• Understanding Autism from the Inside

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Tactics and Attempts to Intimidate


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! 


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.


  1. Okay, that’s freaking horrible. How in the world can a school get away with this crap and yet it happens all the time. I would be irate about this. This is demoralizing, dehumanizing and ridiculous. They’re the ones with the unacceptable behavior. Good grief.

  2. Just read this after commenting on the IEP post. Do not accuse yourself of over-reacting, this is insane! I don’t see how a principal/school who allows this to go on could be helpful to special needs kids. Very sad but you can at least maybe use this as proof that no one is respecting his diagnosis.
    My son is NT but I would be so beyond angry to get this note. Its defaming and abusive to have the picture of the slacker kid.

    • Thank you! Usually Hubby says that I see “tones” in notes that are not there, or that I am over-reacting…but this time he was so angry he wrote a note back…yikes. It was ugly too and he usually doesn’t say anything, and when he does he is the diplomatic one.

  3. Every time I read about this school it makes me want to run there and SHAKE PEOPLE! (fortunately I live across the globe, so I won’t be committing any fellonies here ;)) How are they teachers? Seriously, how on earth can you ever achieve anything positive with the kind of attitude these teachers show your child. Even if he didn’t have the problems he did?

    • Hey Petra,
      Thank you for your virtual SHAKING, I feel better now that i am not the only wanting to shake people! 🙂

      Little man told me the other night that he did not ask his teacher to explain something that he did not understand because he was scared he would get his behavior color changed??? Wtf?

      Then he said, “Mom, I would be taking up her time. That is what she always says, you are taking up my time to explain it to you.”

      “It is supposed to take up her time, she is the teacher. That is her job!”

      So if little man tells his teacher it is her job today we all know why…oops.

  4. You need Tony Attwood on your team! So arrogant of that school. Poor kid I want to tell your son he is ok it’s everyone else that’s the issue. I hate the systems it’s just the same in Aussie.
    As long as he has the support from you and obviously you are on to them he will be ok. Best of luck !!!

  5. Don’t get me started on wording! I kept reading ‘S has been very rude’ to staff today. It annoyed me so much I had to tackle it head on and asked what exactly they meant as ‘very rude’ can mean a whole range of things and I still have massive hang-ups about my daughter being treated like a naughty child by her last school.

    • Wording is HUGE for me, (there is that Aspieness showing up) and my son is the same way. “been very rude?” what does that mean anyway? Did they say something rude, do something considered rude? Did the child know it was rude?

      Many times our kids (ok, me too) will say something because it is true, without ever thinking that someone would consider it rude.

  6. I wouldn’t like a red form that said “interfering” either. Nope. Still, what I think is likely is that while the stuff they’re sending can be looked at as an attempt to intimidate, the intent of it is probably not that. I think this stuff comes from a lack of knowledge, lack of insight, lack of training, and lack of empathy but not evil. It always helps me keep my anger away from the convo, as anger doesn’t help.

    The NCLD has a free (with registration) ebook about executive function. It’s got a good section describing what a day is like for a kid with EF issues. A lot of parent friends of mine have made sure to give that section to their kids’ teacher in a very friendly way in the hopes that it would help create empathy, understanding, or, if nothing else, show that a whole book has been written that describes these issues so maybe, just maybe, it’s a real thing 🙂

    The link is here:


    There are also good lists of accommodations and the like that can be done at school and tips at home, too.

    • Definitely going to check it out. I give all my son’s teachers copies of my book at the beginning of the year. Many have read it and I have had wonderful responses, and had most of them immediately in my corner. However, this year’s teacher seemed to be insulted by my giving her a copy of my book at the beginning of the year…I don’t understand it but that is the feeling I received from her.

      But maybe…if I can hand them something that SOMEONE ELSE wrote on the topic it will hold a little more weight. You know the whole a prophet isn’t a prophet in his own home kind of thing.

  7. nobody mess with aspie moms. we can easily and quickly become obsessed with proving you wrong. 😛

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