Monthly Archives: March 2015

Bullying: Our Strategy

As soon as the kids piled into my bed this morning, I talked to them about our neighborhood bully. We agreed on a plan of action.
If he comes outside to play, the children will let me know and I will go outside and observe from an obvious place. This will give me a chance to prep the small front garden area, too.
We settled on this because he also attends the children’s daycare, and has shown none of these behaviours there. There are daycare staff observing inside and out, so this might nip it in the bud. Maybe he only does this if he thinks no one is watching. If I do have to go in, I will loudly declare that I am watching through the window, for whatever reason.
We summed up the conversation remembering all the cool kids, big and small, who have played parkour tag with us in the area. Because only once did we encounter any bully behaviour in the local parks. The children were typically very good with my autistic son, letting him rest or going up to him to be tagged when he tired. All of them were strangers to us, because until last month, we did not live in the same town where the children attend daycare and school but we played at the parks where we lived. We have tag friends, school friends, and daycare friends. We have been lucky, overall.
If it warms up today and gets dry, we will go and see who wants to play tag.

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Speech Therapy and Bullying

Middle son has been getting teased for how he speaks. At first I thought it was a second language issue, but it never did right itself.
I thought he would improve with school exposure, but that did not happen. The school would not refer him to speech, so his doctor did.
He goes every week.
I am using the Japanese alphabet to help him with practice, because for some odd reason, he can pronounce those letters perfectly. It is the English combinations he has problems with. So I have him do it right in Japanese over and over, in order to train his tongue.
We were there yesterday.
He told the therapist his father was sick and he kept yelling at his mother so we had to leave and now he doesn’t have a dad anymore. I did correct him. I told him he does have a father, but his father is too sick to be around. I did not correct him for calling beatings ¨yelling¨. That is his call entirely.
This is a big deal, to talk about it offhandedly.
Today I watched him play outside with the neighborhood kids, and now I have the local bully pegged. I asked him if the bully was picking on him. He said no. Later I told him I saw some things happen during his time outside that I did not like, and the main of that was him being pushed to the ground by this bully. Pushed for no reason. My son’s eyes got wide and he mutely agreed with me. Then I listed two things I liked. One, catching a ball from on high while on the run. Very good for his age and phenomenal for his experience. Two, helping a girl who the same bully had stolen a shoe from, to get her shoe back. He admitted to both, and now I know he understands I am proud of him, rather than having a negative perception after seeing him bullied.
He had come in from outside in an angry mood, speaking rudely to me. I knew he was triggered. He hid it from the other children really well, better than I knew he could do. At home when he is triggered now he will cry. He used to fly into rages, so the crying is better. But the denial scared me. I gave him joint compressions, got him hydrated, and let the attitude slide. I am going to talk to him about it more tomorrow. I did tell him I saw the bully do it to a younger kid and then turn on him when that younger child left the game.
I am going to ask him to leave when he is treated like that. He did a good job of handling it, considering their age difference, but I don’t want it to keep happening. Laughing it off is not enough for me. I know my kids are going to struggle to fit in, but I don’t want them to accept bad treatment.
If my kids did anything like that they know they would be in a world of trouble.

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Middle Child Had A Bad Day

Middle son had major issues with impulse control today. When the daycare teacher instructed him to have some chill time he colored on the wall. He must have been angry.
I didn’t escalate the issue, I just made sure he knew what was going on between himself and his teacher, that he understood right and wrong.

At the dinner table we were talking about children and mortality. My sons claim that children rarely die. I told them that such a claim made no sense and they had to think about it. Why would the smallest and least educated people be the least likely to die? How would that be possible, when children could not even feed themselves?
They thought for a few minutes.
Middle son came up with an answer. He said that ¨Kids be good so that no adults get angry at them and kill them.¨
Which was not the answer I was looking for, but spoke volumes about the state of his PTSD.

