Tag Archives: SPD

Bullying from the Bullied – Warning: F Word Ahead

My son made his apology to his classmate today. I asked his teacher to please stop forcing them to sit together, because I don’t want his classmate to suffer one more minute. You cannot force my son to become friends with anyone. If they don’t play Minecraft or keep up on robot technology, he cannot fathom connecting with them, and his fears make him lash out. He is tired of being made fun of by others and he just does not want to make a new friend. You just cannot spark what is not there.

He has been getting in trouble for using Minecraft in his writing exercises. The teachers ask him to write about what he did over the weekend, so he writes down what he did on Minecraft. Because nothing else he has done over the weekend mattered more to him than that. He said the teachers have behaved as if they were exasperated with him for it, and have forbidden him from writing on it any further. He feels disrespected. I am pleased to see he can correctly interpret the gestures and facial expressions and get an impression like that. That is real progress.

In my opinion, cutting off an Aspie kid from their interests is like discounting him as a person. My son IS his interests. I see his interests as a way to tie things in for him. I would have him write out a Minecraft recipe, ingredients plus directions, in addition to what he did over the weekend. They would get far more writing out of him with this method. He would be happy about it, too, and he would color. Getting him to color is tough. Only for Minecraft will he color. He has poor motor skills, weak grip, and is sensitive to the drag on paper. Coloring would be good.

He admitted today, after daycare in his therapist’s office, that something was definitely wrong at school. He hates one of his paraprofessionals. She forces him to write, and makes it unpleasant. It is already unpleasant, I suppose, because the drag on paper is so annoying to him that it might be painful. So I can see why she feels as if she had to force him. But it is called Handwriting Without Tears for a reason.

I put into his IEP last year that he be allowed to use marker, gel pens, anything smooth. Dry erase boards, too. So I do not know why they are insisting on pencil. When he does not write correctly or resists, the para snatches the paper away and tells him she will wait for him to be ready, which means he could miss recess. I have requested that he not be punished for having learning disabilities. I have requested that the school allow him the only time he has there for social interaction. I asked them not to use recess as a tool. He is afraid of her, he says. He is too afraid of her to negotiate his tasks with her. He points to things and refuses to talk when she is teaching him, for fear of her anger.

I have to call the school tomorrow. I want to cry. I cannot believe that these special education professionals are treating him like he is reluctant or resistant, still, after I explained to them that HE IS AUTISTIC. He is autistic. He has auditory dysfunction and sensory processing disorder. He cannot stand a toilet flushing or the feel of pencil but he does not notice lacerations on his hands until the blood stains something he likes. His brain does not work like theirs. Can they not extend him a bit of empathy, some sympathy for having to deal with all this noise and light and bustle all day? I think he is doing great.

This is how you get him to write:
You give him the paper and you either have him trace or write something down. Then you give him silly putty for three minutes so he can work the kinks out of his fingers. Then you have him write something else. Then you time him on how fast he can crawl under the table and around the chairs and high five him. Then you have him write something else. Then you give him a sticker to put on his paper and tell him what letters or words look great. Doesn’t that sound more interesting than being stood over and scolded for resisting what hurts you? I can make it about twenty words before the pain starts in my own hands if I am writing without a keyboard, so I can literally feel his pain.

How the living fuck these people do not know this, I have no idea. He is autistic, not naughty. They are professionals. They took a kid with PTSD and ASD and SPD and they fucking made him afraid of speaking out. A disabled kid. I am calling tomorrow and I am going to be polite at first, just so that when I fucking ream them out in person in my schoolmarm clothes and huge glasses that they are completely caught off guard and the message sinks into their heads. MY SON IS NOT BAD HE IS DIFFERENT AND I WILL NOT ALLOW YOU TO SHUT HIM UP.
Kudos to me for using the F word. I have been working on that, hopefully I don’t come back and edit it out.

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Autism, SPD, and Haircuts

My son let the hairdresser cut his hair with clippers today. This is HUGE. I have waited six years for this. There was one other time that he let the stylist finish off the edges with a clipper, but today he let her do his whole head.

His father did not want to pay for haircuts. He bought a clipper and would do my son’s head without a guard, since babyhood, with me begging for him to stop and put a guard on until he pushed me out the door and locked it against me. My son would scream and cry and end up with razor burn. Having SPD does not help any more than the trauma does. He hates the sensation, and the auditory dysfunction makes the buzzing sound intolerable to him.

I have to get his haircuts done in the morning, after a good night’s rest, on a second day off, like a Sunday. Which is how it was today. I want to find a formula that works, so I never have to see him panic in a barber chair again.

He knows how proud I am. It was his own choice, to get a fast cut and not the slow scissor cut that made him squirm in concern for his ears.

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Autism is Normal. SPD is Normal. Normal is Not Normal.

My firstborn is diagnosed with autism. I think I get it now, and all I feel is relief that the school will help him, and hope that a medical diagnosis will give him greater access to more intervention and treatment.

