Please Just Don't Pee on my Pants

The trials, tribulations and successes of a teacher on her own journey towads independence.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Lost in the World of Autism

Even though I no longer teach students with autism... some are in my family and I see and interact with them on a regular basis. My sister was talking with a respit worker the other day and he would have hired me on the spot for 13.50 an hour which is actually darn good money... but I told him I can only work with the kids that have my heart and right now there isn't enough heart left for another kiddo like that. I needed time to heal.

Children with autism no matter where they are on the spectrum are amazing individuals and so much closer to God then I think we can ever imagine being. The main person I am in contact with now is my sort of nephew and he is having a really hard time. Even with his meds, his sensory, a one on one aide at school... his school day ends at 1; before everyone else because he can't handle a longer day. If the school accidently takes him on a field trip because they aren't thinking the abuse that his mother has to endure would be beyond your wildest thoughts. He can tear the door off the van, rip the seats out, break off the visors all the while yelling at his mother what a fucking bitch she is... and she sits there, because what is there left to do?

She needs to go to Costco to get meds for him and he punches her because he can't get what he wants... some people see him as a brat I'm sure. What they see as misbehavior is really sensory overload and communication. Communication that means get me the hell out of here before I really lose it. I have no impulse control and you know that why am I here. He is there because everyone is afraid to stay with him, to be alone with him for their own safety. Is it fair - no... he has never hurt me, cussed me out yes, gotten in my face yes... but physically hurt me - he hasn't crossed that line yet. People need to look with kinder eyes on what they see going on around them for they really have no idea what another person's world is like.

Last week the aide brought this young man to his mom and said he had an extremely hard day - the mom said welcome aboard, the honeymoon is over now it will be like this everyday. Do what I tell you to do and it will be easier, but it will never be normal or what you perceive as normal, but it is his normal and where he is. All the professionals say you need to go into the world of the autistic child and connect with them there before you bring them into our world or even attempt to bring them into our world. That is so true, but it is also true that one can get lost in their world because their world is so much more complicated than ours.

Now let me think about the two non-verbal autistic boys I was working with... they came to my classroom and had to be locked in. A good day was a day I didn't have to punch out yet another ceiling tile to pull one of them out of the rafters of the ceiling. We made progress from there over time. After the aides and I began going into their world for most of the day and playing their games, building the trust that they needed. They needed someone they could rely on and someone they can trust. Most of them don't have that... if they do they are lucky... so one literally has to spend a year just in their world being with them before they can even invite them to come to our world for a few moments. But once that trust is built and they are willing to walk in our world if ever so briefly - it changes both their lives and yours.

So with that I say please - look compassionately at the world for you know not where that soul has been nor where it is going... you only see it for the moment.


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