My ASD Story
My son bit a girl in his class the other day. However what was so sad about the incident is not the biting but the series of events that happened after. You see he has a shadow that sits in class with him and two class teachers assigned to his class but for some reason no one saw what lead to the bite just the aftermath of it. Don’t get me wrong, the incident has nothing to do with neglect on the staff’s part.
My son is starting to need a little less supervision with certain things and when this incident occurred he was reading a book at the table with his other classmates. Also, very important to pinpoint , my son is not violent, he is such a sweet boy and this is a testimony from everyone who has had an encounter with him. He would never start a fight, however if he feels cornered or needs to express himself and doesn’t have the words for it, he would look for an alternative way to communicate.
So back to the incident. When I was first told my son bit someone in class, my first response was ‘is everyone ok?’ After I ascertained that everyone was fine, I asked for the narrative of events and was told no one saw what led to it, the adults only heard the other child cry and they raced to separate the children. Later the other child’s mother called to tell me her child got bitten by my son because he wanted the book her child was reading and her child refused to let him have it and there was a struggle and he bit her child on the chin. Of course I was very sorry about the whole event and apologised on my son’s behalf but also reminding the mom that my son has autism and social skills and communication is a bit of a challenge that comes with the diagnosis .
However that isn’t the focus of our story today. I told you I was saddened by the event that happened after the biting, well here goes. A couple days later, I went to school to pickup my sons and nephews, one was having a swimming class so I went to the poolside to get him and that was when this saddening event took place.
A new girl just transferred into my son’s class and she always takes her time to reach out and be friends with my son and I. So on this sad day, I went to the pool to pick my nephew and my son came along. The new girl spotted my son and came running towards us shouting “hello Preye” but the child that got bitten pulled her aside roughly and shouted at her “what are you doing? Don’t go near Preye before he bites you!” I WAS SO MAD, I SAW RED!!!!!
Oh the stigmatisation at this age! That’s not right. The poor boy already has it with the outside world thinking he is ‘different’, how much more his peers who are yet to be corrupted by the adult impression of ‘different’, labelling him and castigating him.
My heart broke into a million pieces and I cried for my son who didn’t do anything to deserve all of this. We only heard an event narrated by one person. My poor son was unable to give his version of events due to his condition yet it has not deterred him from being the sweet child that he is, giving smiles wherever he goes.
Everyday we see and hear the injustice done to people with labels and stigmatisation. I can almost empathise with people who refuse to publicly embarrass their child’s autism but I won’t have it any other way because if I don’t publicly embarrass my son’s autism and educate people about autism how would they know better, how would they be able to understand this condition that is a mystery to even the scientist. How would people understand that the way my son acts is not his fault neither is it a reflection of his upbringing. Its just the way he is and he is beautiful inside and outside just the way he is.
Remember that some people with autism may not be able to speak or answer to their name, but they can still hear your words and feel your kindness. So treat them right and treat them with love and above all acceptance.
Written by Solape Azazi