As he is my firstborn, he is the normal one. As an infant, he had to wear handcovers longer than most babies, because he would try to pull his skin off of his face, and would make welts down his nose and cheeks. Probably he was desperate for sensation. I held him a lot, and kept him moving. He was addicted to rocking and had to be broken of it at nine months, because he was too heavy and too big, and I could not do it any longer. He hated vacuuming noises so much that I used a handheld carpet sweeper, daily, and had his grandmother take him outside on vacuuming days. He would cry if he heard the noise coming from any other house.

He would not say my name or ¨mommy¨ until he was closer to three. He would say the names of others, just not me, and he would avoid looking at me for the longest time. He would not throw a ball, until he was nearly out of the toddler years. In preschool, if he did not have something in his hands, at circle or music time, he would throw himself on the floor and scream and roll around, in the middle of the circle. Quite disruptive. The teachers opened up the school on off days and let him try all the toys, and then he was not so frustrated and distracted. He ran off, and I got him a leashed backpack puppy. 

He laughed at all the wrong moments, displaying an alarming lack of empathy, and his father would lash out at him in response. As if you can slap empathy into a child. His grandmother taught him to throw things at me and laugh. Sticks, small rocks. He was enthusiastic, a parrot. He was desperate to please, but when his father told him to beat his brother or himself, he resisted and cried in the most heartbreaking way, and this agonized cry always alerted me to the situation, enabling me to put a stop to it.  Despite his difficulty in comprehending the pain of others, he was a sweet child, very affectionate, always ready to sit in a lap, and indeed, at six, he will sit in anyone’s lap, whether he knows them or not. Which has become disturbing, to realize he is so trusting and vulnerable.

He has never felt pain properly. He would fall and bump his head regularly in the first eighteen months, huge knots on the forehead were the norm for him, and he rarely cried about it. Currently he has what looks like road rash on his elbow, and he has no idea how or where he got it. A child pulled him around a playground on rubber tiles when he was four, and took the first layer of skin off of his back, and he was laughing the entire time, which was the teachers excuse for allowing such a thing to happen right in front of her.  He has asked other children to jump on him, bounce on him, punch him, and it has no negative effect, he just wants the sensation. He will forget to tell me he has a laceration, because it does not bother him. He scratches his bug bites until they weep blood and become sores, because he can feel the itch to scratch, but not the pain that signals it is time to stop scratching. 

When his little brother grew older, I thought he was superhuman, as he hardly ever fell down, could jump and climb, and sit upright at a younger age. It did not occur to me that my oldest was abnormal, until he was five and the doctor diagnosed him with Sensory Processing Disorder and noted his muscle development was delayed. Then a lightbulb went off, my other children were not superhuman, my oldest was the different one. I have always liked children like him, in the daycares, waiting rooms, classrooms, I am drawn to them and they to me. Never realizing that I was picking out children who were different from the others. They just seemed more normal, more familiar, more like my own firstborn. The child who set the standard of normal in my perception. 

 

 

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Diagnosis from the school district

They say autism. Everything makes more sense, and now we can get his education on track. I need to shop for things to help him learn. I am glad I didn’t learn this when he was more symptomatic and I was asking doctors to help me figure out what was wrong, because I might have been easier on him. When they told me that he makes eye contact and speaks, and therefore nothing is wrong with him, I buckled down and got real strict with his behaviours. His coping is excellent, he is high functioning, and like many others on the spectrum, a bit gifted in some areas. I am most grateful that he is cheerful. If I can combine that with motivation, nothing will get in his way. Differently-abled for sure.

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A Hat-trick, A Sandwich of Incidents

It began on Sunday night.

One son kicked another son in the face. Out of irritation, as the latter son was recording a movie of a movie. Which is so redundant that it irritates me, too. But I am not kicking out over it.

The kick dislodged a loose tooth in the director/producer. At first, I did not comprehend what had happened in the chaotic aftermath of blood and excited high pitched yelling. I just gathered that one son had helped another son with his phobia over losing a tooth. I was ecstatic. No more fretting and crying over losing teeth, no more waiting for the wiggly tooth to be easily and painlessly pulled, no more complaints over meals, requesting that soft food be served, instead, to cater literally to his afflicted tooth. It was over.

So I was jubilant. Until I calmed down and could take in what the victim was telling me. That he had been kicked. In the face. Perpetrator was sent to his room. Later we had a talk about irritation and anger and siblings. A replica of the talk I had with two other siblings that day, for other incidents. But the damage was done. I had celebrated that kick, and not been upset in any way by the sight of my child’s blood. In front of all.

Today my kicking son was found guilty of procuring and stashing a Nintendo DS game. One that did not belong to him. From a child who he had victimized in this way before. That time, I made him give the games back and apologize to the boy, his mother, and the director of the preschool. To compound the issue this time, he was directly questioned, and thus lied directly, to both his teacher and the boy’s mother. I am beyond angry and into that sort of emergency calm one enters after disaster. The one where you stop feeling and start combing through wreckage for what might be salvageable, for what could be used in building anew.

