Speaking out

October 26, 2009 at 2:24 pm 6 comments

     We’ve always known C has a tendency to go from one end of the spectrum to the other (no pun intended) in learning new skills, which made teaching him how to speak up for himself appropriately no small task. In preschool, when a kid would knock him down and take his toys, C didn’t protest. Then, in 2nd grade, he went from not telling anyone when a boy was physically and emotionally bullying him to telling anyone and everyone when that same boy even looked in his direction. When it comes to self-advocating, the difficulties of teaching C how to speak up for himself without going overboard has been a delicate balancing act.

     There are a few signs that C is growing successful in learning this ability. Whether it’s because of his comfort level with his 3rd grade teacher or his own personal growth, he is learning to at least sometimes speak up to her when he needs to. Helping C realize that adults in school are there to help him has been, for reasons unexplainable to me, very difficult. While he has bonded with just about every adult on the premises, it seems it wouldn’t occur to him to ask one of them for help if he needed it.

     The first time C had his card turned this year (unfairly, in his opinion), he was devastated. I knew the minute he walked out of the building that he was upset, and he barely made it into my arms before the tears spilled. We talked it over, and he decided he wanted to email his teacher. “Dear Mrs. D,” he wrote, “I wasn’t talking when J was doing checks recorder but he wrote my name down on the board. J thought I was talking but it was really K. It made me kind of disappointed when it happened and it upset me too.” He talked, I typed, he clicked “send” and off it went.

     C still won’t say anything like that in person, but I was impressed that he could at least get it written down, and I was proud of him for speaking up. It didn’t get him anywhere; the day was over and the deed was done, but he felt better about the whole experience and was able to let it go. And at the end of the day, that’s how I want him to feel about issues he has – perhaps they won’t all be fixed and wrapped up in a bow, but at least he can deal with them in a way that satisfies him.

Entry filed under: autism. Tags: , , , , , , .

Alone time Wordless Wednesday

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. robinaltman  |  October 26, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    C is so sweet. I hope the teacher smiled when she saw that e mail.

  • 2. jesch  |  October 26, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    So impressed by C’s ability to name and express his feelings. Most people struggle with that.

  • 3. mama edge  |  October 26, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    Bravo. C took a big step toward becoming an effecitve self-advocate, I still use email when I have to make a “scary” statement like that and don’t feel comfortable doing so face-to-face. And how wonderful that you could support him without doing it for him. Excellent post!

  • 4. Erica77777  |  October 26, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    Way to go, C! Wonderful that he could articulate those feelings so well.

    We have the same issue with asking for help. B will do it if he needs help with something like removing the glue bottle cap or something equally trivial, but it seems he would never think to ask his teachers for help with something important. I think part of it for B is that he is really fearful of being turned down or somehow scolded.

    Anyhoo, glad you’re back and hope C enjoyed WoF as much as I’m sure my son would!

  • 5. therocchronicles  |  October 27, 2009 at 6:33 am

    That’s great that he can articulate his feelings so well! I’m impressed!

  • 6. lynnes  |  October 27, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    What a great idea! G has never reached out for help, he still has mini-meltdowns or he will physically retaliate against an injustice. I’m so encouraged to hear that C is learning how to express his side of things to authority figures.


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