Saturday, September 28, 2013

Question of the week

This past week I received an email from Ali's school... Basically, Ali had said "If the music teacher doesn't follow my directions, she's going to die."  The email stated that he was told that he should not be saying that several times and "it seemed like he couldn't focus on what he was told."  Long story short, he was taken to the principal's office, and the issue was reported to the behavioral therapist, special needs director, etc. etc.
After reading the email I did what a robotic, trained mother of an autistic child would do:  Sat him down.  Spoke with him and tried to figure out why he would say such a thing... He said he got angry at her, so I took out a piece of paper and practiced writing 3 good "choices" to do when we are angry, and last, wrote an email and apologized to the teacher and told her I'm handling it on this side.  Pressed send.  And regretted it almost right away.  So I sent a second email and asked for a meeting....

What does it mean when an autistic 8 year old child (who is socially at age 5) mentions dying or even killing someone?  Does that make him a murderer? A future criminal?  Or does it mean he is translating a level of anger or frustration in words?  Should we keep telling him what he's saying is wrong?  Or should we teach him how to manage his feelings and use better language?
How do kids this age process the concept of death anyway?  I have heard Ali making comments like "The bad guys always die."  It's true.  Bad guys die in Batman, Superman, and even in The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast...

There is no doubt that making a statement like that is inappropriate.  No doubt!  And no doubt the parent should be notified.  But I wonder if we have become a bit too over analytical.  I guess that's my question of the week.  I know that I would naturally take the bias road, so I'm leaving this one up for discussion and maybe even taking it to therapy with me!

By the way, I did have the meeting and it went very well.  Everyone involved was happy and receptive.

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