xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' Yeah. Good Times.: Helpless: Autism, bullying & earthquakes

Monday, October 31, 2011

Helpless: Autism, bullying & earthquakes

So. Remember last week or so I wrote about how I knew there was something up involving Child 1 and school? And that he refused to talk to me about it? And how he said "I don't want to talk about it" whenever I asked? And that I just knew, because I am his mother, that something was going on?

I had been assuming that it was the massive amounts of work he had to do at school, and in talking to the staff that he spends his days with, they were all really surprised to hear that he was upset at home, because he was perfectly delightful at school. He did his work, he did a great job, he was a joy to be around (true story). Jaclyn, The Inclusion Coordinator, said she had a talk with him and he said he didn't like school, there was a lot of work, the days were too long, but it was still cool. Then she asked him how things were on the yard and he said "I don't want to talk about it."

When she told me that, in her office, my exact response was: "Shit."

So I talked to his teacher who said she was going to ask the kids; talk to some "key players," if there was something going on, she would get it out of them. That was Wednesday of last week. On Thursday he was sick and stayed home. Friday morning he was in hysterical tears when we were leaving for school. He didn't want to go, which wasn't unusual, but this day he said he didn't want to be too early because he didn't want to have to be on the yard before the bell rang.


So, we went late. I dropped him off and was determined to make somebody find out what the hell was going on. On the yard I saw his teacher who said "let me get these guys in class and then we can talk," so I followed them to the classroom. Outside her door, she starts saying "well.... all of the kids who were involved confessed...." and I said "WHAT? INVOLVED? CONFESSED???????? WHAT?????" and she looks shocked and says "Jaclyn didn't call you?" and I said "NO, JACLYN DIDN'T CALL ME." she says "Jaclyn was supposed to call you," and it obviously was not a good time for her to be having that conversion in the hallway, with her kids all over the place, so I turned and practically ran towards Jaclyn's office to find out. She called after me "It's not that bad; it's like it was last year." I'm not sure what she was thinking was "bad," because whatever happened last year is BAD, as far as I'm concerned.

I find Jaclyn, who needs to finish up a phone call before she can talk to me, so I wait in the hallway for her. And I start crying. WHAT HAPPENED TO MY BABY??? Whatever it was that happened was bad enough to make Child 1 cry about having to go back to school. SHIT. SHIT!!! SHIT!!!!!

Jaclyn comes out and seems surprised that I'm so upset. WTF, lady? Fucking tell me what happened. She says we're still trying to piece everything together but it was a lot like last year that they were asking him to repeat things, and something about making him kiss a girl's hand, and then she starts going on and on about ways we can help him be social on the yard and "are there any games in particular that he likes to play that we can have him do with the other kids?" and I'm like WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT. I gotta go....

I head back to the office (hey, you know what's super fun? Walking through the hallway of your kids' school crying. Seriously. You should try it. It's awesome) and I leave a note for the Principal to call me "Re: Recent events" and I go home.

At home I get a call from a mom at the school who I know and who has a kid in Child 1's class. She's apologizing profusely, saying that she never thought it would be HER kid who would be the bully, blah blah blah... I'm like.... "I DON'T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED OR WHO WAS INVOLVED OR WHAT THE FUCK ANYTHING." She doesn't want to tell me anything because she doesn't want to get anybody in trouble, but she tells me what her kid told her he did, which was pretty much the same thing that I'd heard already. I was impressed that she'd had the balls to call me and apologize.

The day goes on and I end up getting calls from three other moms. They're all saying the same thing, about how bad they feel, about how their kid is going to have some consequences, about how sorry they are. I'm not really sure what to do with any of that information. I don't even know what happened, exactly, but everybody has a different story and either they don't want to tell me or they don't actually know any more than what they're saying. Probably the school will take some kind of action, but I have no faith in anybody who works there (except our teacher, whom I adore) to actually find out the truth. So the only way I'm going to get any answers about what actually happened is to get the kids to explain it. I've emailed all the moms who contacted me, asking them "for help" and asking them to find out for me exactly what happened.

Okay, this has been a long winded, rambling account of the last few days; I hope it made sense to you. Here's the thing now, though: I don't really care how sorry these moms are or what kind of consequences their kids now have to suffer for whatever it was they did. My concern is only about Child 1: helping him get through this whateverthefuck it is, and also helping him be able to cope with these things when they happen again.... and they will.

It kind of feels like earthquakes, this little bullying thing. There have been a number of little earthquakes here lately, and whenever it happens, I don't think "that was scary," I think "OH MY GOD it's only going to be so much worse in the future." That's what this feels like to me. Maybe whatever happened this time wasn't totally earth shattering, but it's going to happen again, and it's only going to get worse when it does. These kids are going to get older and more savvy and more mean, and Child 1 is going to be in middle school or high school, and I'm not going to know all the moms of the kids involved, and they're not going to call me and help me figure out what happened, and he's not going to talk to me about it so... is there anything I can even do???? I hate this feeling of helplessness, I need to take action. I've called an IEP meeting to "discuss ways we can help him develop coping and self-defense skills," but I don't know what else to do. I'm just waiting for the next earthquake, which will happen without any warning, and all I can do is make sure my emergency supplies are well stocked? Assuming we live through it, that is, and there's no guarantee of that.