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Aspie Injustice: It keeps us up at Night


Justice—a subject near and dear to my heart. One thing I find that most of us Aspies have in common is a profound sense of justice and morality. Admittedly it  may not be the same sense of justice that others have but that shouldn’t surprise anyone by now because we tend to march to the beat of our own drums.

Justice definitely means different things to different people, but for me (and my ASD kids) I can tell you that when an injustice is perceived, it is very difficult to move past. These are the things, these slights, that keep me up at night. They wake me out of my sleep, and make it impossible to go back to sleep. I have a very difficult time accepting a situation I feel is unfair.

You hear things like “they can’t do that;” “ that is against the law;” “they must provide…,” but the problem with these statements is that usually people/agencies/companies/government can and will do whatever they want until you ENFORCE what they should not be able to do. In other words, you must be able to enforce the law to guarantee your rights, which usually means lawyers, courts, etc.

Most of us, do not or can  not go this route…whether because of finances or the undue amount of stress it would put us and it leaves us feeling slighted. It makes me feel like unless I am able to DO something about it, people will get away with doing whatever they want with no consequences whatsoever—and that DRIVES ME CRAZY.  I personally cannot tell you WHY I cannot reconcile myself to these injustices, just that I simple cannot.

As many of you know I have had a difficult time with my son’s school lately. We had our first IEP meeting last week that did not go well at all. I complained to the district and just got a call this morning. They think that moving my son is the best way to go (switching schools) and in this way they can accommodate his needs and address all my concerns.  But—in the current school, with the current power wielding principal (my words not theirs) he will likely not get what he needs. My bigger concern is for next year when he enters the 5th grade. The amount of times he will need to change classes will double and the workload will be more difficult.

It makes sense to move to an environment that is filled with people more willing to work with him (the district’s autism program is based out of this other school). BUT and this is a big BUT for me…I feel like if I move him then the school who was unwilling to work with me, the principal who was obnoxious and rude—wins. They get to dictate what my son needs or doesn’t need, and which struggles they are going to acknowledge.  For me, this is not acceptable.  It upsets me because I feel like if I do nothing about it then I am just as responsible for what happens to the next special needs kid that doesn’t get the help they need from that school.

Beyond my feelings of injustice is the fact that I would have to move my son  mid-school year, which could be—WILL BE—disruptive to him, and he will have to have a MUCH longer school bus ride.  I am very very concerned about adding 3 hours onto my boy’s school day because the special ed bus must come really early and then drop him off really late.  To me, again, this is extremely unfair. I don’t want to add to his school day like that, and there is always the fact that he will no longer be able to ride home with his friends AND not be able to ride to school some mornings with his friends. 

My awesome neighbor drives him to school a couple of days per week with his children, which is a tremendous help to me in the mornings dealing with Aspie Teen, Tantrum Tot, and the Baby in addition to getting the little man out the door to school.  *Sigh*

So I’m frustrated.  Part of me wants to fight this school and MAKE them do what they should, but that will be stressful on me and the boys. Plus there is no way to know that they will do it, and it will likely create a hostile environment for the little man.  It is just this feeling of the whole situation being unfair that I am having trouble getting over.

I haven’t made any decisions yet–

Another tid-bit of information: Tantrum Tot is still being evaluated for special education services, and if he qualifies to attend the 3 year old autism class it will be in the school that I need to move my 9 year old to—so they would both go to the same school.  Then, the move would  make sense…but–

I don’t know; What do you all think?  Sounding board time.

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.


  1. My daughter was in a school which could not meet her needs due to their own lack of trying they even tried to tell me she didn’t have autism (we were going through the dx process).We decided to move her to a school which on viewing seemed better suited she too would have to travel to school by SEN transport. The stress of fighting her old school for illegal exclusions and making them listen would have been damaging to her so we moved her. She is far happier now so I know we made the right decision for her. I know the ex school is treating another child the same as her and I feel so awful for their family it’s so unfair.

  2. Yes, the justice thing can be really hard. It’s one of the bigger reasons that Twitter, but also news in general, can be a problem for me. So many injustices and then I want to help everyone and I can’t.
    About the school situation: I agree with everything Judy said. I would feel the same way, like they are winning, and I wouldn’t want to ‘give them the pleasure’. But they have failed you and your child, and they don’t deserve your energy anymore. I know you feel they need to learn, but they’re not ready for that and it’s costing you too much.

  3. I understand your frustration and concerns and empathize with you completely. How does your son feel about these possible changes? Would it be possible for you and your son to visit this school and talk with the teachers and administrators? While I would be angry and frustrated myself at this turn of events, after I calmed down a bit I think I would want to hear what they had to say. Is it possible that your husband could take him to school or pick him up in the evenings, possibly as a decompression time? And then I would demand a sit down conference with the administrators who are the principals direct supervisors at the current school and tell them you are going to the press, your local newspapers and any other literary contacts you have. I have found that the threat of exposure can be a very powerful tool. I’m rooting for you but I am confident that your son is going to be beyond good whatever decision you make. You have a wonderful, strong family base and I believe in you guys. Life is often tough and sticky, very messy and not always pretty but what a damn awesome ride!

