Friday, April 8, 2011

Oh yesterday

The disclaimer of this blog warns the readers that my main motivation for this blog was so that I could have a platform to air my grievances. Today I am taking myself at my word and doing just that.

Puffy-eyed as I am, from a night of crying and thinking and crying, I am going to make my self squint through the eye-ball-falling out stinging for no other reason than to complain about the day that was yesterday - particularly yesterday afternoon.

Readers of this blog know that Erin started a new school at the beginning of the year. A Catholic school with the motto 'Love one another' - and so far it has delivered on this promise. No, still delivering. I can't fault the level of communication nor the action that both teachers and principal take when the kids display less than respect for each other. As a highly sensitive person (who displayed many of the Aspergian traits as a youngster) I have always been concerned witht respect, I speak nicely to other people and really, I expect the same in return. - Gee that sounds trite.

Cue lunch time yesterday, in the school's playground, Erin is playing a game with three other boys. This game, somehow,  involves skipping ropes. Erin is on one 'team' with another boy 'against' the other team. However, Erin's team mate dejects to the other side and all of a sudden, for Erin who may not have been able to 'read' the signs, he is now one against three. The other team wraps two skipping ropes around Erin, pinning his arms to his side (his teacher and I got a very well-acted demonstration of this in the afternoon as Erin was non-verbally explaining how he hit his cheek).

Erin used his 'words' to tell the boys to stop. Then after he had fallen over his anger exploded and he managed to wiggle free and the chase the boys until he 'got puffed'. The teacher on duty then took him into the hall nearby where he expressed his full anger and distress.

One thing that strikes me about this incident, is that it is almost redundant as to whether or not there was malice in the boys' motivations. It does not matter if there was because Erin would have read this situation in the most threatening and terrifying way. I know because I would have done the same. Erin gives all situations the most stereotypical reading. He has watched movies and cartoons, he knows 'violence' when he sees it. His teacher knew this as well and mentioned to me that he might have nightmares, but really, when I picked him up from school a couple of hours later, he was still in that nightmare.

This story is long and so I'm going to skip forward to an hour and a half later, where I, Erin and his teenaged step sister are sitting (well Erin is doing everything but sitting) in the waiting room of the local  doctors' office. It is taking everything that I have to keep Erin from randomly opening doors, locking himself in the toilets, and chasing after a woman that he was sure was his beloved aide. Forty minutes later and just after I had convinced Erin to have a look at the pictures in a National Geographic magazine, the doctor called out my step daughter's name and we filed into the room.

There were three chairs. All of us except for Erin took one. Erin, instead, stood in the middle of the floor looking intently at the pictures in the National Geographic. The doctor gave him, and then me, a strange look, which I didn't think too much of, being too relieved that Erin was quietly absorbed and we may actually get through this.

However, the doctor seemed to think that we needed an extra long appointment, and talked on and on, all the while looking over at Erin who, after five minutes, had decided that the pictures were no longer as interesting as different parts of the room. I contained him as much and as quietly as I could while listening out for important bits of information that I would need to relay back to my partner about the medication that my step daughter was resuming.

At one point the doctor got out some 'rats' (of the rubber kind) to keep Erin occupied. But, really, he was not being noisy, he was being odd, and that's what the doctor was distracted with. I saw it all over his face when Erin was looking at the National Geographic magazine.

Erin grew tired of the toys after a minute and put his hand out to open the cupboard from where the doctor had produced them (I should say that by this point Erin had not muttered a word). I quickly got up to stop him, while, at the same time the doctor said, 'if you keep doing that I will diagnose you with ADHD'. I wasn't sure that I had heard him right so I said, 'I'm sorry, what did you say?', walking back to my chair, directing Erin to it with my hand. He said, 'It is as if he has ADHD or something'. I said, 'He has Asperger's', and straight away the doctor saw his mistake and started saying sorry. 'I shouldn't have said anything' he said looking at my step daughter, 'probably not', I said.

I felt my face go extremely red. It is at these moments when I wish that I was a different person. I wish I was the person who is out-going and strong (well I am strong but in other ways), who could have made a joke at that point, in fact, I wish I was the type of person who seemed threatening enough that the doctor would never had made remarks about my son - in front of him and his step sister.

Erin moved toward the door - he knew it was time to go - the doctor rapped up, but really he had been repeating himself for a while, and he said 'good bye', and me? well I forgot my manners, or, if I was to say anything it would have been drenched in the tears that were welling up. I walked out, without saying a word.


  1. Oh god my heart bleeds for you, no-one should have to go through that and least of all from a medical professional who you would of hoped would of picked up on the signs of aspergers. My son is ADHD and mild aspergers and I am like you and get so sensitive to it and cross. Last years school photo I purposely made sure we got to the hall right as the doors were closing for the pictures with siblings who were not in the school, so we wouldnt have a big long queue and wait. My son is on medicaiton but it had yet to kick in and even though the wait was not too long, by the time it was our go, he had had enough and was not going to comply or sit how she wanted him to. His 3 year old little brother just copies him. Ater a few minutes this very grumpy and obviously fraught photographer turned to me and said 'well the younger one I can kind of understand although he is not too good, but is 'his' (looking at my eldest) behaviour normally this bad, its appalling. I have never risen to comments before but there were still quite alot of people in the hall and I was furious and for the first time ever said 'actually my son has ADHD and aspergers which is a form of autism if you don't know and what you are asking him to do, is a little beyond him' grabbed the boys and left. The woman looked like she wanted to ground to swallow her. I was shaking but hope she has learnt not to be so judgemental.

  2. I would be furious too. I know that people don't understand, but it does hurt and especially when you are - like we all are - trying so hard to make things okay for our little people.

    I shake as well, and go really, really, red! It is a bit embarrassing.

    Good on you for saying something and I bet she will think twice before saying something to another parent, she may even look-up Asperger's and ADHD. I also bet that the doctor whom I saw will watch himself in the future.

    By the way, thanks for reading my blog! :D