Yesterday after school Blue and I made a mad dash out to go to the store for my mother. On the way, he says, "I'm really in the mood for tacos." What the heck? I took the opportunity to have a little one on one time with him to hear about his day at school. When we're at home, there's no telling what kind of interruptions we will have -so off to Chipolte we went.
I had a mini quesadilla (just so that he wouldn't have to eat alone...not). He had two burrito like tacos with charbroiled chicken only. No cheese, no veggies, nada! We both had a coke and a smile. It felt so good to be alone and connected to him.
I had just read an article earlier in the day about children being bullied at school on Thinking Persons Guide to Autism -Imagine After reading it I thought, how could you not know as a parent that your child is being bullied? I talk to my kids everyday. I ask them about specifics of their day, and if anything was unusual, somehow I think I would know. I check on their facebook page and eavesdrop on conversations with friends and of course with each other. (Sorry...there is no privacy in my house.) My kids are usually brutally honest and they don't miss an opportunity to complain to me about something. If anyone was bothering them, it would show itself one way or another. You just have to be paying attention.
Blue started telling me about a disagreement he had with a peer who also has autism. This friend seems to get pretty stressed out easily. When he does, he goes through a miniature melt-down with crying, flailing his arms, hitting himself, pacing and sometimes hiding underneath a desk.
It's kind of ironic that Blue gets so exasperated by this behavior. He was pretty explosive himself just a few short months ago. He has been doing so much better with agitation and melt downs since we started him on a mild dosage of Abilify. I reminded him of this fact and also the fact that he still gets pretty agitated by his brother at times. He likes to be in control. He damn near wants to parent his older brother.
I explained to Blue that everyone with autism is different. His friend's autism causes him to have these outburst, mostly when he feels like something is happening that he can not control and he desperately wants to. I cautioned Blue not to take it personally, not to try to fix it, but to just be patient and realize that he isn't doing it on purpose. A lot of his behavior probably can't be helped. We also have to throw into the mix, another child that is in their group who has ADHD, is very impulsive and does a lot of name-calling. I'm sure that sends the friend with autism over the edge.
"Do you remember how on edge you were in the beginning of school?" I asked. He looked at me deep in thought and shook his head to the affirmative.
He gave it a lot of thought. He came home and made a story board of what happened that day so that he could process it and then explain it to their Social Skills Teacher, who was not happy about the situation. He told me that his teacher had said, that some of the things the boy was doing was "on purpose to get attention." I can't imagine that to be true. However, I don't know the boy and all of his situation personally. She may have some knowledge about him that I am not privy to.
I cautioned Blue that it's hard for us to judge weather someone with a disability is doing something on purpose unless we are actually inside his head, and walking in his shoes. Maybe I'm being my usual Polly Anna-self about it, but I usually give people the benefit of the doubt.
He asked me if I thought his teacher was doing a good job with his friend. To which I replied, "I'm sure she is doing the very best she can with the resources she has. It takes a lot of patience to work with kids who have special needs. That doesn't mean she's always right and that she won't loose it sometimes. I try to be patient with you boys, but sometimes I loose it. We're only human."