This is my little guy-Zachary. He has Aspergers. This photo is about 8 years old. He is 12 now and in Junior High.
CAUTION-THIS POST IS BEING WRITTEN BY A SENSITIVE MOTHER OF AN AUTISTIC SON. THIS POST MAY CONTAIN THINGS WHICH COULD BE CONSIDERED HARSH, UNCOMFORTABLE AND/OR UNPLEASANT
Today I got a call from the school that has affected me in ways I didn't know I could be affected. The counselor told me that during P.E. Zachary had upset some boys in the class. The short version is that 2 boys held him while 2 more boys punched, kicked and hit him. The counselor said that Zachary got a few punches in, too. I don't know if that was supposed to make me feel better or what??? The school is taking action and has suspended the 4 boys for the next school week. They suggest putting Zachary into a different P.E. class beginning next week.
I'm furious. I'm also deeply sad. Why did this happen? What kind of rage can 12 year old boys feel to make them behave this way? As I spoke to the counselor the thought "Mob Mentality" ran through my mind. So of course the next question in my mind is "What are these boys learning-or better yet-NOT learning at home?" Zachary is DIFFERENT. He doesn't think, talk or act like boys his age. WHY SHOULD THAT BE A REASON TO BEAT ON HIM?
I have thought deeply tonight about what behaviors I model for my children. Am I tolerant of people who think and act differently than what I would consider "normal" or "typical"? And what about the word "TOLERANT". It is just a buzz word or is it being something that really means something to people BEYOND equal rights, racial issues and homosexual agendas? What is the politically correct word? "Respect"? Respect for others is what they teach in school.
Zachary is really struggling in Junior High. Having Aspergers is complicating adjustment even more. Zachary likes structure and routine. Changing classes is chaotic difficult for him. Zachary doesn't do well with loud noises-they overwhelm him. Lunchtime is difficult for him. Often he spends lunch off by himself or goes into the Directed Studies teacher's room. Zachary doesn't have good coping skills and gets frustrated very easily. His social skills are not that of a typical 6th grader. He often doesn't make eye contact when spoken to. He doesn't pick up on innuendos and often lacks tact. He talks loudly and doesn't know how to monitor his vocal level.
Zachary is also extremely loving. He asks to sit with me on the couch and snuggle everyday. He holds my hand when we shop. He gives me a kiss every time I leave the house. He will read to Brie a bedtime story. He takes the dog for a walk everyday and loves to play with her. If he sees that someone is sad he feels bad. After the baseball games he offers to buy ALL his teammates a soda. He wants so badly to have friends, but he lacks the social skills to know how to do this. He forgives offenses quickly and never holds a grudge.
April 2nd is World Autism Day. I ask you to teach your children to be kind to children and adults who are "different" than they are. Teach your child to be a friend to a child who has no friends. Teach your child to stand up for what is right-if they see someone picking on someone they should speak out. Teach your child what our Savior has taught us, "In as much as you have done it unto the least of these, ye have done it unto me."