I’m tired of responding to emails about The Boy refusing to do his work, or clearing up miscommunications about tests and modified due dates. I’m tired of having meetings that go on and on about how he has basic characteristics of autism. Yup… We knew that already. I’m tired of people who apparently don’t have a dictionary or basic internet access, and still don’t understand what a modification is, or what autism even is in the first place. I’m tired of teachers trying to penalize him for “refusing” to do his work. I’m tired of receiving an email that sends me into a frustrated tailspin for the rest of the day. I’m tired of teaching my son about Egypt and minerals because for some reason they just don’t know how to teach him this stuff at school. I’m tired of politely telling them how poor their assessments are, for any child.
It’s overwhelming, and it has become my full-time job. And it can’t be. Pretty soon, I will not be available at their beck and call, and I will not have hours to prepare lessons for my own son. Because I need to work for real, and earn real money ASAP.
I know he is one of the 70 kids you see in a day (and don’t try to tell me you have more, because you don’t. There are only 70 sixth graders in the school). I know you feel like you don’t have the time to spend on this one child. But if there’s one thing you should have learned over the span of your careers is that the amount of time you spend on each child will never be equal. Some kids need more of your attention, and the equitable thing to do is to provide it, instead of throwing your hands up in the air and saying, “I just don’t know what to do!”
The internet is an amazing thing. You can find YouTube videos on just about anything. Hell, I don’t even teach PE, but I was able to find a resource on how to provide accommodations to students with special needs on the President’s Physical Fitness Test by simply typing all of that into my google search bar. It took me less than 10 seconds.
I just spent an hour searching “autism work refusal” and got some really helpful information from a bunch of sites. It’s not all helpful, but the search provided ideas for how to engage students on the spectrum who will not do classwork (and who won’t even show up for school), rather than punish them, and “hold them accountable”.
My kid loves school. My kid thrived in his old school. My kid has adjusted so incredibly well to the structure of middle school. They have so much in their favor, and they still can’t make it happen.
I can’t make his teachers want to help him, and I can’t help him all on my own. This is my conundrum, and this is why I’m tired.