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Friday, September 11, 2009

      Instinctively Cole knew right away that he didn't really like his 2nd block teacher. She put on a big smile for me when we first met and seemed nice enough -not exactly my cup of tea, but I don't expect every teacher to be. The first week he came home every day saying, "I don't know if this is going to work Mom. She's the type that gets on you for every little thing and she doesn't give you any chances." Well, I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt.  I told him that he isn't going to like every teacher.  Next year in middle school he will have six and inevitably, he won't like at least one of them. We are just going to have to work it out.  
     He goes into class one morning and tells some kid, "You should take a stupid shower!" In his mind, it was a joke -something he'd heard on a cartoon. The problem is, he's not really good at jokes.  He has Aspergers, a mild form of high-functioning autism and one of the traits are a flat affect. His facial expression doesn't change much.  He wasn't smiling when he said the "joke" so it didn't come across as such.  Now the kid who he was joking with, is an old friend.  They go way back to preschool, and this kid is a joker! He's so funny in fact that I think he'll be the next Jim Carry.  In this teachers mind -Cole was being mean.  "You should have seen the look on his face. He did not look like he was joking!" Well -he wouldn't.  He doesn't know how to make his facial expressions match his feelings. 
     The next incident: "Accused the teacher of stealing his pencil." She had a pencil that looked just like his. I bought him special silver pencils and they keep getting lost. He saw one on her desk like his so he asked her, "Is that my pencil? or Did you take my pencil?" Now he probably should have put in the words "accidentally", but he really just wanted to know -so he asked.  Another wonderful trait of an Aspie -they are brutally honest.  They say exactly what they mean with out a filter.  They don't have the filter.  It doesn't mean we can't process through this and teach him the proper way to pose the question to a person of authority. I don't think she cared to try. 
      I send an e-mail to his Special Education tracking teacher.  I tell her that this woman needs some "Cole Training".  She doesn't get him. Over the past three weeks she has had countless conversations, has gone into the classroom to process through things and she still just doesn't get it. The last straw was her writing him up for "making faces at the teacher." Well -he won't even look at her directly, so how could he be making faces at her. She took his pencil away because she felt he wasn't listening. He was pissed and his face showed it. He didn't say, "Hey Bitch, give my freakin' pencil back." He clinched his teeth indicating that he was holding back from saying what he was thinking.  
     It all came to a head when I stop to chat with her about what's been going. "Cole is mean. Kids have told me that he's been like that for years. I am not going to allow him to run my classroom." I was like OMG -she has formed an opinion of him from what kids -10 year-olds have said. I was livid! I have never in all of his school years ever heard any teacher refer to him that way.  He has always been everyone's favorite student. They may start out challenged, but they end up coming to love him, because he is so honest and endearing. I told her that whatever she's seeing must be a reaction to her! It has never happened before. She was obviously not willing to accept his disability as such. "We can't make excuses for him because he's autistic." She's one of those teachers who wants to treat everyone the same -even if they are different and not by choice.
   Well that was the end of her. I could see in he eyes and hear in her voice that Cole would never win with her and what's more -neither would I.  She was done for. I took measures and by the end of the school day, administration removed him from her class. No one treats my children that way.
    I don't even think I'm done with her yet.  I will be putting my feelings in writing and forwarding it to the Principle and Vice Principle so that hopefully another child will not have to put up with this in the future.  Maybe her training needs to come in the form of disciplinary action so that she recognizes the disability of child and makes the appropriate accommodations. Sorry dear -you've messed with the wrong kid and the wrong neurotic mom!

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