He is on work detail with me. He is working to earn restitution. Instead of working for money to buy a DS game, our usual circumstance since he was given a DS, he is working only to earn money to hand over to this other child. I told him restitution would be the case, should this ever happen again, and I meant it. I have to write a letter to the boy’s mother, and I hope she is receptive to receiving the restitution. Otherwise it will be put in an envelope for charity. He is also banned from all video games while earning restitution. He has to earn back those privileges with my trust.

He was sitting on the couch, in between tasks, and watching his brother play Wii, when he hit his brother in the face, again out of irritation, and popped out another tooth. One that was not loose, so there was a bit more blood this time. Victim has declared he does not want to sit or sleep in the same room as his brother. I don’t blame him. After half an hour the blood stopped and snacks were consumed. I can confiscate all his Pokemon cards, or I can do more to drive home that punching and kicking are not the way to express irritation. I reminded the instigator that his brother has SPD and can’t feel pain properly most of the time, so hitting him is not only useless, but more criminal, as it takes advantage of his handicap. I can’t think of another punishment right now, I am just worn out.

From Sunday night.

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Swimming Certificate

My son handed me a damp Red Cross certificate after his swimming class last Saturday. It said he has now completed Level I, and is ready for Level I. 

Apparently, he is not comfortable enough in water to actually learn to swim his way through Level I and into Level II. Not so unusual for an SPD kid without coordination and lots of fears. So next winter, he and his brother will be in swimming class together, as his brother is a year younger and has to start at Level I. 

This is the best thing, I think. Because, most likely, they will be trying to drown each other, and thus they will learn to swim by necessity. If not that, then seeing his brother surpassing him will help with motivating him. It’s going to keep happening, in his life with his siblings. If he can roll with it now and apply himself, maybe he can make a habit of it. Maybe he won’t be left behind, like so many special needs kids are. 

Swimming is one area I desperately want him to master, as it is a lifesaving skill he might need someday, not just a sport. We are going to spend a great deal of time at the shallow lake again this summer. 

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The School District Notices

I had a call from the Kindergarten teacher today. My oldest son has been acting out in school, behaving defiantly, having to sit out in gym class, throwing his backpack all over the class, unable to wait in lines.
 
Some of this, I am sure, is from winter weather. I cannot get them outside to work off their energy, and my oldest needs to run and play, utilizing his underdeveloped muscles, to keep his SPD under control. There is an indoor playground, but I cannot go often, as there is a fee. As there is gas required. As it is far way. As my car was only fixed yesterday. Sitting out in gym class will only make it worse. No heavy work means no proper sensory processing.
 
Today he had an awful sensory time before school, and at daycare, throwing himself on the floor as hard as he could, over and over. He looked just desperate to feel something, any kind of sensation, his face blank. Were I not having to leave, did I not have other children with more pressing issues of hygiene, I would have given him joint compressions. I could not. I had to go, right then. I am always having to go.
 
The teacher said today was manageable for her. She might implement a point system. I told her reward systems often work well to motivate him, he has ODD, please go ahead. She said she would keep me informed.
 
I feel like I have been punched in the stomach. I am at work, trying not to cry.
 
How much easier it was for their father, ignoring them, their disturbing behaviours, their violence. Stubbornly in denial, or beating it out of them when not.  Absenting from their lives. Having escaped him, now it is all on me.
 
Of course it was my fault in the first place, I was always told by their father. Their disorders and bad behaviours are my fault. The professionals tell me it is not my fault at all, but I do not want to excuse myself so easily. I do know that now it is my responsibility to help them to get over this, or at least teach them how to cope with it. Just me. No one else. No one else ever cared enough. I am not going to beat my already abused children into minding me. I cannot tell you how often I have been told to, even by professional victim advocates, even by family.
 
I go online, to soothe myself, by finding new techniques to address ODD with. The sites tell me how this is my fault, I have made them this way by giving in to tantrums. I have already heard this, I have not done this, and I am offended by the assumption. I click onto the techniques to reduce these behaviours. I am doing all of them, to my very best, already. Now I find myself despairing, when I wanted soothing.
 
I do know that I am lucky, I thought I would have to implement a special needs program for him, so that he could attend school at all.  I certainly never thought I would go until mid-December without a phone call from the school regarding his behaviours.
The cat is out of the bag, now. I hope it doesn’t snowball. Let this be the end of it, please.  

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Change happens slowly

Today my middle child told me at least four times “Today is the best day, ever.”  It made all the hard work worth it. To see him so happy and learning empathy so well. Listening and taking pride in being a good listener. Taking care of his baby sister. Not hitting anyone. In the heat of one of his tantrums I often forget how far he has come, but a year has given us enough time to make him and his siblings into far happier children. I can’t wait to see what his EMDR treatment will do.

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There are lots …

There are lots of people here that we don’t know. That’s good. No one will know my brother and I are spies.

So says my five-year-old before walking off to the playground.

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July 1, 2013 · 1:14 am