• Understanding Autism from the Inside

    “Academics came easily to me. The rest of life—not so much.”
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Tactics and Attempts to Intimidate

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Can you see it?

That slacking off kid, with his back hunched over, long hair, quirky smile, the boom box behind his back with the big black mark behind him?

Is that how they see my child? Is that how my child sees himself  when he sees these outrageously intimidating notes come home because he forgets his homework? (Still being punished for executive functioning issues with Autism diagnosis and IEP meeting scheduled.)

Today the little man really did leave his COMPLETED Math homework home (on the dining room table). I had not seen it because I was out running around like a madwomen all day. I didn’t make it into our dining room until after he came home or I would have ran right up to school with that notebook in hand. This make an entire week now with no recess for one infraction or another; his IEP meeting scheduled for Thursday cannot get here quick enough.

But—back to my original topic.  I read this note sent home today that sent my anger level through the roof! 

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This is today’s letter…I cropped out the school’s and the teacher’s names. I could not get a real good picture for you all so I will tell you what that first paragraph up there says…the rest are the infractions.  The one my son has checked off is Incomplete homework.

(My son) has interfered in the areas checked. Please discuss these inappropriate behaviors with him/her. In order to maintain an environment conducive to learning, these behaviors will not be tolerated.

 

These behaviors will not be tolerated— ”or what? What will you do? I’m already in hell!”

(My favorite line from Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief, the movie—Persephone to Hades)

 

I am not upset that a note was sent home because he missed homework, it is the whole feeling of this note.  The bright RED note paper, and the little nasty clip art depicting the “kind of student” who behaviors in this way in combination with the wording has my back up and hair standing on end. I feel like a cat with her claws out ready to scratch someone’s eyes out. I was taking all the notes, and about him being unfocused in class, and not following directions in stride until I came across this one. 

Note what is written next the the little slacker kid—

Next homework miss, (he) will be sent to the office.”

Am I supposed to scared?  Oh no, not the dreaded office, really?  Please send him to the office because I have A LOT to say to THE OFFICE!

Some may see me as over reacting here…but I have a real hang-up with wording.  I like it precise, and word choices are important. I am often upset about wording, whether it be unclear, or imprecise. This is my own literal brain at work; I know that, but this particular combination of word choices has pissed me off!

 

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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.