Update: Bullied Autistic Teen Gets Surprise!

In follow-up to my previous bullying post, a nice thing happened. Thank you Pittsburgh Riverhounds and MLS for the wonderful gesture!

http://www.wpxi.com/videos/news/student-with-autism-duct-taped-to-goal-post-gets/vCxdb6/

Posted in Autism, Autism Awareness | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Why I Will Always Worry About High School.

I’m high strung by nature,  but there is a reason why I will never stop worrying.

You want your child to succeed.  Maybe they want to play a sport, maybe have friends,  date,  etc.

Then you read a bullying article and you want to crawl into a safety bubble.

In this case,  a high school student was duct taped to a goal post.  This was done by fellow team members of his soccer team. He was left by himself until an off duty officer find him.

The boy is autistic.  While I can’t speak for him,  I can relate to what his mother said – “he was terrified, he could have died,  he could have had a heart attack from being so stressed out, he was screaming at the top of his lungs.”

Sounds like big fun,  that ritual.

I have read tweets from a former student and others that defend it.defend their actions or those that bullied,  saying that “that’s the way it’s always been” or “I got through it they should too.”

image

Newsflash Einstein – people may not function like you. Just because you did doesn’t mean someone else should too. If I may show my age as a mom, “if everyone jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you do that too?”

In the case of an autistic child, reading social cues is a major challenge.  It’s exhausting and simply frustrating to have to keep sifting through typical socialness.

So yeah someone may not understand the full impact of your “ritual”. Quite honestly I’m not sure how taping anyone to a pair accomplishes athletic skills.

The icing on the cake is that there are comments made that the boy is a “snitch”. Or the written attacks on Facebook. Or the fact that students actually made signs for a recent game that supports the alleged bullies. Just guessing but he is probably getting dirty looks in the hallway or verbal insults in the cafeteria.

Seriously.  Think about who is supporting who in this incident.

By the way,  they may be “kids” but at 17 I knew the difference between right and wrong. This is not a playground dust up over swings.

And it’s not just the kids.  Where are the adults?  I presume that there parental units involved with upbringing.  Who teaches kids?  Adults. Again,  the excuse “well I got through it” is trite and full of doo-doo. You knew it sucked then,  why are you letting it happen again?

And where is the coach? The methodological steps of this “ritual” means is most likely happened before.  Whether the coach explicitly turned the other way is another story. If he knew about and said nothing then he is involved too.

Bullying is bullying. Hazing is wrong. Doesn’t matter the reason. Doesn’t matter who. Stop, listen and say something.

Posted in Autism, Autism Awareness, Life, Ramblings, School, Special Needs | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Jaws Mouth.

Sometimes, it takes a little extra effort to get those toothies moving.

Hence why I was at B’s special needs dentist today, a mere month and a half after his cleaning.

See, his front two bottom teeth seemed to be a little loose back then. Well, now they are still loose, but not out, and his other teeth are now coming in full force. So the kid had two extra teeth in his mouth.

Yep, there are a couple extra teeth here.

Yep, there are a couple extra teeth here.

It’s called “shark teeth” and while disturbing to see, apparently not at all dangerous. However, the dentist thought it was best to “move the teeth along”.

I love the staff at his dentist (and no, this is not a paid post, lol). They are compassionate and know his needs. At each visit, they clearly explain in easy terms what they will do. Today was no exception. We talked about putting “sleepy jelly” on his gums. We also talked on how important it was not to talk too much after putting the gel on so that it does its job. We learned about a “tooth counter” to tap and make sure it didn’t hurt. The assistant showed him the “tooth hugger” that will gently hold the tooth to pull it out.

Putting "sleepy jelly" on his gums to numb the area.

Putting “sleepy jelly” on his gums to numb the area.

Dentist tapping the area before using the "tooth hugger" get those buggers out.

Dentist tapping the area before using the “tooth hugger” get those buggers out.

So while that all sounded great, the fact that they were there to hold his hand during the actually pulling part (which yeah he yelped big time) still sucked. But, the pain didn’t last long, he got his teeth to give to the Tooth Fairy, and I rewarded his great attitude with a trip to SweetFrog. The dentist even promised to text the Tooth Fairy to make sure she got to him tonight. How much is the going rate nowadays?

