all thumbs; two left feet; blood out of a stone; ants in your pants; raining cats and dogs; eyes bigger than your belly; every cloud has a silver lining; eyes in the back of your head … how can someone with autism trust people when all they do is lie?
This is from one of the adverts currently being run by The National Autistic Society here in Blighty. We have a handful of autistic children in the secondary school in which I work. I work with a couple of them a few times a week. And yes, I forget sometimes that they take everything so literally. But sometimes the words pop out of your mouth before you engage your brain. By saying “Watch your feet” I managed to have one of the kids gazing at his feet. I only wanted him to be careful because he was standing on the edge of the stairs and shuffling his feet in a dangerous way. And you can’t say that you’ll be there in two ticks unless you do mean two ticks otherwise things can become a little uppity. Sometimes.
Yesterday I had a run in with Miss Cry Baby [by calling her this I am not disrespecting her … she pretends to cry sometimes and hasn’t yet recognised that she genuinely cries in a totally different way]. She is a perfectionist and a project that she is working on is not perfect. She is already behind in her work because it’s an ongoing problem. So I suggested that we attempt to rectify what she had already done instead of starting all over again. She started shouting at me. So I walked away. And so she got mad at the teacher. He shouted at her. When he turned around she poked her tongue out at him. So I took her outside and shouted at her. I’m not evil. She’s in a mainstream school and she needs to be treated in the same way as the others or she won’t learn what’s acceptable and what isn’t.
Despite me shouting at her I think she respects me. I think that there are a lot of members of staff who tread on eggshells around her and she is a very intelligent young lady and knows this and thus uses it to her advantage. I tell it to her bluntly. I’ve never shouted at her before, but I am firm and I will tell her that I’m not happy, but I also praise her at appropriate moments. We had an incident a few weeks ago in a Science lesson where she became very upset and so I took her out of the classroom to calm down and get some tissues to dry her eyes. She was upset because the others were all shouting at her and making her feel stupid. They were frustrated with her. I was explaining that from where I was standing I didn’t think they were doing it deliberately. That they were just trying to explain something to her. The conversation turned to The Lion King, something that she absolutely loves. Now, I’ve never seen the film[s?] so I know nothing about it/them. If I went on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and the question for the million was on the film then I would lose lots of money. Unless I had a lifeline and her number. She mentioned a character. I said, who? She said the character name again. Again I responded with, who? She got frustrated and started talking to me like I was the child. So I said, if you don’t like it when people talk to you in that way why are you talking to me like it? She said, oh miss, you do make me learn in the most bizarre ways!
And the trusting aspect? Well, I’ve asked her to trust me for this one thing. That we can get her project sorted out without needing to start it again. And she said she’d try. Fingers crossed that it works!
I like her. She makes me laugh and I make her laugh. I don’t like being so tough on her sometimes, but I do think it helps. What children like that don’t need is someone letting them get away with everything with the excuse, oh they can’t help it, it’s part of their condition. They deserve more than that.
I love my job! I do, really.
And now I have a bed that requires slumbering in, and dreams of kittens and rainbows and peeing to look forward to …
please God bless the skills that I need to develop as a professional xxx Elsabeth