Jenny - posted on 01/05/2011 ( 4 moms have responded )
Hi, I am Jenny Gaviotis and this is the first time I have really broused this site and wow do I love it! My husband and I have four children. Our son is twelve years old, the youngest and was diagnosed at 5 years old with Autism and PDD-NOS. He is very high functioning. We live in a community that is deprived of special services for Autistic Kids. We drive 225 miles for medical care etc. We are in a postion where we cannot move and so it is refreshing to find this site and read others struggles, solutions and support.
Over the years Academic team and us have been able to work through alot of struggles in school. We have been able to bring Andy from the kid hiding under the desk with his hands over his ears to a productive and valued member of the classroom. Our school system is definately not the best. Ranked third from the bottom in the state. However up to this point we have been truly blessed with a fantastic IEP/Special Ed team. We are allowed to hand pick my son's teachers every year. This year has been a tough year as Andy is a sixth grader and the demands are much more extreme. At the sixth grade level they are really trying to prepare the kids for the Jr. High School level.
I was reading a post from Amanda Pete, originated back in October. She was struggling with her 5 year olds melt downs after coming home from school. The advice and suggestions given by our peers were all really good. At the end she wrote a post about how her daughter's non-autistic PDD-nos peers treated her snubbed her at the park and how hurtful it was to watch as her daughter who at this time does not understand why they treat her the way they do. At the end of the post she makes a statement to the effect of , "I am not looking forward to the day that she realizes she is different."
WELL, WE ARE THERE AND IT IS HEART WRENCHING! Up to this year our son has been able to "connect" with at least one kid in his class. This one single connection has made him feel accepted and part of the class. He would get up and look forward to the school day. This year however, he has not made that connection after three months of school and it is killing his self confidence, his love for school and his academics. As Andy is not free with his emotions, it has taken us a while to figure it out. We have been focusing on possibly issues with the teacher that we so carefully selected.
Last night at he finally breached the communication barrier and just blurted out that he hates school because he has no friends and everyone hates him. When he talks to people they look at him like he is stupid and then go back to their conversations completely igonoring him. No one will talk to him at recess or allow him to play with them. He then goes on to tell us that we have failed him because the skills we have taught him are not working this year. (we meaning my husband, I and our three girls) Our entire family has worked endlessly practicing social skills and conversation skills with Andrew. He has a dendancy to talk to himself 24/7 and he uses this tool to help him reason and rationalize situations. We asked him why he had not said something before to us or his teacher. His reply was, "Because I don't want anyone to think I tattled. They already know I am different and don't like me because of it!"
I immediately contacted his teacher at school. He was completely taken a back. He had noticed some slight changes in Andy's attitude but like us had not clue that he and his peers were having issues. Today he has taken steps to move Andy to a different seating group closer to his desk with a group of students that he feels will be accepting of Andrew.
I would welcome any suggestion on how to help our son to cope with the rejection. We know we cannot make people be his friend and we know that this situation will only become more complicated at the Jr. High level. He will be dealing with seven different teachers and seven different combination of kids through out the day. The chances of him connecting with a kid in each class in almost unheard of.