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Phone Calls from School Are Way Too Stressful

Sometimes one little phone call can set off a whole chain of events.

Yesterday I went out to grab a breakfast biscuit from Hardee’s; I usually hate breakfast food. Before I was has halfway through eating my biscuit I got a call from my 8-year old’s teacher; never a good sign.

She wants another conference because he is not doing well in school. He can’t keep directions straight in his head; he is having meltdowns when trying you transition from one activity to another; he cannot organize himself; when he doesn’t underhand something he gets belligerent, and then shuts down, and the list goes on.

“He is not going to be ready to go to the fourth grade,” she says again. “We need to fix the problem before the end of the year.”

Really? And how exactly does she intend to do that? At this point, I started tuning out much of the voice coming over the phone. After all, we just had this conversation and no one was really willing to help him.

Finally she says, “we have to do something because what I’m going is not working.”

I lost it.

“And it is not going to! Things are not going to get better magically. You are going to keep banging your head into the same brick wall unless someone starts listening to me!”


“I’ve been through this with my oldest son. No amount of telling  him to do better, try harder, or get focused is going to make it so. The school system refused to offer him any help, or services, which is why I have him home now!”

I think I’ve lost my ability to deal with these people at this point.  Long story, shortened–she wants another meeting, with her, the school psychologist, and behavioral therapist.  Oh fun! I would like to send them to a behavioral therapist!

Anyway, the phone call messed with my entire phone day. I had little patience, the lights were too bright, every sound too loud, and I felt like I wanted to scream, hide, and run away–complete state of overload.

I had a doctor’s appointment in less than an hour, and needed to calm down enough to get myself dressed and ready to leave the house so I sent Aspie Teen outside with my two-year old to play while I got dressed in quiet–first mistake.

They played in the van, and somehow managed to lock my keys inside! No running, no getting out if the house, no need to change out of PJ’s, I was going nowhere.

By the time hubby got home from work I had a pounding headache. One that took more than two hours of laying down in a dim room with earplugs to calm. I managed to stay up until about 9 pm but still fell asleep before everyone else in the house.

345 am woke starving…two peanut butter sandwiches, and a glass of OJ later, I was back to dreamland.

640 am, hit snooze
650 am hit snooze
725 am, shit we are late!

I dragged the little man out of the house, and rushed off to school–late of course.

When I get there his teacher is waiting to see me, along with three other woman I’ve never met before to have a meeting.

Who scheduled this team meeting anyway? The same old things transpired–he  has to focus, he needs to listen better, and they think it is behavioral problem, that he just didn’t want to do better.  No-one wants to hear about executive dysfunction, or autism.

“What makes you think that you are an expert on autism?” said one of the woman she as she walked away from me.

I’ll tell you–38 years of living with autism; that’s what makes me an expert!

I was furious and stormed out of the room to see the principal. He was going to hear something from me about the way his staff spoke to me, about the way they were treating my son.  As I am waiting outside the principal’s office almost in a rage, I feel something hit me in the head.

“Mom,” I hear a little voice say, and a meaty hand start smacking me in the forehead.  I woke up completely confused, not knowing where I was until I glanced at the clock– 9:30 a.m.

Crap! I never actually got up, I was only dreaming that I brought my son to school and was fighting with his teachers!  My 2-year-old was smacking me to wake me up because he wanted milk, and my 8-year-old was passed out next to me.

I guess I didn’t realize just how stressed out that phone call from his teacher made me.  Stressed-out to the point that I was dreaming about fighting with them. The dream was so real too–the kind that takes a few minutes to realize where you are, and that you were only dreaming.

I didn’t bother getting up to take him to school after the ordeal in my dream so we all enjoyed a lazy hooky day at home.


Jeannie Davide-Rivera

Jeannie is an award-winning author, the Answers.com Autism Category Expert, contributes to Autism Parenting Magazine, and the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. She lives in New York with her husband and four sons, on the autism spectrum.