In Daily life on June 21, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Being the oldest sibling of six is difficult enough, but when you add two autistic siblings, and an absent father, well lets just say it can’t be easy.  Marie has had her moments of complaints such as “Everything is about Joshua and Zachary!” which in some cases is true, however, for the most part she doesn’t complain and tries to help me as much as she can. 

School is a different story though,  and I know Marie has often behaves as though she doesn’t know her brother Joshua infront of her friends or has avoided him at lunch recesss when she see’s him all alone picking up things off the ground.  I can’t fault her though, she is twelve and at a difficult time herself as she enters the wonderful journey of puberty, peer pressure and just understanding who she is.  The other day was a different story though and I couldn’t help but be amazed at what she told me.

Marie and her friend (who also just happens to be our neighbour) were working on a project in the music room at school and happened to overhear a group of grade five students talking in the hallway.

Girl # 1: “Who is Joshua G.C?”

Girl # 2: “I don’t know.”

Boy # 1: “He is some loner guy in our class dummy.”

Boy # 2: “Do you mean Joshua K?”

Boy # 3: “No that is the other weird guy in our class.  He is really strange.”

Girl # 2: “Maybe that’s why the two hang out together.”

Laughs from all of them.

At this point Marie and her friend got really ticked off so they went out to the hallway.

Marie: “Hey thats my brother you’re talking about!”

Boy # 2: “So?”

Girl # 1: “Which Joshua is your brother?”

Marie: “Joshua K.”

Boy #1: “Well who cares, both of them are weird.”

At this point Marie told me she started crying a little and our neighbour told them they were really rude.

Marie then spoke up.  “I can’t believe you have been with these two in your class for almost a whole year and can make comments like you do!  Why don’t you go look up the words Autistic and Aspergers! The only people who have issues are the bunch of you!”

Marie and her friend went back to the music room, where Marie was able to really cry without the others seeing her.  She told me she the reason she cried was because she didn’t like people talking about her brother like that because he couldn’t help the fact that he has a disability.  She was also angry that they could be like that when they have been with him in the same class all year, act as though they like him and then talk behind his back like that.

I told her I was proud of her for standing up for her brother like she did and that I agreed with her.  Unfortunately though this is the reality of having a child with special needs.  Ignorance.

  1. My son was kicked out of preschool at the tender age of 3!! Ignorance is such a kind way to put the description I have had for people who make comments about my son who has an ASD. He has Sensory Processing Disorder, and even though it is not yet recognized by the DSM, it has been or tends to be confused with ADHD. My son has finally been seen by a pediatrician because unless he has a “diagnosis” he will not be able to receive help in the classroom for his many meltdowns, mood swings, inability to sit for more than 10 minutes at a time, impulsive behaviors and his need to touch and smell everything. But because it’s not a recognized behavior disorder, ADHD will be the closest we get and a diagnosis I don’t want him to have. He’s a ‘crasher’, meaning he needs to be overstimulated to feel balanced…This leads to my story about ignorance..

    I had taken my son to his preschool class (different preschool), and with his little sister pulling on my one free arm while I am signing him in. she desperately wants to play with all the toys in the classroom she then proceeds to have a major hissy fit during which time another mum approaches me.
    other parent(OP)–Are you Daniel’s* mom?
    me-yes…. (my daughter still melting and kicking her feet as I’m calmly trying to pick her up off the floor)
    OP—I’m Keegan’s mom, I need to speak to you out in the hall
    me–ok, I say as I follow her into the hallway with my daughter writhing on my hip.Thankfully the screaming has now been dulled to a low constant whine..
    OP–your son has pushed my son over a couple of times in class.
    me–oh I’m really sorry, no-one has mentioned anything to me about it, I hope your son wasn’t hurt.
    OP–if YOU can’t control your kid I will go to the head of the preschool and put a stop to it…
    (now i’m getting a little angry)
    me–(calmly I say) again I apologize for his behavior, we are currently getting him help from Queen Alexandra Centre for Children’s Health for his autism spectrum disorder and unfortunately he sometimes has physical outbursts which we know are very difficult to control but we are doing everything we can to get him the professional help he needs.
    OP–If your kid isn’t normal then maybe he shouldn’t be in a normal preschool
    THAT WAS IT>>>I put my open hand up to her face as close as I dared without touching her and shouted– SERIOUSLY… DID YOU REALLY JUST SAY THAT?? THAT”S IT I”M DONE TALKING TO YOU>>and I walked back into the classroom with the other parent following me saying she would be going to the head of the program. thankfully my daughter had calmed down by this point, now I was the one having a fit…
    Me–go ahead go to the program head.. she already knows about Daniel* and knows we are doing everything we can to help him…
    I then looked at the teacher and asked why she hadn’t spoken to us about these incidents. Her reply; it wasn’t a big deal and Keegan wasn’t hurt.. I had to leave i thought I was going to explode if this other parent said another word..

    Result…my son was moved to the morning class from the afternoon class in order to not be in the same class as this child..
    My son was moved!
    The child with anxiety when it comes to unexpected transitions, new situations with people he doesn’t know. and a change in his routine. The only saving grace was that it was the same teacher. He spent the last weeks of his preschool year trying to fit in to a new group of children and a new group of, dare I say, ignorant parents!!
    My heart was broken everyday when he came home saying ‘no-body wants to play with me mommy, they say I play too hard, why do I play too hard?

    We took him out of school 2 weeks before the end of the year. Now he’s starting kindergarden in less than 1 week and I’m worried sick for him

    Who was the person who said Ignorance is bliss…

    It isn’t bliss, it’s just plain ignorance!

    Thanks for reading.

    (* names have been changed)

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