  4. My 10cents for what its worth, is get your son out of the current school. It sounds horrid.
    As for the longer bus rides, is he into comic books or novels? Could be something encharage/offer to him, if hes able to focus while on the bus.

  5. this happens to me a lot too. and not just about things in my own life but things in the lives of others too. i have to be careful what i get involved in because i can easily get so caught up that i end up awake in bed thinking about it, and i am thinking about it the minute i get up in the morning. sigh. i know exactly how you feel.

  6. The previous poster has given an excellent set of reasons. My response is less measured but in the same direction. ‘Run, run for the hills!’

    Honestly, from what you have written about this school, it sounds Horrible and I wouldn’t want to send any child there.

    We have spent years trying to fix my children’s school, which was broken in different ways and this year we finally gave up. I sincerely wish we’d removed our children years ago and saved them from the damage it has caused.

    Yes, it will leave a bad taste and yes They Are Wrong, but run, run.

    • 🙂 many times my responses are even less measured than yours LOL

      I always want to fix everything, and get so frustrated. When I can’t fix it, I feel like I failed–even though I know that it is not true.

  7. I totally understand not being able to get over being treated unjustly. I am the same way. I just wanted to say a couple of things.

    1.) I’ve been following this here on your blog and the whole thing just makes me sick sick sick! I’m so angry for you and your little man to have to have fone through all this! And it makes me sick at heart too.

    2.) The current school and it’s powers that be have zero interest in complying with the IEP and helping your little man. In fact they are probably more determined than ever in their convictions about him, despite his diagnosis.

    3.) Try to see the bigger picture. Changing schools mid year is a temporary upset to your son that can be tempered with extra rewards for cooperation and a good attitude. The extra time on the bus is kind of sucky, but again a reward system can greatly increase his coperation and compliance. But in reality, right now he hates school and that is NOT going to change so long as he attends this current school. If he switches, I imagine it won’t take overly long for him to decompress in a more welcoming and supportive environment and he may finally begin to enjoy school again. That means a happier kid for whom some of the other inconvieniences can have a less intense impact.

    4.) Yes, it feels like kn a way the school is winning. But in reality it’s your family that is gwtting the ultimate win. Your son will be getting the supports he needs in order to learn and be a happy kid. You will not have to feeel like you are daily sending your kid into a dragon’s den. Less stress and unhappiness for everybody. That is an enormous win!

    5.) I empathize with feeling like we need to make things better for the next kid that comes along. However, that kid isn’t your kid, and they aren’t in that situation right now. Your kid is. And he needs every support you can give him right now. It’s very unlikely that even with lawyers, that you will change the mindset, which is what dictates the polocies of the schools current administration. They are simply not ready to change their hearts, and that is something we will never be able to control. But you may have had an influence already. You mentioned at least two teachers that were supportive of the changes and your son. Perhaps having witnessed your fight had build another layer in their courage. Perhaps one day, they will find enough courage to stand up for these kids and their rights, and in that way you will have made a difference for future kids. Change often comes slowly.

    Ok, I’m done. Best wishes to your family.

    • I know you are right; I’m just nervous, and frustrated. But I do see he wisdom is considering this change. Last night the litle man get all flustered just thinking about touching his books for his homework. Then he showed me the card I needed to sign with his math grades on it–well he actually flung it at me– and said “careless errors, careless errors, that is all I am ever going to get from her (meaning his teacher). I’ll never pass math or the fourth grade!”

      In the teacher comments section, next to the grades, it says “careless errors” all the way down the page, meaning that his is the comment she wrote in beside every test grade this year. And as he says he’s “sick of it!”

      I doubt he is going to get over how he feels about them anytime soon.

      • I do hope he can hold on to the fact that it’s their fault, not his. He is NOT a careless error

        • I think that he is doing alright blaming them LOL He is starting his new school on Monday and is very excited! I hope this is a turning point for the little man. Because, as you said, he is NOT a careless error! He is an awesome kid.

  8. I absolutely agree about the Aspie injustice thing. I’m thinking of your situation. Did they say why his current school won’t step up to meet his needs?

    • They didn’t, but I am thinking that no one really wants to make waves. The Director of Programs for Exception Children in our district told me he discussed it with the autism team who all agree we should move him. On a good note though is that those educators do seem to genuinely want to work with the little man so it could be a really good thing.

      Of course i am also worried about the change…morning routine, afternoons, etc… all the unknowns makes me very nervous.

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