Finally lost my teeth, Mom!

Finally lost my teeth, Mom!

Posted in Life, Loudoun Local, Miscellaneous, Special Needs | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

We Walk and We Talk.

*Disclaimer: This post will talk about Autism Speaks. There are people in the autism community that do not believe/like/contribute to this organization. These are my personal thoughts in this post regarding today’s event in Washington, DC.

Picture posted is the thousands of people on the National Mall today

Picture posted is the thousands of people on the National Mall today

Today we piled into the car once again to drive into our nation’s capital to participate in the annual Walk Now for Autism Speaks.

For the past four years, we have participated. This year had special meaning as we were also walking in memory of one of B’s former schoolmates, who died in a tragic accident.

Personally speaking, while it’s a haul and it’s so early to actually be OUT of the house, we do enjoy the event.

I watched B dance around like a happy fool to the crowd doing Zumba. We brought some buses so he could occupy himself before the Walk. He delighted crowds everywhere with his bomb diggity moves. We even got a cameraman to videotape him at the start line. He really enjoyed talking and interacting with everyone. The AXD’s (the Panhellenic sorority’s designated philanthropy is Autism Speaks) adored him.

Picture is B and his friend T grooving at the start line. The cameraman and the general public got a big kick of their dance moves.

Picture is B and his friend T grooving at the start line. The cameraman and the general public got a big kick of their dance moves.

Picture posted is B with Talon, the mascot for DC United (soccer) team.

Picture posted is B with Talon, the mascot for DC United (soccer) team.

For the first time he WALKED the entire length on his own with minimal complaint. That alone makes it a success. :) We spoke about the different buildings and the historical aspect of the buildings. One of his best buds (and one of my dear friends) came along, again, to support us.

It was not all sunshine, unicorns, rainbows and kumbayas though. As we walked the path towards the finish line, I saw protestors. Many did not see them – there were approximately 10,000 people walking versus the small group (I counted 15 but I’m unsure if that is the correct number) – but I saw them. I knew some of you from other events.

This is where I start to ramble about my opinion, which may or may not make sense but work with me here:

I greatly respect those that came out to protest. It’s your right to not agree with Autism Speaks. It’s your right to protest and make yourself be heard.  I know it’s hard to stand up for something you do believe, or do not believe, in. And for that alone I applaud you. Thank you for being respectful for our right to assemble just as I acknowledged yours.

But to me – Autism Speaks is not the huge mega evil organization that some view. I know specific people, who are dedicated to their kids, their siblings, their nieces/nephews, their friend’s kids. They are the people I have gotten to know – and their passion for their belief is great.

We have never been treated like a statistic, a tragedy. We have not felt dehumanized. Far from it, actually. However, I know others do not share that opinion.

I know some will speak about overhead and salaries and little towards individual’s needs. After a few years in grant development in federal government and even more in marketing and event management, I have a skewed opinion. Yes, of course we would want people to make little (or even nothing) to advance their organization’s goal. Sadly, this is not realistic, and especially not in high cost living areas (I’m looking at you, DC). So, yes, people get paid. Yes, there are sometimes events where there is schmoozing, networking and the dance to get the money, the vote, or the pledge.  There is always a plan, lots of calls and pleas. And it’s not just Autism Speaks – you might as well protest almost every major not-for-profit organization.

I wish there were other ways, and if you are reading this and have a suggestion, by all means I want to read it. Like I said, I have a skewed opinion, just from working and learning how “things work”. And keep voicing dissent – you know the cliche about squeaky wheels. We have to talk and walk and dance and sing about our opinions.

Their mission does not line up with some people. That’s cool – there’s never an organization that pleases everyone. I don’t think we disagree that we want the best for future generations, however. And I think in the end that matters more than what some may think.

Picture posted is me with my son. He is my 1 in 68 but he is not a statistic nor a tragedy. He's just B.

Picture posted is me with my son. He is my 1 in 68 but he is not a statistic nor a tragedy. He’s just B.

Posted in Autism Awareness, Family, Life, Magic Moments, Ramblings | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments