My child has Autism. Sailing the seas can be rough at times. There are storms, obstacles and problems navigating. Autism in our world is a lot like piracy. It robs. It hijacks. It leaves you battling for your vessel and your child’s new path. Autism also presents you a world of discovery, hidden treasure, and challenges you realize you’re up for. Life is a balance, and it’s no different with a child on the Spectrum. Autism Pirate is a blog devoted to discussing the good, the bad and the ugly.
Yesterdaywas the first day of summer school. Rye now has a year of middle school under his belt so we didn't have too much worry heading intoyesterday. It’s hard to believe that he started 7thgrade.
Things last year started rough. The transition to middle school was hard. It was exhausting actually.
He struggled a lot. He hated it.
He doesn't hate it anymore.
We advocated for some things and they are working with us. We have built a great relationship with a wonderful teacher. We involved the Autism Specialist for the district and he is really great too.
Rye had to jump in an feel really uncomfortable while his team got to know him better. He went from having a lot of hands on support in elementary school to having a whole new situation in middle school.
He tolerated it. He hung in. We think we have fixed the biggest struggles and he’s doing okay.
At the end of the day yesterday there was some confusion. There always is on the first day of school. When Rye transitioned to middle school we decided it would be best if he took the special trasnsportation bus instead of the big bus that picks up mainly kids who don’t receive special education services. He didn’t care. He was happy all year with what he called the “little bus”.
At the end of the day yesterday he did not get on the little bus, he got on the big bus. I was kind of freaking out. He was running late. I called the school, I called the bus service, I texted the neighbor, I emailed the principal. Obviously I wasn’t “kind of” freaking out…
He got home. He was fine. He told me all about it. Turns out the driver of the other bus is a mom he knows from elementary school and she used to drive his bus. “She knows me mom. It’s fine.”
"Ok Rye, but I don’t think that you will be riding that bus again."
"Why mom? I know what I’m doing. Why do I need to ride the little bus anyway?”
We openly talk with Rye about why he has extra help and why he needs it. I’m very comfortable talking with him about his autism diagnosis. That is not what had me feeling the way I was feeling. I told him that I wanted him to ride the other bus because I worry that there might be and probably are a lot of bullies on the middle school bus. I told him that I couldn’t really think of a worse place for bullying than the middle school bus.
He said, “Mom I know what I’m doing. I know about talking to bullies and I’m going to ride that bus TO school so call the bus lady and tell her.”
He knows what he’s getting into. I called the lady. He woke up an hour earlier and didn’t have a problem doing it. He rode the big bus to school. I have no idea how it went. I probably won't know until he gets home. I have no idea if they will even let him ride the big bus home today.
I'm not going to call. I'm going to let him handle it. He knows what he’s doing.
I've decided I need to make sure I’m not limiting him even when I think I’m doing it to protect him or because it's just easier. He deserves to try. He’s earned it. He knows he might be bullied. He’s aware. He’s made his choice for now and maybe it’s time for me to grow up a little bit too.
We acquire the strength we have overcome. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
That has always been a “favorite” quote of mine. I don’t think I total understood it completely until yesterday.
Rye might not last another day on the big bus. I might ultimately decide not to let him ride it anyway; heck the school might decide not to let him? However, I sure do love that he wanted to try.
He started middle school last year and he struggled.
He hated it.
He figured it out.
He acquired more strength.
I can’t control whether or not there will be a bully on the middle school bus or anywhere else for that matter.
I can hope that there is never a bully anywhere at any time.
But I don’t really need to do that anymore.
He knows what to do. He doesn't have to like it and he won't, he might not handle it great if it does happen, but he will tolerate it. He will keep trying. He will ask for help. He will tell me.
He's learning to trust that he knows what he’s doing.
He's growing up. He's acquired strength and now he's sharing it with me.