Tuesday, September 18, 2012

School and autism

I read a blog the other day that really moved me. The writer has given me permission to post her link: She couldn't tell me 
It hit home for me, as most people don't realise why I'm so upset my youngest has gone to school. I know I'm very lucky that he is verbal, but that doesn't mean he's understanding the world, or what people are saying to him.

Every morning I have to fight to get my child to school, it starts from the minute he wakes up. My other son has a sheet that I made for him and my mum laminated. It gives him a list of what he is to do, and in order. Without this list, most mornings, unless constantly prompted, he wouldn't do anything.
Little A has a visual timetable, but because it includes school, when I show it to him he'll throw most of the stuff on the floor. He also has a sheet that lets him pick his own snack for his lunchbox, this also gets thrown on the floor, or he will shout the word NO!! at me until I stop talking about it.
Now if you don't know anything about Autism, you'd be sat there thinking 'well I'd smack his bum' or 'She's just too soft'.
Go on, admit it, you are aren't you.
But it doesn't work like that.
If it was your child, you'd want to know why? Why doesn't he want to go? Has something happened?
My child can't communicate answers to any of these, yes he can talk, sometimes it has no meaning. Its just words, from a film that he has watched for the 15th time that week. He can't tell me if someone is being cruel to him, he doesn't know.
Even my middle child doesn't understand if someones being sarcastic or teasing, but he can tell mean. He can come home and tell me if another child is calling him names or pushing him around.
Little A can't do that.
I have to say I am so upset writing this down, but I feel like it every. single. day.
All the other mothers are always saying the same things.......oh mines like that.....aw don't worry, he'll come around.
The thing is he does seem to like school when he's there. The school is amazing, they've made special provisions for him and other children that may not be autistic, but still are socially awkward. They play in their own little yard with lockable gates. I've gone up once or twice and watched from a distance. He seems quite happy running back and forth, stimming, the other children just think he's playing, so that's ok.
It's so hard every morning just to get him through the door, others don't see this. Others don't see that he's busy babbling away to himself not just because he's happy, but he's trying to block all of them out.
A little boy, who also happens to be autistic, tried to touch A's hand this morning, just to show him how cold his hands were. This really upset A, he doesn't like to be touched especially unannounced, luckily his favourite teacher was just coming out to unlock the gate. So a meltdown was averted, plus the other boys mum understood, so pulled her son to one side and explained little A doesn't like it.
So tomorrow morning when your child is skipping in to school and you see a mother that's coaxing her son/daughter in with a chocolate cookie or promises of toys, please don't assume she's a bad mum.
She could be going home from that and crying into a cup of coffee, just like I did this morning, just like I do every morning when I given my last smile to other mums.


  1. beautifully written Jo.
    I would like to share this blog if you wouldn't mind. There are many people that need a better understanding of autism, and the effects it has on the family and friends. x

    1. Thank you Rachel, and yes, you are welcome to share. More awareness = more understanding xx


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