So I explained that kids were cared for, and that, contrary to his perception, adults almost never killed children. I told him every parent gets really mad at every kid, but they normally don’t hurt them. Oldest son chimes in with ¨only bad parents hurt kids.¨ Which I let stand as a valid judgement and continued to explain that the vast majority of parents set rules and take actions to keep kids safe, resulting in less child than adult deaths in the news. Overly simple, but really, if some adults out there had to listen to their mommy, their lives would be much better. I am shooting for safety, here.

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5 Ways to Support a Trans Person Experiencing Body Dysphoria

Tips on supporting your trans friend with dysphoria, or any friend going through anything. Compassion and empathy. Keep it going.

Let's Queer Things Up!

Cross-posted via Everyday Feminism

My partner is pounding on the door, begging me to unlock it.

I’m sitting in front of a tall mirror, tears falling quietly down my face, as I clutch my shirt in one hand and a bottle of vodka in the other.

The amount of panic my chest has caused me in the last three months has reached a breaking point. I stare, helplessly, at a body that both confuses and terrifies me.

As I look at myself, my body trembling, I’m reminded of the times as a child when I would take the heads off of my Lego characters and place them on different bodies – only this time, the stakes are real, and the stakes are high.

I can recognize my face, but everything else feels so, so wrong.

My partner manages to pick the lock, and they push through the door. Their…

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Charter School

My autistic son got into the charter school, the science one. My other son is next on their wait list. I am so happy, especially after recent events. I hope the paras are better there. There is one in every classroom, so the ratio is better and there is less stigma on having a para help you.

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IEP, Anyone?

So I dropped by the school to talk to one of my son’s teachers before school started. No dice, they were out of their rooms and I cannot just wander around looking for them. I called, left a message and sat, tense and working and running my mouth about inane things all day, trying to let off a bit of steam.

I wrote down my points the night before, and again in the morning after I spoke to his county caseworker, to keep it all straight. I have a habit, when emotional, of forgetting what I need to address.

The caseworker offered to do it all for me, but I told her I would pull her in if it came down to a formal meeting. I wanted to give the teacher and the school another chance. I want to work with them, not sue.

She called back during recess. I explained to her how my son does handwriting in OT. I directed her, gently, towards the IEP, where this process is laid out and the supervision of the school Occupational Therapist is mandated. I reminded her, again, that my son does not have a brain that works like mine or hers. She said she had no idea he was so rigid, so black and white. I don’t understand how you can teach autistic kids and not notice this trait in them. I advised her on how to work with this, creating flexibility by going over schedules, schedule changes, calendars, and sequences. It really can be used in your favor, and it can be fun, too. I advised her to switch paras, because his PTSD, once triggered, is going to get in the way of his learning.
The call lasted half an hour. When I got off the phone I was covered in sweat and I felt the sort of relief one has after a good crying jag. Because it was that important, I was that intensely focused on it, and also because I think she is going to try. She is going to remove that para from his lineup. Thank goodness.

I just don’t understand how his teachers do not understand him. I know they are not his mother, they have not lived with him, etc. But my son is so classically autistic that he is an Asperger’s cliche. If you read one accurate book on Asperger’s, you are reading about my son. He fits exactly into the definition and has every trait and characteristic that his Aspie peers do.

Tonight he sat out on swimming class, glad it was dropped. I don’t care about the money. He was happy. He played a video game and talked to me occasionally and leaned up against me the entire time. He told me he loved me. He doesn’t say it as often as his brother and sister, so I know it is not a casual phrase for him. He is fantastic, fascinating. I want him to be happy. I don’t want him to be afraid anymore.

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Questions for the school

In the IEP it states that a variety of assistive devices will be tried with my son and used under the guidance of the occupational therapist.
Are you using a variety of utensils, or only pencil?
Is the OT involved with this?

In the IEP it states that positive direction and redirection will be used with my son.
Are the paraprofessionals working with him aware of that?
Are they aware that pointing out the mistakes rather than the correct writing reinforces his mistakes rather than his correct writing?

In the IEP it states that heavy work should be given to him before quiet academic exercises.
Is this happening?
If it were happening, he would have perfect sentences. Because that is what happens during writing exercises in OT.

I had better cool off. I am really upset.

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