in my face, biting , punching , and kicking me , punching the dogs, tormenting his brother, head bunting us. Gabe’s no longer a toddler. He can not wale on the world like this. That is no place I want for my child. Of course Gabe eventually punched the boy or laughing at him. Gabe got in trouble, and when I asked the principle if he knew this was the same kids that picking. Of course he knew nothing of it, despite just weeks before I was in his office crying my eyes out about my concerns for Gabe.
I don’t blame the bullying…. It was just one example of assorted problems. We had issues with teacher assistants and how they spoke to Gabe that set him off at home. Now add in ALL the sensory issues like the loud cafeteria, buzzing lights, or expressions & indiums that he doesn’t understand and no one taking the time to explain them. His world soon became a rather confusing one. Then he found himself for getting in trouble for making connections that no one saw. Very Aspie thing to do. For example they would work on Volcanos and he wanted to talk about Pompae. Or they would talk about math and he wanted to talk about the function black holes. As a teacher, he is being disruptive, I kind of get it. But I don’t really. One would think, a teacher would think, “Dang I’m glad he made that connection.” So because he wasn’t making the organized line of connections that was planned out on the worksheet he found himself making a lot of mistakes. His answered weren’t wrong per-say.. but they weren’t the ones they wanted him to know. He would come home crying that he was stupid because he didn’t understand “this” or “that” or crazy, dumb, lazy, or retarded.
As for Zeke this was more upsetting. It’s odd. Zeke tends to be more classically “Autistic” but functionally he does better then Gabe. Gabe is the gregarious one were Zeke is the one that retreats. Well for Zeke it started with much upset because we were “changing.” After meeting his teacher he was excited. Zeke soon started having issues with muscle spasm. This is not new. We’ve been dealing with this at home for years. We’ve been testing him, but we have no idea the cause of it yet. Zeke was having spasms in gym, he didn’t participate and he got in trouble. He got in trouble for sitting on the grass, and he didn’t understand. He got in trouble for spinning, this is one he stems. On and on.. Zeke was getting trouble for basic Aspie stuff. To which they all knew. I had given them plenty of information on the boys. It was very upsetting. Well every morning was a little harder. Zeke started not eating at school then not at home. Then throwing up in the morning. At first I thought he was sick. But after a few days I realized. Holy Shit! It’s anxiety. Zeke stopped looking at us as often, he wasn’t talking to us but rather lots and lots of screaming. There was bullying. But like Gabe that isn’t the whole problem. Zeke is back to not eating in general so weight loss has been an concern.
As their mom, I wanted to go She-Haulk and turned the school inside out for upsetting and in my eyes hurting my boys. How dare they squash on any of their light? It’s not that they were upset, it was my boys were regressing. This is something I just can not allow to happen on my watch. Between raising their medication twice in 2months after years of not touching, IEPs meeting that I felt weren’t meeting their sensory needs, impatient teacher aides, and the bullying. I am just not patient enough to allow my children to a part of that system and that culture. Honestly, I just don’t agree with the system.
I tend to believe, that one of the greatest sin, is the sin of omission. Just because you are not doing the wrong thing, doesn’t mean you are doing the right thing either. If it was one child, I’d be a little more patient. The problems my boys had, had nothing to do with them or the fact that they have Aspergers. They weren’t singled out. If anything, they thought they were doing their best. I knew this in my gut 4yrs ago that public school wasn’t for my kids. Today I am convinced, that what my children felt and went through is only a symptom on a systematic problem. I am not sure if the break down comes from: the ideology that testing is the means of educations, or that the environment is not a calm as it could be, or that the teaches are out numbered. . But I do know… it’s not natural. Kids aren’t encourage to really explore their interests and a meaningful way. One because the sheer volume of students to teacher ratio. And two, to allow a child to question any subjection throughly, you have to let go of structure. You have to let their mind flow and question and let them find the answer as the arise. It takes longer but there is a wholesome understanding rather then facts-based so that you pass your next test.
Over Christmas Break. I pulled the boys out. The first week was rough, I had surgery and was in the hospital for 3 days. I am still on the mend. However, it’s been so calm. My boys are returning to my sweet boys again. Yes they are hyper little monkey-boys that they are. The fighting has waned. Every day Gabe is coping a little bit better and is a little bit more helpful. Zeke is eating more and looking at us more and more. How I missed THIS. I’ve missed my happy aspie children.
Today, I started putting together the boys binders. This is a child who has seen a lot therapy. Gabe looks at me and says as we organize his stuff. “Now mom, can you make me a visual chart so I can check off the work I do each day. I know I I have work to do every day. And I know you will want me to work on my own. But it’s confusing without charts to keep me on track”